Rising prices, known as inflation, is a consumer's worst enemy.
Especially when wages aren't rising as fast as prices.
Inflation in the United States, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, has been averaging about 2 percent the last few years. But don't let that benign number fool you.
The prices on some things are rising a heck of a lot faster.
For example, according to Bloomberg, since the year 2000, water and sewer bills have doubled, gas is up 183 percent, and college costs are up 130 percent.
Then there's food. The LA Times says ground beef is up 71 percent in just the last 5 years.
But there are three tools you can use to tame inflation. The first? Smart shopping. Buying in bulk, buying used, using coupons: there are tons of techniques you can use to pay less.
Tool number two? Tracking your expenses. Using free apps and software, you can see where your money's going.
That helps you plug spending leaks and show you where you're spending more. Tool number three? Putting your money in the right places.
Owning a house can offset inflation. So can owning stocks.
Example: Gas has gone up 50 percent in the last 5 years. But this oil stock I bought 5 years ago has gone up 174 percent. I'm ahead of inflation.
Want more information on inflation and tips and links to beat it? Just go to moneytalksnews.com and do a search for "inflation."
For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.