Here's a great article by John Waggoner in USA Today about inflation. Read it here.
Reading this article, it seems that you can't keep your expenses down even if you wanted to. Of particular interest to me was this little tidbit:
"When consumers expect price inflation, they begin to accept it. That, in turn, often leads to more inflation. Normally, wages rise too, resulting in a wage-price spiral. The only real cure is a sharp recession, as the USA saw in 1981. With wages flat, however, consumers are going into debt instead to keep pace with inflation... To individuals, inflation means an uphill struggle to reach the middle class, or to stay there. It can discourage even the hardest workers."
And we know I'm all about uplift and I hate anything that gets in people's way.
It makes me think of an old bit of PF wisdom: Don't let your expenses rise with your income.
It's really easy to start spending a lot more money when you begin making a little more money. That's why I tried very hard to keep my expenses similar to what they were before I got my new job with the higher salary. I was only mildly successful -- my car insurance went up in the new state, gas cost about the same but I have a longer commute, and my rent is slightly higher.
What's the solution? Not to the national issue, but to inflation in your own household.
What do you do as your monthly bills get higher, but your pay stays the same or rises just a little bit?