A recession is in sight, and prices for everything from eggs to gas have risen in the past months. Most people are not able to afford the effects of rising inflation. Minimum wages may rise too, but increasing prices cancel out that growth.
One of the main items people have noticed an alarming rise in cost for are eggs. They are in high demand, but with the current shortage, a carton of 12 may cost consumers up to $4, with the average in November being $3.59. Many dishes require eggs and since these prices are up almost $2 from last year, some people have had to make due without basic staples in their pantries.
It’s not just eggs either. Butter is expensive as well, which is a staple in households, and the highest prices I’ve seen are almost $5 for four sticks. It doesn’t stop there – milk, cheese and other household products that people need to feed their families are also more expensive than ever before.
The prices of food have gone up so dramatically in the past few years, which now makes a 10 to 15 item shopping trip cost, at minimum, $100, and those items barely last more than one week. Grocery prices, as of November 2022, are up 12%. The issue present is the price increases on top of other bills people have to pay are resulting in a lot of people in this country failing to feed and support their families and/or themselves.
Aside from food, the housing market has also seen some of its highest prices since before the pandemic hit. Reports say that rent prices will only go up this new year, and may not go back to the way they were before the pandemic. Along with the housing shortage, people are having a tough time finding housing for themselves, and even with roommates, rent is not enough for people with minimum wage jobs to afford.
For myself, my minimum wage job wouldn’t cover the cost of rent even with a roommate, or if I could make it stretch that far, it would not leave me anything left over to cover my other bills. As a 21-year-old woman, I still live at home, and this makes it easier for me to pay my other bills, such as my car insurance, without worrying about making rent. As of December 2021, 47% of young adults still lived with their parents. Most of us want to be able to move out, but many of us do not, even after graduating college, and this is because rent is too expensive for most to afford.
How does this affect college students? Greatly so. As tuition is also on the rise, many students can’t afford it and worry about being able to still attend school. The fact of the matter is that without a college degree, only minimum wage jobs that don’t always pay the bills is all that one can get without a degree. It all comes down to money, and inflation is making it increasingly difficult for students to get the education they deserve.
Loans are a great resource so a student can make it through college and pay towards these loans, but they can last years, with many people making payments well into their adult life. Textbooks are expensive, as is getting materials for classes. They range from below a hundred to a few hundred dollars, which most college students will have trouble affording.
For me personally, my textbooks are costing me almost $300 – the most they’ve ever been, and is more than I make in a week at my day job. That being said, other college students may only work part time or not work at all, possibly affecting them even more. Considering the many other bills that they have to pay, sometimes students forgo their necessary textbooks and materials needed in order to pass their classes.
One way that students can strive to remedy their financial struggles in this tough time is creating a budget that is realistic. Think about what is typically spent on food, entertainment and bills for a week and make sure these amounts will still work for a new budget. If they don’t, work around this and only use what is needed for each area where you spend money on a weekly basis. Think about wants versus needs which can help spend less, creating a more effective budget. If you know you don’t need something, strive not to spend the money on it, especially if it’s not in the budget or you can’t afford it that week.
If you are unsure of where to start your budgeting,these free websites can help. There is also the option of writing down your budget every week or every month. You can find budget planners online or in stores such as Staples and Walmart, or you can create your own. Learning how to budget is a great tool, especially during these times where inflation is only getting worse.