With inflation fueled by 2 1/2 years of the global pandemic and Russia's current invasion of Ukraine, the struggle is getting real here in the U.S. Of course, the shameful price gouging only makes matters worse.  According to experts in spite of the rising gas prices, it's not the gas and oil industries taking it to consumers. They say it's the food and commodity industries that are allegedly taking advantage of folks.

While they argue over who's zooming who, for folks like us, EVERYTHING is high right now. More than ever, it’s important to have a game in place to help you and your family combat these soaring costs. It might hurt a little, or be a bit uncomfortable, but it'll pay off in the short and long term. Below are 10 practical ways to save money, when money is tight.

1.) Cut back on extras like cable, sports or movie channels, streaming apps like Netflix or wifi. Buy a good antenna to catch local networks.

2.) Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships like gym, shopping networks, text ads or Spotify.

3.) Reduce energy usage. For example, open your windows on nice days and cut the air conditioner off. Use cold water when washing clothes, to conserve the use of your hot water tank. Install dimmer switches to limit electricity use or turn lights off during the day and open your curtains or blinds instead.

4.) Carpool. Rethink how you commute. Team up with family, friends, or a close neighbor to get the kids to and from school or to get to work. Walk or ride a bike to work if live close enough.

5.) Purchase generic brands. When grocery shopping. Make a list, stick to it, and only buy what you need. Generic meds are also a major way to save some dough.

6.) Keep a full tank of gas. Even though it's slightly heavier, still going to be cheaper and better for your engine. Driving on 'E' causes air to mix with gas and only decreases the efficiency of your car!

7.) Save money without even thinking about it. Set your bank accounts to automatically transfer 10% of your direct deposit from your checking into a savings account.

8.) Reduce energy costs. Fix leaking pipes and faucets. Change out standard lightbulbs and replace them with LED lights.

9.) Put your tax refund to real use. Pay off bills like student loans, credit cards, and medical bills.

10.) Pack a lunch. It's healthier and far cheaper than driving and going to a restaurant.

Bonus*** Homeowners tap into your home's value without taking out a loan
It's a valuable asset, if you need money for home improvements, to pay off debt, pay for education, or more, there's a new option to consider. Hometap is an alternative to traditional home equity loans. You have to qualify, but instead of getting a loan you need to pay back, they make an investment in your home.

See 20 Ways America Has Changed Since 9/11

For those of us who lived through 9/11, the day’s events will forever be emblazoned on our consciousnesses, a terrible tragedy we can’t, and won’t, forget. Now, two decades on, Stacker reflects back on the events of 9/11 and many of the ways the world has changed since then. Using information from news reports, government sources, and research centers, this is a list of 20 aspects of American life that were forever altered by the events of that day. From language to air travel to our handling of immigration and foreign policy, read on to see just how much life in the United States was affected by 9/11.

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