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Inflation-Proof Tips to Save Money on Dining Out, Clothes, Gas and More

The Consumer Price Index shows inflation surged to 8.5% in March. Here are some shopping habits that could save you money.

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Save money at restaurants and the gas pump to keep more cash in your wallet.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Inflation surged to 8.5% in March, hitting a 40 year high, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. Last month, the Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates to fight inflation in an effort to help with rising costs. However, economic experts don't expect the move to bring down the prices of food, gas or consumer products anytime soon.

For now, as gas prices remain high and inflation rocks household budgets, you may be looking for ways to save money and offset rising costs. When prices are high, spending less on dining at restaurants or shopping can reap big rewards. Fortunately, I've found a few ways to still do the things you love while also saving some money.

Keep reading to find out some ways to save on eating at restaurants and filling up your gas tank, as well as how to get a better deal on devices. For more saving tips, check out these easy and free ways to save money on your gas, electric and water bills.

Buy discounted gift cards for shopping and eating out

If you often spend money on eating out at restaurants and shopping, you'll want to know this tip. You can buy gift cards online with a balance higher than what you pay. That's right. People often receive gift cards to stores and restaurants they don't like or will never go to and they sell them online. You can also get a little bit of cash back. Here are some places to check out. 

CardCash: You can buy unwanted gift cards on CardCash and it'll tell you the amount the card is worth and what you're paying. Just search for any store or restaurant you frequent to see what's available. For instance, I found a $25 Cheesecake Factory gift card for $20.48 (18.1% savings). Plus the site is running a $3 off your $25 purchase deal if you're new. CardCash offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on all purchases

Gift Card Granny: This one works a bit differently. You earn cash back for every gift card you buy on Gift Card Granny. For example, a $50 Lowe's card will get you $0.50 back. Gift Card Granny has a "100% Lifetime Guarantee" on its gift cards.

Save money on gas through membership clubs

Who knows how long gas prices will continue to climb. However, there you can save a bit at the pump if you're part of a membership club. Here are a few places that offer fuel discounts (and other perks). Plus, check out these other ways to save on gas.

Kroger: When you spend money on groceries at Kroger, the total spent is converted into points that you can use toward fuel. Each month, for every 100 points earned, you get $0.10 off, up to $1 off per gallon. Your points expire at the end of the following month. Even if you don't have any points, you can still save $0.03 per gallon at the pump.

Sam's Club: You can become a Sam's Club member by paying an annual fee of $45. With that, you can save $0.05 per gallon when you buy gas.

Walmart Plus: If you join Walmart Plus for $98 annually, you can save $0.05 per gallon at the pump -- and that includes Sam's Club gas stations.

Costco: A $60 membership to Costco gets you access to one of the cheapest places to buy gas in the US. 

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Save on things you spend money on often.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Buy used, refurbished and open-box devices

Not quite ready to spend $1,000 on a mobile phone or other electronic device? You don't have to. Instead, you can shop around for used and refurbished devices, as well as products that are considered open box. Check these places out.

Amazon Warehouse: You can find pre-owned, used and open box items in great condition from Amazon Warehouse. I bought an "open box" Ecovacs Deebot at a crazy good discount and it was still in its original packaging. Sometimes these items are bought and returned without being opened, but still have to be categorized as "used" and "open box."

Best Buy Outlet Deals: Just like Amazon, Best Buy has its own section for open box deals. For instance, I found an Apple iPad Pro for $946 open box. The original price is $1,099. For refurbished or preowned products, you can choose to see only those devices by checking the boxes under the "Condition" section.

Apple: Only use Apple products? Check out the Apple refurbished items where you can save on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and more. While you won't find the newest iPhone 13, you can still save $250 on the iPhone 11 Pro. 

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