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Author: Fabio

How to Fight Inflation: 6 Money-Saving Tips for 2022

Don’t think you’re powerless against inflation. Try these financial strategies in six different areas of your spending life.

It’s no secret that inflation has battered a lot of bank accounts in the last year. Some prices have been going down lately, like gas, but other prices, like that for food, are still climbing. 

If you’re looking to save money, here are some money-saving tips in six areas of your spending life.

Travel

Inflation-fighting tip: Remember that you always pay for convenience.

Convenience costs more when it comes to virtually any purchase you make, but it’s especially costly when you’re traveling. John Shrewsbury, a financial advisor and co-owner of GenWealth Financial Advisors in Bryant, Arkansas, often goes on business trips and says that he has observed what many of us likely have: “Convenience comes at a significant price.”

He cites staying at a hotel near your destination as often being far higher a price than staying at a lower price a bit further away.

“Most airlines charge for luggage, so packing efficiently could save $30 to $50 bucks,” Shrewsbury says. “And, on that rental car, pumping your own gas to fill up right before you return will save several dollars over letting the rental company fill it and charge you.”

He has other examples. “Eating at the hotel is likely to be more expensive than at a nearby restaurant. Also, food at the airport is usually more expensive because they have a captive audience, so if possible, eat before you leave for the plane.”

Granted, plenty of travelers are willing to pay more for the convenience, and if you are, that’s fine. But it is something to remember, if you’re looking to save money on travel. If you’re willing to be a little inconvenienced, you can probably go farther for less.

Groceries

Inflation-fighting tip: Shop strategically for your food.

That may not sound like much of a tip. We all know that we need to shop strategically, don’t we? Still, we can always use a pep talk. It isn’t easy shopping strategically for food. We may not be hunting and gathering in the way our ancestors did, but you still have to bargain hunt and scour the landscape for deals. It can be mind-numbing and stressful.

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Money-saving tips for consumers during high inflation

In the view of Fabio Fernandes, Head of Communications at the Consumer Choice Center, a consumer advocacy group and nonprofit organization, consumers looking to gain a solid financial footing in this uncertain economic environment should try to reduce their spending habits on non-essential items.

“Inflation hurts low-income consumers the most since families at the lower end of the income distribution spend a substantial share of their income on core needs. Nearly 75% of expenditures for low-income families go to food, transportation, rent, utilities, and cellphone service.”

Gas Prices:

“Unfortunately, gas prices are still high in many parts of the United States, and there are very few things car-dependent consumers can do to minimize its impact on the household budget. Our suggestion is to plan your drive for when you’re running errands by tracing a route that would reduce needless extra miles.” 

“Another obvious suggestion is driving less. The work-from-home trend is stronger than ever, and if your job allows, ask your employer to stay at home a couple of days a week.”

Inside the Home:

“When it comes to inflation on household items, the greatest villains are utilities. Consumers can save energy by reducing the number of times they do laundry or run the dishwasher, or even by changing a couple of degrees the thermostat.”

“Consumers who have been using the same providers for electricity, gas, and especially broadband tend to get too comfortable. If you live in an area with multiple providers for any of those services, don’t hesitate to call them and listen to their offers. New customers enjoy special prices and perks that old clients don’t, so looking at the competition might be a money saver.”

Subscriptions:

“Digital subscriptions can be a rabbit hole and a financial drain. Get rid of those charges you get every month for apps you don’t use and don’t necessarily need. Reducing the number of streaming subscriptions or consolidating into family plans can help you save the big bucks in a year. ”

“It’s the ideal time to negotiate your subscriptions or membership fees. Many companies are offering reduced prices or even a couple of months free when you try to cancel your subscription. However, don’t bluff. List the subscriptions and memberships you can live without and when offered a deal, consider the weight of the new price on your household budget.”

Shopping:

“Sound financial advice for consumers looking to save money when shopping is to go with a plan and stick to your shopping list. Consumers should be comparing prices, planning their meals, and clipping coupons to maximize their savings. These not only make budgeting easier but more importantly, most impulse purchases can be avoided this way.”

“There’s always the advice to buy in bulk. You can share the cost of large packages with friends and family and thus get excellent deals. Add to that coupons, store membership, and fidelity cards, and consumers could get additional discounts while accumulating points, or my favorite, getting cashback for every dollar spent.”

When asked about Buy Now Pay Later, Fernandes said: “Shoppers need to be aware that a missed installment payment could mean late fees and other penalties. It could also be reported to the credit bureaus and end up on a consumer’s credit report.”

“With soaring inflation, buying and paying now is much better if you have disposable income. Paying later sometimes means putting an additional burden on your household budget when inflation rises further, and wages can’t keep up.” Fernandes continued.

“The reality is that there is very little room in anyone’s budget for wants right now,” concluded Fernandes.

Some back-to-school shoppers turn to BNPL to cover higher prices: TransUnion survey

Some shoppers dealing with increased prices on back-to-school items are using everything in their arsenals to tackle the extra costs, including buy now, pay later (BNPL), according to recent survey data.

New research from TransUnion found that 55% of consumers said they expected to spend more on their back-to-school shopping this year, with inflation driving the increase. 

And more than one-third of these consumers said they have already used or plan to use BNPL — which is an interest-free installment payment plan that’s available at many major retailers — to break up the cost of their back-to-school purchases. The back-to-school shopping trends research was conducted via an online survey of 1,000 adults in July 2022.

Of the consumers using BNPL for back-to-school shopping, nearly two-thirds of them, or 62%, said they are doing so to buy books and other items needed for school, while 52% said they are using it to buy an expensive school-related item, like a computer, the survey said.  

Millennials are by far the largest group of consumers opting to use BNPL for this purpose, with 47% of that generation using the alternative financing option for their back-to-school shopping, according to TransUnion. 

“Families are especially hard hit by inflation, and back-to-school shopping represents a significant cost on top of everyday expenses,” Cecilia Seiden, vice president of TransUnion’s retail business, said. “The ability to spread those payments out over time, interest-free, is a very attractive option to parents and students who are already stretched thin financially.”

If you are looking for ways to reduce your expenses and put money back in your wallet, you could consider using a personal loan to pay off high-interest debt at a lower rate, helping you save money each month. You can visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate today.

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FED AUMENTA AS TAXAS DE JUROS: O QUE ISSO SIGNIFICA PARA OS CONSUMIDORES?

Na quarta-feira (27), o Federal Reserve elevou sua taxa básica de juros em robustos três quartos de ponto pela segunda vez consecutiva em seu esforço mais agressivo em três décadas para domar a alta inflação. Na visão de Fabio Fernandes, Head de Comunicação do Consumer Choice Center, os juros mais altos terão consequências dolorosas para os consumidores.

“Temos observado o impacto da inflação sobre os consumidores americanos, e isso os está prejudicando, especialmente porque está superando o crescimento salarial historicamente forte. A inflação mais alta significa que o Fed precisa agir de forma mais agressiva, que foi o que fez hoje.”

“No entanto, o remédio também é doloroso para os consumidores. Taxas de juros mais altas se traduzem em financiamentos mais caros para os mutuários. Isso vale para hipotecas, empréstimos estudantis, empréstimos para automóveis e cartões de crédito, e quanto mais altas as taxas, mais os consumidores têm que pagar”, disse Fernandes

“Os consumidores estão sendo pressionados por preços muito mais altos para praticamente tudo em suas listas de compras e, como muitos consumidores não têm muito dinheiro extra em seus orçamentos, empréstimos a taxas mais altas prejudicarão especialmente as famílias de baixa renda”, acrescentou Fernandes.

“De fato, a inflação continua sendo a principal preocupação dos consumidores e, com o crescente medo com relação ao rumo que a economia está seguindo, os consumidores passarão a gastar com mais cautela”, concluiu Fernandes

Originally published here

Success Story: Reducing the burden of compulsory licensing on Brazilian consumers

The Issue:

In 2021, the Senate introduced a bill (Projeto de Lei n° 12, de 2021) to suspend the obligations of the Federative Republic of Brazil to implement or apply the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19 while the public health emergency remained in force. In other words, a law that would introduce compulsory licensing for all COVID-19 vaccines and technologies – something that was not only unprecedented but would also go against the TRIPS agreement, to which Brazil is a signatory.

The bill was passed in Congress in both houses and went to the approval of President Jair Bolsonaro. However, the President vetoed three key paragraphs:

8, “The holder of the patent or patent application subject to a compulsory license must provide the necessary and sufficient information for the effective reproduction of the object protected by the patent.”

9, “If there is biological material essential for the practical realisation of the object protected by the patent or by the patent application, the holder must provide such material to the licensee”, and 

10, Imposed penalties if the holder of the patent or patent application refuses to provide the information or biological material

The redacted bill went back to Congress to further discussion and final voting that could have overridden the veto and reinstated the removed paragraphs.

The entire bill n° 12 of 2021, but particularly paragraphs 8, 9 and 10, would have had terrible consequences for consumers and patients in Brazil, depriving them of future vaccines and medical innovations. The Consumer Choice Center promptly intervened to protect consumers.

CCC Response:

We understood that the vetoed provisions were simply unprecedented and inconsistent with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and denied innovators the certainty and predictability needed to confidently invest and accelerate the launch of new medicines in Brazil. Consequently, the bill would have deprived consumers and patients of life-saving drugs and vaccines because of government-created legal uncertainty. 

The moment the bill hit the Congressional floor, we began working with members of Congress and the Caucus to inform them about the risks of such legislation and the unnecessary burden to consumers and to persuade the policymakers to keep the vetoes. We sent letters presenting our arguments to both the Presidents of the House and the Senate.

Furthermore, we put the discussion to public debate, reacting, commenting and giving our expert opinion to news outlets. We were featured in a handful of influential media outlets, including Metropolis’s website, the most important about Brazil politics.

We argued that Intellectual Property was never a barrier to accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, it facilitated the collaborations among manufacturers and suppliers necessary to promote investment and access. An example of such collaboration includes the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE agreement with Brazilian biopharmaceutical company Eurofarma Laboratórios SA to manufacture COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for distribution within Latin America.

Pursuing flawed compulsory licensing initiatives coupled with mandatory technology transfers would have hindered Brazil’s desire to foster innovation and facilitate access to medicines. Indeed, it called into question how seriously Brazil took its international commitments and obligations.

The Outcome:

On July 5th, 2022, the bill was passed, maintaining the vetoes and thus reducing the impact and burden to consumers of the compulsory licensing. 

Even though the bill was enacted into law, we were able to keep the veto of the more egregious elements of PL nº 12/2021 including (1) provisions related to mandatory technology transfer (including trade secrets, technical information, and know-how) and the sharing of biological material related to an issued compulsory license; and (2) a provision that would have applied compulsory licensing mechanisms to COVID-19 related products, including treatments and vaccines.

Consumers in Brazil may now enjoy, for a bit longer, the marvellous and proven benefits and innovations that strong IP laws provide. We’ll be watching closely if new developments in this area arise.

Inflação nos EUA atinge o maior valor em 41 anos

‘Recessão econômica no país é inevitável’, diz analista, para quem ‘coisas que realmente reduziriam os números não estão na agenda de Biden’

Divulgado hoje, o Índice de Preços ao Consumidor (CPI) nos EUA apontou que a inflação no país bateu 9,1% (ante 8,8% esperados pelo mercado), no acumulado de 12 meses encerrados em junho. Foi o maior nível para o período em 41 anos. Ante maio, a alta foi de 1,3% (mais que o 1,1% esperado pelo mercado).

Para Felipe Sichel, sócio e economista-chefe do Banco Modalmais, o índice teve leitura acima do esperado tanto no headline como na leitura subjacente (0,7% em comparação com a expectativa de 0,5%).

“Tanto o headline como a composição do índice são bastantes negativas para a trajetória da inflação nos EUA.”

Resultados preliminares do PIB americano entre os meses de abril a junho apontam para uma contração da atividade econômica. Enquanto isso, o Fed está considerando que taxas acentuadamente mais altas podem ser necessárias para conter a inflação.

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Proposta da Anatel de padronizar entrada de carregadores é inimiga da inovação

A Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (Anatel) divulgou nesta terça-feira (28) uma proposta para padronizar a entrada de carregadores nos celulares. Com base em projeto da União Europeia, a agência brasileira pretende exigir a porta USB tipo C como padrão para todos os conectores de celular e carregador no país.

Em resposta, Fabio Fernandes, diretor de comunicação do Consumer Choice Center, disse que um carregador comum imposto pela Anatel, seguindo o modelo da UE, prejudica a inovação, restringe a concorrência e acaba prejudicando os consumidores.

“A concorrência é o maior impulsionador da inovação e do progresso. Todos nós temos preferências diferentes e, na maioria das vezes, cada um de nós tem uma empresa de eletrônicos de consumo favorita, seja Apple, Samsung, ou Google. Compelidas a competir, as empresas têm incentivos para continuar melhorando seus produtos e oferecendo mais opções. Os carregadores padronizados sugeridos pela Anatel infringiriam nesse espírito empreendedor”, disse Fernandes.

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ANATEL QUER PADRONIZAR CARREGADORES DE CELULAR, MAS ESPECIALISTA QUESTIONA INICIATIVA

A Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (Anatel) iniciou nesta terça-feira, dia 28, uma consulta pública para a proposta de tornar carregadores USB-C obrigatórios para todos os celulares vendidos no Brasil. A consulta vem na esteira da decisão da União Europeia de adotar o USB-C como padrão universal para smartphones e outros eletrônicos até 2024.

“Atenta aos referidos movimentos do mercado internacional, a área técnica da Anatel avaliou o tema e apresentou uma proposta com abordagem similar para aplicação no mercado brasileiro”, diz o texto no blog da agência.

A adoção de um padrão de carregamento tipo USB-C tem o maior impacto sobre a Apple, já que iPhones ainda usam o carregador Lightning da própria companhia. A Apple criticou a proposta de lei quando ela ainda estava sendo debatida na UE, dizendo que legislações do tipo “engessam a inovação em vez de encorajá-la”. No entanto, há rumores de que a gigante de tecnologia já está trabalhando para passar seus produtos para carregamento USB-C, talvez já no iPhone 15.

As vantagens do USB-C obrigatório citadas na consulta incluem reduzir o lixo eletrônico e oferecer mais conveniência aos consumidores brasileiros. A Anatel diz ainda que vem trabalhando na padronização de carregadores para celular há anos. Em 2019, por exemplo, a agência conseguiu a aprovação da Recomendação L.1000, que define o USB-C como protocolo para terminais móveis de carregamento.

A medida que a Anatel pretende adotar é questionada por Fabio Fernandes, diretor de comunicação do Consumer Choice Center, um movimento global que luta pelos direitos do consumidor. Para ele, um carregador comum imposto pela Anatel, seguindo o modelo da UE, prejudica a inovação, restringe a concorrência e acaba prejudicando os consumidores.

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Celulares poderão ter carregador único

A Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (Anatel) divulgou na terça-feira uma proposta para padronizar a entrada de carregadores dos celulares no Brasil. Com base em um projeto da União Europeia, a agência brasileira pretende exigir a porta USB tipo C como padrão para todos os conectores de celular e carregador no país.

A proposta de ato normativo da Anatel está em consulta pública, o que significa que ainda não está valendo. No site da agência, a minuta de ato normativo receberá contribuições da sociedade.

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NOVO PACOTE DE BONDADES VAI AUMENTAR A INFLAÇÃO E AFETAR OS MAIS POBRES

 Fábio Fernandes – O mercado está atento à repercussão dos dados da inflação e ao risco fiscal. O IBGE divulgou na semana passada a prévia da inflação de junho, o IPCA15, e o resultado ficou  dentro  do esperado. Os números oficiais vieram com alta de 0,69% em junho e acumulado de 12,04%. Na parte fiscal, a preocupação se volta para as discussões em torno do aumento do Auxílio Brasil, entre eles o vale-gás e vale caminhoneiro. 

O presidente Jair Bolsonaro (PL) defendeu publicamente, na última sexta-feira (24/6), o acréscimo de R$ 200 no Auxílio Brasil, programa social criado em substituição ao Bolsa Família. Se o aumento for definido pelo Congresso, chegará aos R$ 600. O governo quer que o novo valor vigore a partir de julho e siga até dezembro deste ano. A ideia do governo é turbinar o benefício em ano eleitoral e tornar o pagamento do auxílio mensal.

Na visão de Fábio Fernandes, Diretor de Comunicação da associação de consumidores Consumer Choice Center (Centro de Escolha do Consumidor) e Mestre em Relações Internacionais pela Universidade de Milão, uma das grandes causas da inflação alta no Brasil é o crescimento acelerado da base monetária para financiar gastos públicos excessivos.

“Desde o início do governo Bolsonaro, o Brasil ampliou seu agregado monetário em cerca de 70%. O Brasil cresceu sua base monetária de pouco mais de 350 mil milhões em 2019 para mais de 600 mil milhões em 2021, enquanto o PIB cresceu na média 0,6% durante o mesmo período”, explicou Fernandes

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