Dujanovic: Battling inflation like it’s 1981

Apr 14, 2022, 3:28 PM
Debbie busts inflation by buying consigned clothes....
Debbie Dujanovic wears her $5 consignment find corduroy jacket and $3 consignment find sweater. (Debbie Dujanovic/KSL NewsRadio)
(Debbie Dujanovic/KSL NewsRadio)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

I was 13-years old in 1981. The best babysitter on the block. I was also mostly oblivious to the economic conditions of the times.

I earned 75 cents an hour babysitting that summer. By the time I headed to the mall for back-to-school clothes shopping, rising prices deflated my spirit.

It’s 2022 and I feel like I’m back in 1981 with inflation.

The Consumer Price Index for March 2022 shows inflation jumped 8.5% over last March. Americans saw similar jumps in February and in January.

It’s the worst inflation since I was in middle school back in the 80s.

My colleague, KSL NewsRadio’s Boyd Matheson, put it in today’s terms.

“Inflation is currently costing Utah families an extra $702 a month,” Boyd told us on Dave & Dujanovic.

Gas. Rent. Groceries — going up and up.

Boyd found that data through Congress’ Economic Research Center. That’s an additional $8,424 a year going out the door!

Time to look in the mirror and ask myself what will I stop buying this month to undercut inflation right now?

  1. One of two monthly gym passes = $24 savings
  2. Two apple-scented candles a month = $30 savings
  3. Premixed protein shakes = $50 savings

Bam! I saved $100 in April alone. My list is a work in progress.

Click here to comment on my Facebook page about what you would give up to save money.

Four unique inflation deflators

As co-host of the Dave & Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio I’ve learned unique ways to save quite a bit of money.

Tip 1: Rent relief

Utah has secured millions of dollars in federal rent relief funds that can cover the cost of rent for several months. If you’re like one of my friends who announced on Facebook that her rent is going up hundreds of dollars a month, apply.

You may qualify and if you do, your deposit could be covered too. 

There’s no repayment stipulation either.

Tip 2: Gas

KSL 5 TV investigative producer Sloan Schrage found a unique way to get a tank of gas — for free.

Sloan works with KSL 5 TV’s Matt Gephardt to help us bust inflation. It takes some planning, but Sloan’s method is worth a try to me.

After he saved money for a big purchase, he paused.


First, he drove to a local Smith’s grocery store with his money in hand and bought gift cards that he’d then used to make that purchase. Buying those gift cards amassed hundreds of points toward a fuel discount program.

Sloan tells me his method got him enough points for one free fill-up.

Tip 3: Credit card interest

I’m no financial advisor, but if you haven’t checked your credit card interest rates lately, stop reading this and find your wallet.

The Federal Reserve plans to combat inflation that involves a steady stream of incremental interest rate increases over the next year, which will up your monthly payments.

So, let’s say you carry a balance of $2,000, and make a $50 a month minimum payment.

It’ll take almost five years to pay off and you’ll accrue nearly $1,100 in interest.

And that’s at the current interest rate of 18%.

It’s time to address it.

Tips from Utah non-profit AAA Fair Credit Foundation can help break the cycle. Their Facebook page is loaded with helpful advice. 

If you want to pay your credit card off faster, you should consider a zero-percent interest rate card. CreditCards.com has researched options, annual fees and costs of balance transfers. 

Final thought

Oh, I just thought of one more way I’ll undercut inflation.

It’s a throwback to a lesson inflation taught me in 1981 while shopping for new school clothes I could hardly afford.

Shop sales only. Shop second hand — now consignment stores — first. Shop for needs, not wants.

In other words, I budget like I still earn under $1 an hour.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio.

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Dujanovic: Battling inflation like it’s 1981