Monday Memo: Inflation Hacks

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you’re old enough for Medicare,* you’ve seen this movie before. In the early 1970s, gasoline – adjusted for inflation – was more expensive; and in the 80s, interest rates hit 20%.

Younger? You feel like you’re witnessing history. Either way, Inflation is changing listeners,’ and advertisers,’ and OUR lives, in almost every way. Rather than joining the blame-game unison, I will be using this column for the entire month of July to offer solutions, dozens of ways you can share on-air, and use yourself.

First-things-first: OFFER — don’t ask — to renegotiate

For instant savings, make a list:

  • video and music streaming services,
  • insurance premiums,
  • your cable bill,
  • your cellphone plan,
  • that gym membership you stopped using by February, and
  • all those other recurring costs that hit your credit card like clockwork every month.

I didn’t do the perennial New Year’s resolution gym membership, but I got a better deal from all of the others above.

And about that credit card…

Tell them you want a lower rate. Many who do GET one.

And if you don’t — because credit cards are stealing each others’ customers — sign up for a new one with an introductory zero percent balance transfer offer, so you at least stop the clock on what you already owe.

And rediscover cash. It doesn’t come back to haunt you at the end of the month.

Everything you’re already doing STILL isn’t enough?

4 Frugality Fundamentals:

  • Ask for an “open box.” I saved a couple hundred on the computer I’m writing this on…still brand new and under warranty. My pal Larry had his eye on a monster TV, list price $2595. He grabbed the demo for $995 when the new model came in.
  • Shopping online? Before you check-out that cart, open a separate browser and Google “promo codes” for the company you’re shopping. And if you’re a member, try AAA and AARP.
  • Shopping for services? On vacation, I flossed-off a crown, and the nearest dentist wanted $75 to re-cement it. When I asked “Discount for cash?” the doc’ pocketed the crisp 50 I offered.
  • Threaten to quit! Many subscription services and publications WILL counter-offer. When I told The New York Times to cancel my $15/month digital subscription, they offered me $4.

More next week. Meantime…

*About Medicare: It’s a well-oiled machine that processed a billion claims last year: When it’s your turn, you will LOVE IT. Uncle Sam doesn’t get everything wrong.

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here, and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke