Inflation is Here: How to Protect Yourself

You’ve probably noticed it: prices are going up across the board, from car prices to gas, lumber and almost everything in between. It’s not an illusion: The Consumer Price Index recently showed the fastest inflation since 2008, with prices jumping 5% in May from the year earlier. What can drivers and gig workers do about it? Below, RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook shares six ways you can protect yourself from inflation.

Realizing that we’re under the effects on inflation is one of the biggest ways to beat inflation. After all, if you know prices are going up, you can take steps to reduce those prices and keep your budget somewhat “normal.”

Below, I’ll share ways you can reduce costs on everyday items like groceries and gas, plus share ways you can actually get cash back in some instances. In many cases, you’ll be able to bring prices down to “normal”, but in tip #6, I share how you can protect yourself from future inflation – so make sure not to miss tip 6!

6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Inflation

1) Get Money Back With Upside For Gas Purchases

Especially as a rideshare driver, we want to save money on gas. With the Upside app, you can get money back for buying gas you have to buy anyway.

Learn how Upside can help you save more money on gas.

Both my wife and I use it all the time and have gotten over $100 back by using it.

It’s simple to use as well. Check out our walk through video on how to use Upside: Upside App Review: Easily Earn Cashback On Gas

Upside is available at major gas stations, and many smaller chains as well, too.

2) Save With Your Online Purchases Using Rakuten

For years online shopping has become more and more popular. Nowadays some of us never shop in stores, like me for instance. But let’s say you don’t mind going into stores occasionally, and also like to shop online. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app you could use to save money in store and online?

That app exists with Rakuten. Why pay top dollar while out when you can download a free app and save money almost anywhere you go? With discounts on phone plans, auto parts, retailers like Target and so much more, you should never have to pay full price for anything again with Rakuten.

See how Rakuten works here: Rakuten Review: Is it the best cash back option out there?

With Rakuten, I’ve gotten almost $200 in cash back, just doing my normal shopping and getting cash back for it. In addition to the cash back, I also get discounts on tons of items I’d regularly purchase. It’s a win-win.

Pro-tip: Install the Rakuten extension on your browser! When you do, anytime you’re shopping online it will pop up and have you activate it to get money back with purchases.

Download the Rakuten app here and start saving!

3) Cash Back on Groceries

There is no question the cost of food has gone up. Fetch Rewards helps lower the cost on these food costs – simply scan your receipt after you’re done shopping and earn points that you can cash out for rewards like VISA or Amazon gift cards.

Learn how Fetch Rewards works in this video: Fetch Rewards Review 2021

If you buy certain products, this app will give you more points, but you can also earn points just by buying what you typically purchase anyway.

4) Save On Taxes By Tracking Your Mileage

Taxes are one of the largest expenses, and there is no way to get out of paying them. That being said, there are ways to lower them.

One way to do that is by keeping track of your mileage. Doing this can save you thousands of dollars come tax time.

Why should you track your mileage? The IRS Standard Mileage Deduction for business use in 2021 is 56 cents per mile (down from 2020’s 57.5). People working gig jobs like Uber often put as much as 1000 business miles a week on their vehicle so keeping accurate track of these miles is extremely important.

If you drive for Uber or Lyft full time and put 50,000 miles a year on your vehicle, that would translate to a $28,000 deduction on their Schedule C (2021 numbers), vastly lowering your tax liability for Federal, State, and SECA taxes. Translation: you’ll pay a lot less in taxes if you do a great job tracking ALL your miles using a mileage tracker!

Plus, as long as you’re making trips for work purposes, you can deduct business mileage.

Our favorite tracker is Stride, but you can see the full list of our favorite mileage tracking apps here.

5) Get Money Back With A Capital One Quicksilver Card

If you have the discipline to use credit cards, then the Capital One Quicksilver may be a good way to keep money in your pocket.

As with all credit cards, to get the most benefit and not run into debt, make sure you don’t spend money you don’t have, and pay the balance off each month. As long as you follow those basic things then you have a solid way to keep more money in your pocket. Just take a look at some of the great things about this card.

  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn

If your credit isn’t good, 700 or higher, then you may not qualify to get the card. But if you do have good credit and want to save some money it’s a great option. Scott here at The RideShare Guy has it and uses it for groceries and alcohol.

You can check out the Capital One Quicksilver card here.

6) Invest in Your Future

My last tip for beating inflation? Save any money you do have right now. More importantly, save it in a way that will get you more money later.

This could be through investing in the stock market and getting interest or dividend payments. Starting a side hustle with the money, or adding it to your retirement account (another good way to lower your tax bill).

If you think you don’t have enough to invest in stocks, think again. For as little as $5 you can get started. Yes that’s not going to make you rich, but $5 every so often will snowball into something so much more. If you do it regularly, then your investment will be producing more money than the $5 you put into it each week, month, or whatever you decide to do.

You can get started with two free stocks when you sign up for a WeBull account – learn more in our Webull review.

Inflation is Here, But You Can Beat It

Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear that inflation is on its way (if not here right now.) While I can’t predict how long it will last, there are steps we can all take to minimize its impacts on us.

Some of those ways include minimizing shopping bills with a cash back app like Rakuten, saving money at the pump with Upside, and investing any money you do have saved into the stock market or other higher earning account.

Being aware of inflation is a major step is controlling it, and these tips will help you deal with inflation’s effects on your family’s budget.

Have you noticed prices increasing on every day goods, like groceries and gas? How are you handling the effects of inflation?

-Tyler @ RSG