At a recent event, economist Elliot Eisenberg, PhD. likened Fed rate hikes to pot gummies: 

They will do the job, but you have to give them a minute. If you get impatient and think, ‘This isn’t doing anything,’ and start popping one gummy after another, you could quickly find yourself in another world. 

That’s where we are with recent rapid-fire rate hikes. The effects are just starting to kick in, and it’s getting ugly.

Everything from business cards to mortgages is getting very expensive very quickly, and incomes are not keeping up. This is putting a big financial squeeze on both consumers and agents. 

There’s a reason so many agents leave the industry during tough economic times. In today’s market, you won’t be getting as many leads falling into your lap. For many, this means  fewer deals over the next year, adding to the financial pressure that comes with inflation and interest rate hikes.

So how can you defend yourself against these extreme attacks against your pocketbook?

The Money Coach® Lynette Khalfani Cox, in her Money Coach University™, has six pieces of  advice for people who don’t want to be blown around by inflation and the winds of the economy.

#1 Sweep your subscriptions

The subscription model of sales is brilliant. The consumer pays a small recurring amount for a regular feed of everything from music to cat treats.

The model capitalizes on human nature, which is to impulsively sign up and then forget about it—until the bill comes.

Luckily, also born out of this evolution was a parallel class of subscription management apps like Rocket Money, Hiatus, and Trim. These apps go through your current subscriptions and help you unsubscribe. You may be amazed at how much you spend on subscriptions you don’t use. Take this step for some monthly savings, and resist the urge to sign up for anything new.

#2 Request a lower rate on your debt

Credit card rates are particularly sensitive to increases in the Fed rates. According to Lending Tree, as of mid-September 2022, the average credit card interest rate was 21.59%.

If you have a decent payment history, you have a shot at a rate reduction. Even if you don’t have a stellar record, ask for a reduction. The worst they can say is no, and you would be no worse off than when you started.

#3 If you are an employee, don’t ask for a raise

Speaking as an employer, climbing labor costs are forcing small businesses to do more with less, so we can’t actually afford to pay you more.

However, if you ask, “What can I do to earn more money?” you open up a different conversation. A good boss will happily share the spoils if you come up with a way to help the business increase revenue.

#4 Consolidate your cars

With more people working remotely, the idea of eliminating a vehicle is becoming more realistic, and there is a lot of money to be found here.

According to NerdWallet, average car ownership costs for newer vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year are $10,728 annually. This takes into account monthly payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, registration, fees, and taxes.

Add to that the fact that folks are currently paying a median of $25,000 for a used car (cars.com). Imagine getting a $25,000 bonus and a $10k raise just by sharing a car with a family member. If you live with another real estate agent, this may be difficult to do—but if your partner works from home, it’s worth a conversation.

#5 Buy generic

An experiment conducted by Consumer Reports found that store-brand foods cost an average of 27% less than their big-name counterparts. The same is true for many off-brand consumer goods.

When I was a kid, my parents could afford to buy the fancy shampoo I wanted, but they would only buy store brand. In fact, they bought virtually all store-brand items. They would say, “It’s all the same stuff, just in a different package.” While it was not true about my shampoo, it is more true than you think!

I challenge you to buy zero name-brand products, clothing, or foods for one month and watch your spending go down.

#6 Sell your shit

You have a lot of stuff you don’t use or need, but someone else would love to have it. Fortunately, there is no shortage of digital marketplaces for you to sell it. 

Go to your basement, attic, and garage, take some pics and start selling! Try Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, or eBay to get started.

You can’t control the cost of things, but you can control how much you spend and how you organize your money. The local, national, and global economies will always do what they do. But if you are intentional with your spending and earnings, you can safely carry on through any market.