BRASILIA – With the rise in prices spread across several sectors, it is increasingly difficult to escape the dragon of inflation. The readjustments affect the poorest most cruelly, who have less disposable income to cope with escalating prices and little access to financial services that protect the value of money.
In recent months, inflation has increased for all income groups, which has led families to look for alternatives that fit their pockets. But when until the egg, which replaces proteins like beef and chicken, it’s more expensive, what can Brazilians do?
O Estadão/Broadcast he listened to specialists to look for alternatives that, if they don’t solve it, at least help to escape the higher prices. “Inflation has spread a lot. We’re going to have to face this scarcity”, says the coordinator of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) gives Getúlio Vargas Foundation, André Braz. “There are no tips to prevent prices from rising, but the consumer can make it rise more slowly by buying less expensive items, as far as possible.”
He emphasizes that it is urgent to “take control” of inflation because the poorest remain unprotected. “They are the biggest victims of inflation. Telling this family to ‘buy less’ is a lack of sensitivity”, he adds.
The vice president of Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Abras), Márcio Milan, says that the consumer’s main weapon at the moment is research. “When there is a movement of inflation or even price accommodation, it is important for consumers to do their research and check the values before shopping. You supermarkets, for example, have policies that they adopt when making their purchases and can make promotions to keep the consumer”, he explains.
It is also important that families have detailed knowledge of the household’s budget. The professor at the Department of Home Economics at Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), Ana Lídia Galvão, explains that the first step in trying to save is “putting everything in pencil”. That is, write down how much you earn and all the cats. “We account for an installment, rent, the most expensive things, but sometimes, the small expenses of the day, people don’t have the practice of taking notes. And this erodes the wage“, he said.
Enhanced search and grocery shopping list
To find foods with a better price, experts are unanimous: research is needed. A survey conducted by Abras last week shows the difference in prices that consumers can find for the same product. a bag of rice of 5 kg was sold for R$ 15.99 to R$ 29.98. In addition, supermarkets have increased the brands offered – in the case of rice, increased from four to seven on average in recent months.
O bean was found with prices between R$ 5.99 and R$ 9.99 the package with 1 kg. The chicken ranged from R$ 10.99 to R$ 17 per kilo. Milan, from Abras, recalls that supermarkets have stock and, often, they may have stocks with old prices. “The supermarkets have felt a retraction in consumption with inflation and, therefore, they are increasing promotions and offers,” he said. He also indicates that consumers look for offers such as “meat day” or “fish day” and prefer seasonal vegetables, which are more affordable.
Braz, from FGV, advises consumers to take a good inventory of what they have in the pantry before leaving home to avoid buying what they don’t need. Also, go with the list ready and stick to it so you don’t linger at the supermarket. “Supermarket is made so you don’t run, because the floor is smooth and there’s no clock, just so you can lose time. The longer you stay in the market, the more useless things you’ll buy. Going with a list in hand helps to avoid that.”
Another tip is to buy at the so-called wholesale stores, which sell products in greater quantities, often for better prices. “Consumers can arrange to go with friends and relatives, it will enable them to have access to a better price and avoid buying to stock up”. Stock, incidentally, is not recommended at this time. “If everyone goes out to buy, the price will increase and no one will buy cheap. The market is sensitive to demand, if demand responds to a low price, it increases”.
- Make a list: always go to the supermarket with a list in hand and stick to it. The longer you stay, the more things you’ll buy;
- Take advantage of offers: prefer foods that are cheaper and do a price search;
- Substitutions: try to opt for cheaper brands and substitute foods from the same group for the cheapest option. Taking advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables can also help;
- Collective purchase: combine with friends or family the purchase of large quantities of non-perishable products wholesale.
Changing habits to reduce the electricity bill
Consumers are feeling in their pocket the impacts of the increase in the generation of electricity caused by the serious water crisis. With the new tariff flag, called the “water scarcity flag”, the electricity bill should be, on average, 6.78% more expensive as of this month. As energy is an essential item for everyone, consumers will have no other way but to save, wherever and however possible, to try to lower the electricity bill.
“Some consumers have more margin to cut, if the family already has low consumption, there is not much to do”, assesses the coordinator of the energy and sustainability program at the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection (Idec), Clauber Milk. He explains, however, that there are some habits that can make a difference at the end of the month, such as bathing time, shower temperature regulation and the number of lights on.
The specialist also warns about the time to purchase some household appliances. “Consumers have to be careful to see if that equipment is what is most worthwhile in terms of energy consumption. Air conditioning, for example, is a high investment and not everyone can make it. Many people choose the value of the investment, but they are not concerned with the value of the account”, he says.
The equipment, as well as the electric shower, is one of the villains, as it is the equipment that weighs the most on energy consumption. To try to get around, it is ideal to choose a device according to the size of the room, keep the filters clean and keep windows and doors closed during use.
Another important point is the refrigerator. Opens and closes increases the electricity bill. “You don’t have to keep opening all the time. You can make a list of what’s inside and stick it on the door, so you already know what’s there, what’s frozen and avoid opening it”, recommends professor Ana Lídia Galvão, from UFV. The expert also recommends that people pay attention to equipment turned on in stand by and television equipment turned on when no one is watching.
Consumers should also avoid using the iron and washing machine too many times a week. Experts recommend gathering as many clothes as possible for ironing or washing all at once.
Regarding lighting, the suggestion is that families use daylight for as long as possible and, when necessary, switch from fluorescent lamps to LED lamps, which are more efficient and economical. “Maybe it’s not worth it financially right now to exchange all of them, including the ones that are working, for the payback time,” explains Leite. Incandescent ones must also be replaced.
- Gather all the clothes: prefer to gather a large amount of clothes for ironing or washing to start the machine at once;
- Lighting: Try to leave windows open during the day to take advantage of natural light. Always turn off lamps when not in use;
- More efficient lamps: whenever you are going to replace burnt out lamps, give preference to LED ones;
- Shorter showers: the shower is one of the main villains of the electricity bill. Avoid long baths and turn off the shower whenever you soap up;
- Open when necessary: avoid the open and close of the refrigerator at all times. One option is to make a list of what’s inside. Also wait for food to cool to store;
- Air conditioning: keep the appliance filters clean and adjust the temperature accordingly. Keep windows and doors closed when on.
Car up to date to consume less fuel
There is no doubt that the expense to fuel the car is weighing on Brazilians’ budgets. In three regions of the country, the liter of Gasoline common already exceeds BRL 7, according to data from National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP). It’s hard to get away from the price, but it’s possible to save, at least a little.
The first step, according to the energy efficiency coordinator of the Brazilian Association of Automotive Engineering (AEA), engineer Marcos Palasio, is to calculate, on average, the expenditure on fuel spends per year. This will help you set a goal and know how much money you will save by reducing consumption.
“People must do an annual calculation. An average consumer normally travels 15 thousand kilometers per year, with this he must fill the tank, on average, every two weeks. Considering a liter of gasoline at R$ 6, and a 60 liter tank, it will cost R$ 360. By the end of the year, it will have spent something around R$ 10 thousand. You start to get the dimension of how expensive fuel is. Saving about 10% of this is something expressive”, he says.
According to specialists, some simple precautions can help to save, such as taking care of tire pressure. “This can be done free of charge when visiting the gas station to get gas. You can ask for it as a courtesy”, explains the expert.
According to him, even if the tire is in good condition, the natural loss of pressure due to use contributes to a considerable increase in fuel use. “Per month, you can lose between one and two pounds of the tyre. You calibrate at an average of 30 pounds and, in two months, you can lose up to 10% of that, depending on usage. With that, you can have an increase in consumption in the order of 5% to 7%”, he explained.
The use of the vehicle’s air conditioning also makes a difference. Just like equipment used at home, regular maintenance is required. This avoids having to increase the frequency of use or even the regulation, which also affects fuel consumption.
The use of bicycle racks or boards can also influence this. The ideal is to remove the equipment after use. “It’s another source of additional consumption that you can avoid. This object on the roof increases aerodynamic drag. There are studies that show that depending on the design, there can be a 10% increase in consumption, as it creates resistance in the air, and a higher speed is needed”, he explains.
The attention to speed also applies to general use, even without the equipment. The faster, the more gas. “Depending on the destination, the person will arrive a little faster than expected, but you have to know if it’s really worth it,” he said. “Always keep your foot on the light accelerator, look for an adequate speed for the road,” he said.
In addition to these precautions, professor Ana Lídia Galvão, from UFV, recommends that people organize carpooling with friends and neighbors. She also suggests that people plan before leaving home, make a route with the places they intend to stop and choose paths with less traffic. Despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, experts also recommend leaving your car at home and using public transport on occasion.
- Public transport: try to use buses and subways when possible;
- Solidarity ride: arrange with friends and neighbors to share the route to nearby destinations;
- Have a route: plan before leaving home to know the path of the places where you are going and the path with less traffic;
- Tire pressure: customers can calibrate their tires at some stations, free of charge. Pressure loss increases fuel consumption;
- Air conditioning: the maintenance tip is also worth mentioning in the case of automobile appliances;
- Brackets: if using brackets for cars, boards, remove after use. The support object is another form of additional consumption, as it creates air resistance that makes it difficult for the vehicle to advance;
- Speed: the faster, the greater the fuel consumption. Analyze whether it’s worth it to arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule in relation to the amount you’ll spend to refuel.