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Consumers are feeling the crunch

The U.S. government released new inflation data on Thursday that disappointed some economists.

Experts were expecting a 0.2% increase to the Consumer Price Index (the tool the government uses to measure inflation) in September, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Instead, the index rose 0.4% on a monthly basis and 8.2% on an annual basis. Core CPI — a measure of inflation that excludes volatile food and energy prices — rose 6.6% on an annual basis. That’s the fastest pace of inflation since 1982.

Income and wages are certainly not keeping up with this pace. The average wage was up 6.3% on an annual basis in the month of September, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That’s lower than both headline and core inflation, which helps explain why many ordinary Americans feel underpaid and financially squeezed this year.

However, experts believe there are a few ways to mitigate the impact of inflation even if your employer doesn’t offer a pay raise.

More: How to ask for a raise

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Switch jobs

Analysis by the Pew Research Center reveals that switching jobs could be a clever way to boost your income. The data seems to suggest that 60% of people who switched jobs or employers between 2021 and 2022 saw their pay rise, while fewer than half who stayed saw any wage growth during this period.

Which means if you’re looking to beat inflation, leaving your current role or employer for better opportunities may be your best bet at getting the salary increase you’re hoping for.

More: Sign up at FlexJobs to find the best remote, flexible jobs

Pick up a side gig

Supplemental income or side gigs have never been this popular. In fact, federal labor data revealed that as of September, 420,000 people were working two full-time jobs simultaneously. These workers were putting in roughly 70 hours a week to boost their income.

You don’t need another full-time job to beat inflation. A simple side gig like tutoring could be worth $100 an hour, while dog walking could net you as much as $1,000 a month, as SideHusl, an online gig platform, told CBS News.

A flexible freelance role can help you boost your income far above the rate of inflation.

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Having a single loan to pay off makes it easier to manage your payments, and you can often get a better interest rate than what you might be paying on credit cards and car loans.

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Invest in passive income

If you have some spare cash, putting it to work could help you mitigate the impact of inflation.

High-yield dividend stocks like AT&T (T) offer dividend yields that exceed the rate of core inflation. At the time of writing, the stock offers a 7.4% yield. The stock also trades at just 5.5 times earnings — which implies an earnings yield of 18%.

Deploying excess savings in passive income stocks could help you preserve your wealth. This cash flow could also supplement your income and help you meet rising living expenses.

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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