Freezing Thanksgiving Pies and Boiling Beans: How Americans Cope with Rising Prices



Although Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, Travis Moffatt and his fiancee Britnie Walston have already bought three apple pies for their family dinner and put them in the freezer.

Although Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, Travis Moffatt and his fiancee Britnie Walston have already bought three apple pies for their family dinner and put them in the freezer.

The Baltimore couple wanted to make sure they could get dessert before grocery store prices went up further or the pies disappeared from the supermarket. They pay $ 5 for almond milk and $ 7 for cereal, each up $ 2 in recent weeks, and spend more on eggs, water, juice, broccoli, dinners frozen foods and other items.

Moffatt, 32, is feeling the pinch in consumer price inflation, which has climbed 6.2% in the past 12 months, the biggest increase in more than 30 years. Unemployed since the start of the pandemic, he receives $ 250 a month in food stamps.

“This is going quickly because of the rising cost of groceries,” said Moffatt, who this week landed an offer for contract employment helping small businesses apply for federal loans.

Americans across the country are grappling with soaring inflation, especially for gas, fuel oil, new and used vehicles, and food. Higher prices eat away at wage increases and annual cost-of-living adjustments for social security benefits and food stamps.

Although employers have raised wages in hopes of filling their multitude of open positions, workers are in fact worse off than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Inflation-adjusted compensation has fallen 0.6% since December 2019, said Jason Furman, a non-resident senior researcher at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, citing the latest federal data on the cost index of the ‘use.

Rising prices are also undermining consumer confidence. They expressed greater uncertainty about the rate of inflation for the coming year than at any time in nearly 40 years, according to the University of Michigan’s October consumer confidence survey.. This concern helped offset the positive impact of higher income expectations and the decline in the pandemic.

Additionally, a drop in living standards due to rising inflation was spontaneously mentioned by 1 in 5 households, especially older and poorest Americans, according to the survey.

“Right now people are unhappy and inflation is the reason,” said Josh Bivens, research director at the Left Institute for Economic Policy, who believes price hikes will moderate next year. .

For those who live on a fixed income, the rise in prices is particularly difficult to manage. Sharon Henderson, 69, has turned to YouTube to learn how to shop and cook more economically since she and her husband, Paul, rely on social security and a small pension. Their grocery bill has climbed to about $ 300 per visit, down from the roughly $ 200 it was before the pandemic.

Henderson, who lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, started boiling beans and making his own burritos, instead of buying the frozen ones at the supermarket. She cooks casseroles and buys less organic frozen food from Safeway.

The Hendersons’ daily trips to their local cafe for a cup of coffee, a sandwich and a treat are reduced to three times a week. The price of coffee has risen by 60 cents in recent months, she said.

The couple also had to slow down remodeling their manufactured home after lumber prices jumped from $ 10 to $ 97 for a sheet of plywood earlier this year. They have resumed work since the prices fell. A sheet now costs $ 14.

“It’s a lot of nickel and gradation, but those nickels and dimes add up,” said Henderson, who worked as a graphic designer until she lost her job last fall. “It’s scary. We have a little bit of savings and I’m afraid this will all go away.

Higher prices for other building materials, along with supply shortages, make it harder for Wally Izzard, a union roofer, to find jobs. The Columbia, Missouri resident has only worked sporadically since late summer.

At the same time, gasoline prices have skyrocketed, so it has cut back on non-essential travel. He doesn’t know the next time he’ll make the 10-hour drive to see his family in Colorado.

Izzard, 42, refueled his 2017 Hyundai Sonata this week and was surprised to see it cost $ 40, even though he still had a quarter of a tank of gas.

“Normally, if I put in $ 40, I go back and get change or put it back on my card,” he said. “I wasn’t even empty. It’s crazy.”


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