2017 Cost of Living: 4 Steps To Dealing With Rising Prices

2017 Cost of Living: 4 Steps To Dealing With Rising Prices

The Cost of Living Rises Every Year

With the cost of living rising each year, paying for essentials like housing, food, healthcare and transportation is increasingly difficult. Young adults, service-industry workers and seniors on fixed incomes are finding many of their hometowns untenable due to the rising prices.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shelter and gasoline indexes raised again as of November 2016. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent while the gas index rose 2.7 percent. These were not the only essentials to rise. Transportation services increased by 0.4 percent as did medical care services by 0.2 percent.

How Cost of Living Compares Throughout the Nation

Using New York City, New York as the control, Numbeo estimates the cost of living for 139 cities. Even cities within the same state can vary widely when it comes to cost of living, rent and groceries.

San Francisco’s cost of living plus rent index is 12 percent higher than New York’s index. If you live in Los Angeles, the cost of living plus rent drops dramatically to 25 percent less than New York and 37 percent less than San Francisco’s index. In this case, Los Angeles is a more affordable city in which to live and work despite it being the home of Hollywood.

If comparing the cost of living index without the cost of rent, you will find that Honolulu is close to the New York City index figures. Springfield, Missouri and Hamilton, Canada are close to 40 percent cheaper on the cost of living without rent index.

The cost of food is also higher in some areas than others. In San Francisco, the grocery index is 10 percent higher than the grocery cost in New York, followed by New Haven, CT, Honolulu, HI and Santa Cruz, CA. Reno, Nevada has a grocery index of 53 percent, meaning the groceries index in the city is 47 percent less than the index for New York and ranked the lowest on that index.

When it comes to the rent index, not including the cost of living, San Francisco tops the list again at 25 percent higher than rent in New York City. Charleston, SC is at 50 percent on the rent index and cities like Dayton, OH and Springfield, MO are around 80 percent less on the rent index than New York.

Steps You Can Take to Manage Rising Costs

With family, school and career centered in a particular city, moving to an affordable area may be out of the question for you right now. There are a few steps you can take to help manage your increasing expenses.

1. Learn to budget efficiently

Keeping track of your expenses can make you aware of extra spending on items you don’t need. You can use this extra money towards your necessities such as rent, utilities, gasoline and groceries. In today’s technological landscape, you can find several websites, software programs and apps that will keep track of your expenses and allow you to set a budget. Some of these programs will sync to your bank account for an accurate picture of your spending.

Consumer.gov suggests gathering your bills together before trying to create a budget.You will also need to include allotments for other expenses such as groceries, gasoline, school supplies, clothes and unplanned events.

Once you have a visual of where your money is going compared to how much income you have, it will be easier to make better financial decisions.

2. Cut out the extra spending

Multimillionaire Dani Johnson refers to extra spending as the “fat” in the household budget. The “fat” is an item not needed like daily trips to the coffee house that add up by the end of the month. It also refers to services that you can scale back to save more money and manage expenses.

For example, if you are having difficulty with the increases in the cost of living, consider reducing your cable package or removing it completely if you don’t really need that many channels.

3. Share your home with other contributing roommates

You may know someone who is trying to find housing in your city or manage the cost of living while working or attending school full-time. If your house or apartment is large enough, consider asking them to split the cost with you. If you rent, your landlord or management office will need to approve of the arrangement, but it may save you at least 50 percent on your household expenses.

4. Increase your income

Applying for a higher paying job or increasing your skill set to obtain a promotion can help you increase your income to make ends meet, however it typically takes time to gain knowledge and experience to move further up the career ladder.

Try incorporating a household budget while decreasing your extra spending until you hear back about that better paying position.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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If He Says 'You Make Me Want To Be A Better Person,' Remember It's NOT A Compliment

No one should be relying on another person to make them better people.


A lot of us have been there; he smiles at you sweetly, gives you a look that could melt your heart, and you let yourself fall into the kindness.

He tells you, "you're such a good person; you make me want to be better."

Your heart is a flutter, you're drowning in the sickly sweetness of what you take as one of the nicest things someone has ever told you. It's so easy to read it as though it's an admirable thing for anyone to say, but the reality is, no one should be held liable for making you want to be a decent human being except yourself.

It's one thing for people to bring out the best in each other.

When you find your happy place in the company of the people you love most in life, that's one of the greatest things in the world. That example of the "bettering" of one another comes organically. But to only find a desire to be kinder, more selfless, more decent because another person is kind, selfless, and decent is putting way too much liability on the other person, and it means not taking responsibility for yourself.

By telling me that I'm the reason he wants to be a better person, he's putting me on a pedestal that I cannot possibly live up to all the time.

He's holding me liable for his desire to stop his negative behaviors rather than it coming from a true desire to be better. If being with me or around me is the only reason he's decided he needs to get his act together and start being a decent human being, I'm here to tell him that he should really reevaluate.

Because what happens when we break up?

What happens if we have a falling out for some reason or another, and I'm not longer in his life to "inspire" him to be better? His desire to be better disappears alongside me, because his desire never really came from his heart anyway. He go back to the same negative behavior that he had in the first place unless he came come to the realization that being a good person has to come from a real desire within.

I don't have the time to pander to people who can't take responsibility for their actions.

It shouldn't have to be my job to show anyone what being a decent human being looks like. His parents should have instilled that in him when they were raising him, and if not that, he should have been able to recognize elsewhere what kindness and decency looked like in other people so that he could emulate it himself. If he's a grown adult who says he didn't recognize what being good meant until he met you, that says more about him than it does about you.

The point of all of this is simple; it is an extremely important life lesson to learn that you are not responsible for anyone's actions and feelings except for your own.

You are not accountable for the decisions someone else makes, and that's the truth. No one is dating someone with the intent on raising him and teaching him how to behave or exist as a functionally member of society, and no one should have to.

I'm not saying it's a red flag to hear it. Often times it is said with good intentions and sometimes it is meant in the organic sort of way I mentioned before. But my advice if you're ever told this; think about it. Consider it a pink flag, one that makes you do some evaluating before you smile bigly and accept the comment as though it is a badge of honor.

Above all, hold people responsible for their own actions and don't let them make you feel responsible instead.


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