Sure, the European vacations all over your Insta feed may be giving you FOMO —and even more so with the euro and US dollar reaching parity for the first time in 20 years. Butttt the travel hassles (delays, cancellations, lost luggage) continue.And another COVID-19 surge is making its rounds. AND one of Europe’s busiest airports is saying ‘no more travelers, please.’ Staycation envy might be this summer’s hottest trend.
No peaking. Inflation reached a 40-year high with the Consumer Price Index increasing 9.1% from a year ago in June. Thanks, in large part, to rising prices on gas, rent, and food. But is the climb over? The housing market appears to be cooling off. And prices for some commodities, including oil, wheat, and corn, are reportedly coming down. But only time will tell if we’ve hit peak inflation. While we wait (and continue shopping around for the cheapest gas), here are seven things you can do to protect your budget.
50 shades of red tape. Health insurance coverage for abortion was already spotty.But in a post-Roe world, it’s even trickier for providers and plan holders to figure out what’s covered— and legal — as state governments take on abortion rights battles. Meanwhile, politicians and business leaders are leveraging abortion access as a campaign peg and making the case that abortion access attracts business and is good for local economies.
Care to work? The child care shortage continues to keep many women out of the workforce. The national unemployment rate held steady in June at 3.6%, and it even improved for Black women, falling to 5.6% from 5.9%.But the group’s labor force participation rate(reminder: that’s the share of the population working or actively looking for work)also fell, nearly reversing the 1 percentage point gain made in May. Psst…for all workers, it fell by just 0.1 point from May to June.
News to Wallet
If there’s one thing seemingly everyone is worried about right now, it’s a recession. A new survey from MagnifyMoney says 70% of Americans think a downturn is coming. And leaders of big corporations and small businesses alike aren’t feeling confident, either. If you’re saying ‘same,’ here are a few ideas to start recession-proofing your finances:
Pay off high-interest debt. So that you have less on your financial plate to worry about if something bad happens. Looking at you, credit card debt.
Build up an emergency fund. Because recessions generally = layoffs. Aim to save enough to cover at least three to six months’ worth of expenses. That way, you’ll know that you can stay afloat even if you face a temporary loss of income.
Update your resume. Just in case. If nothing else, it’s one less thing on your to-do list. Psst…here are some common resume mistakes to avoid.
Stay the course with investing. Your retirement account might not be looking up now, but it could later. Keep investing so you don’t miss out on lower share prices. Or start investing now.
Make Good (Money) Choices
If you’re tempted by summer sales…
Shop responsibly. Amazon’s Prime Day was just the headliner in a major lineup of retail sales events. From Nordstrom to Target, lots of retailers are promoting discounts RN. But remember, not all deals are worth it. Because even impulse buys on sale mean spending $$$ you probably haven’t accounted for in your budget. To avoid overspending, think about what you want and compare prices to make sure you’re actually getting a bargain before you hit the sales. And don’t feel pressured by limited-time offers or other marketing tactics designed to trick you into spending more.
One Thing You’ve Been Putting Off
Checking your credit.
Both your credit score AND credit report. Your score will help you know what loans you may qualify for (hi, homebuyers). And your credit report will give you the deets on why your score is what it is (think: missed payments). Plus, if you haven’t checked yours in a while, you might get some good news. As of July 1, many medical debts have been removed from credit reports. If that includes yours (spoiler: one study found that about 100 million people, or 41% of adults, in the US carry medical debt), it might mean you have a better score. Because dropping those debts from your report should improve your payment history rating, which is a major factor in calculating your score. See what else goes into your credit score, and Skimm some tips on how to boost it — whether you have medical debt or not.
H, I, J, K, L, M, N…FT? It’s not exactly elementary, so let us spell it out. Get to know the basics of NFTs and crypto’s other favorite acronym, HODL (spoiler: hold on for dear life), in this month’s edition of the Skimm Money Future-Proofed newsletter, landing in your inbox this Sunday. We’ll give you the inside scoop on the future of money and all the info you need to catch up on the latest trends.
PS: Here’s last month’s issue, ICYMI.
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