It’s a real kick in your pocket.
Yesterday it was reported that inflation rose 8.3% in August, adding to an already bleak financial landscape.
Sure, gas prices have dropped slightly, but the cost of food, housing and other essentials remains skyrocketing. Across the country, Americans are struggling to get by and find themselves having to pinch pennies.
“You want to be able to raise your child in a society where you can give them the best and provide them with the best,” said Briana Howard, a 34-year-old healthcare worker living in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Ken. Howard and 8-year-old daughter.
Here, she and four Americans reveal how record inflation is devastating their families and their futures.
By cutting coupons
Briana and Ken Howard make a total of $ 100,000 a year, but they’re cutting coupons and cutting down on luxuries. The family’s annual trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina cost $ 700 more this summer than last, due to rising costs for rental properties and restaurants in the area. Daughter’s summer camp cost $ 300 more this year, and an inconvenient car repair set the family back another $ 1,000. And people are spending less on home repairs, cutting Ken’s roofing business. Briana said they have to look at pennies in a way they never did a few years ago.
“We are the typical middle-income American family,” he told the Post. “We’re more careful at the grocery store … It’s like, ‘What do we have a coupon for?’ Without thinking I took a $ 10 packet of grapes, it’s not something I can continue to do.
Sky-high insurance premiums
Rob Abiuso, 55, a Long Island-based attorney, enjoyed dinners twice a week at the local steakhouse. Not anymore. These days, he just works to get by, and eating out means going to a modest dinner.
“The diners have become my luxuries,” she said. “There’s really no excess income anymore. There are really no more savings. I pray that all this will be reversed ”.
The cost of his home and car insurance was a killer, and they have gone up by about 20%, he estimates.
“I make a good living, but I said, ‘Why don’t I have any money in the bank?’ Eventually I started poking around in my insurance policies, “Abiuso told The Post.” I’m paying $ 11,500 in insurance for my home and cars – tell me if that’s crazy. ”
Survive with the economic takeaway
Actor / comedian Gary DeNoia worked extensively in bars to make ends meet, so he was financially devastated by the pandemic. He lost his job in a restaurant and “a lot of performing opportunities obviously disappeared,” he told The Post.
Initially, the Jersey City resident found a cheaper apartment to reduce some of the tension. He collected unemployment and “learned to be more enterprising”. The 38-year-old is now back to work in restaurants and feels he is making strides to get himself out of the financial hole, but inflation and rent increases have made it difficult.
“People have told me that I have lost weight, but I can’t afford groceries,” she said. “I used to go shopping and plan meals for the week. But [now] a Fage yogurt costs $ 10. A bag of Doritos costs $ 7. It’s cheaper to eat takeaway … I’ve never eaten so much Chinese takeaway because the special lunch will last me three days. ”
He also had to cut down on how much he feeds his beloved cats.
“A can of cat food was like 60 cents a can,” he said. “Now the cheapest cost $ 1.20”.
DeNoia’s rent has now risen as has his electricity bill, which he says will take him over a year to pay off. “I have priority in paying the rent. I always think, ‘What can I get by without paying today?’ I would prefer PSE & G to be mad at me rather than my landlord.
The comedian, who has a knack for imitations, saw a recent upside: Ray Liotta’s demand for voiceovers and consequently extra cash flow.
He said: “You’d be surprised how many rappers want Ray Liotta’s voice on their album.”
Can’t afford a home
A few years ago, 28-year-old Delaney Claycomb made $ 11 an hour working at Disneyworld and SeaWorld. She lived with a roommate and “floated”. Now Claycomb is married and makes about $ 46,000 in tips from running a tuxedo rental shop outside Atlanta. But he feels like he’s sinking.
“I don’t feel like I’m earning more even though my salary is about two and a half times what it was three years ago. It’s crazy, ”Claycomb told The Post, blaming inflation, credit card interest rates and rising house costs.
Her husband Dustin works in a warehouse and the couple dreams of buying a house, but much of his salary is consumed by health insurance premiums and union dues.
“Together we are making $ 75,000. It’s more than what my parents have done in my entire life, ”she said while noting that her parents bought their home near Atlanta in 1998 for $ 98,000.
“Now, in this area, you can’t even find a broken trailer for that price. This isn’t Los Angeles, “she said.” I just want to live in Buford, Georgia.
Claycomb said she was burdened with a $ 1,600 monthly rent and credit card debt over a medical problem. Her husband Dustin is working overtime just to earn extra money.
“We looked at the apartments near my work so that I didn’t have to drive 30 or 40 miles a day, but we couldn’t afford it. We have the cheapest apartment we could find, “she said.” We would like to have a child, buy a house and a yard, but we have to postpone. ”
Hakeem Joseph, 33, moved his family from Queens to Atlanta three years ago in search of a lower cost of living. But he’s not short enough. Before the pandemic, his $ 85,000 per year salary as a truck driver would have been more like $ 100,000, he said. Now, he struggles to juggle food costs and energy bills. They can’t afford daycare, so Joseph’s wife Annik stays at home with their 2 and 3-year-olds.
“I see my electricity bill at over $ 300 a month when it was $ 200,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m using more AC than I did last year.”
Additionally, he said he’s spending $ 500 a month on food and getting fewer than two shopping carts full of groceries.
“It’s all going well,” he told The Post. “A haircut was $ 20, now these guys want $ 45 for a haircut. I’m like, ‘I’ll cut my hair myself.’ ”