The global economy has been on a tear, and retailers like Walmart and Amazon are seeing record profits.
But for those struggling to make ends meet, the impact is even more pronounced, with many people living paycheck to paycheck.
In fact, according to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income fell 4.5% in 2016, and in some parts of the country, the drop has been even worse.
Here’s what to do to stay on top of the economic slowdown and get a leg up on your bills.
Read moreRead moreWhat can you do?
If you can afford to pay more for groceries, you can easily find a grocery store that has a discount that lets you save $1 or more a week.
The following are some of the best places to shop:AmazonFresh and Best Buy, for example, offer 30-day free shipping on groceries and clothes, and a 20% discount off other items.
(Amazon also offers a 25% savings on grocery items at its Best Buy.)
In some cases, it’s even easier to save money with a savings account.
Check out these online credit cards:Bank of America, for instance, offers a 10% savings account bonus for first-time consumers and is one of the few credit cards that offer a 10-year auto financing offer.
(Check out our tips for saving money with your credit card here.)
Even though many of these cards offer a good savings rate, it is possible to save $500 or more per year if you opt for a personal savings account, a category that is usually reserved for low-income people.
The American Bankers Association has a guide to personal savings accounts here.
A personal savings plan is an option that offers a percentage of your gross monthly income to cover monthly expenses like rent, food, gas and other necessities, and is typically set up with a deposit, but you can set up a cash withdrawal at any time.
The bank must make a monthly deposit, and you must be able to make a minimum of 10 monthly payments to meet the monthly minimum.
It can be an attractive option for those who are struggling to cover basic expenses.
In addition to a personal bank account, you might want to consider an emergency savings account like a checking or savings account that’s available for a short time to get money in quickly.
(See our tips on getting the most out of a checking account.)
These types of accounts may not offer a cash outlay of the standard $10,000, but they can help you pay off bills quickly, and the interest rates are typically lower than a traditional checking account.
(A checking account typically has an annual fee of 3% and a minimum balance of $5,000.)
If you can’t afford to use these options, a credit card can be a viable alternative to traditional banking.
Some credit cards are available at grocery stores, which can be handy when you can only afford to spend $1 a week or less.
If you choose to use a credit or debit card, consider using it to pay for purchases like gas, groceries and rent, among other items, instead of a cash advance or a check.
The United States Postal Service, for one, offers free shipping in some cities.
If a postal service location does not have a free shipping option, you may be able use another carrier to pay the difference.
The U.K. Post Office offers free delivery of certain items to the U, U.P., P.O. boxes, and other addresses.
If you don’t have the time or money to buy groceries, try a savings plan.
These types of plans often have lower monthly fees, typically $5 or less, but can be set up to pay off the bill in full within a few months.
Many plans offer a variable-rate variable-interest rate, so you can pay a variable rate every month or even annually, instead.
You can also pay less interest each month to reduce your monthly payment and potentially pay off your credit cards sooner.