CECNA Learning Center

Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins

Inflation is like climate change: It’s a big problem that everybody talks about although no one seems to have the solution. But broadcast personality Holland Cooke says that has thought about it, talked about it and researched it and he’s come up with a list of everyday steps that consumers can use to trim hundreds of dollars from their monthly budgets.

He’s assembled his thoughts in a CECNA Learning Center course called Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins. The title refers, of course, to Benjamin Franklin, whose image adorns the $100 bill and who once cautioned, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

Taking his cue from Franklin, Cooke examines such little expenses as grocery items, premium gas and online subscriptions, suggesting ways to shave dollars from each.

Though not an economist, Cooke has spent the better part of 50 years as a radio and television talk host, radio news director and consultant to broadcast outlets and podcasters. In the process, he has learned to tune out ideology in favor of pragmatic, real-world tips that can return immediate results.

For example, Cooke advises against spending too much in restaurants. Dining out is fine, he says, but he advises taking advantage of early bird specials and using discounts offered by organizations like AAA and AARP. Also, Cooke advises, skip the dessert and have coffee at home, thus eliminating two big-ticket menu items.

Cooke also advises against bottled water, which after all the branding and supposed filtering, is still just water. And premium-grade gasoline? Not necessary for most cars and therefore a waste of money.

Although he has an extensive background in talk radio, Cooke thinks too many of today’s talkmeisters have lost track of common sense solutions in favor of ideological bluster.

President Biden can’t magically make the price of gas go down and he didn’t create the student loan crisis, so it doesn’t do much good to talk endlessly about it. There are ways for real people to save real money regardless of the political situation and we ought to be spending more time pointing that out,” Cooke said.

The online course includes sections headed “Frugality Fundamentals” and “The Greatness of Good Enough,” as well as “Pawn Shops (Really).” It’s available for $7.95 in the CECNA Learning Center, the online learning site operated by the non-profit Consumer Education Council of North America.

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