Talk about a lifeline.
- Many people are spending more money than ever on gas and groceries.
- Illinois is taking steps to ease this burden by eliminating certain taxes on essential goods.
Since mid-2021, Americans have grappled with savage levels of inflation. And things only got worse with the conflict in Ukraine. Gas prices were already rising before the onset of the crisis abroad. But now consumers are increasingly feeling the pain at the pump.
Things got so bad that lawmakers tried to find ways to ease the burden on cash-strapped Americans. Some lawmakers even called for a gas stimulus earlier in the year in an effort to help consumers stay afloat financially.
But one state is taking steps to help consumers save a bundle on gas and groceries. And that alone could allow millions of people to avoid debt and leave their hard-earned savings intact.
Illinois throws residents a bone
Illinois recently released its budget for fiscal year 2023, and it contains some key provisions designed to help residents better manage the rising cost of living. For one thing, the budget provides a total of $685 million in direct worker rebate checks with an income limit of $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for joint filers. These checks will total $50 per person and $100 per dependent, for a maximum of three children per family.
Additionally, Illinois will suspend its grocery tax for one year, saving consumers $400 million. It also suspends its fuel tax for six months, saving consumers about $70 million. All told, that’s a healthy $470 million in savings for Illinois residents to benefit from.
Other ways to save on groceries and gas
The fact that Illinois is suspending taxes on groceries and gasoline for a period of time is extremely helpful. But consumers can take other steps to save on both spending categories.
It may be possible to reduce supermarket bills by planning meals more in advance, as well as making lists before shopping and sticking to them. Being more organized could lead to fewer purchases and smaller grocery bills.
Meanwhile, planning outings more strategically could result in fewer vehicle fills and less money spent at the pumps. Carpooling serves a similar purpose, so it pays to see if it’s an option, whether in the context of getting to the office or getting the kids to and from school and activities.
Consumers could also save on gas by paying cash instead of swiping their credit card. Although many credit cards offer generous cash back on refills, it pays to do the math to see if there are greater savings to be had by paying cash and getting a much lower price per gallon.
All in all, it could be some time before grocery and gas prices come down. And since these are expenses that consumers cannot simply eliminate, it pays to shop and pay for these items as strategically as possible. While Illinois residents may be getting a much-needed break from the tax suspension, that’s not the case everywhere, so some people may need to get creative at a time when the prices explode.