What has inflation forced you to give up this summer?

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When we asked you to share how inflation had disrupted your plans heading into the summer, we expected to hear about struggles with things like gas, groceries and vacations. But we also heard something else. Many of you vented your frustration that the world was opening back up and people were being pushed to return to “normal” — to gather and connect — but you literally cannot afford to do so. The common answer to our question of “What are you giving up?” was essentially: seeing family and friends. After two years of social isolation, this moment of separation feels especially hard.

Making this high-inflation experience — an unwelcome novelty to anyone under 40 — particularly disheartening is that we seem to be caught in unstoppable economic trends. The pandemic’s unending freight costs, congested ports and labor shortages are being greeted by a war in Ukraine that’s pushed global oil, fertilizer and food prices further up. The Federal Reserve System, trying to stave off the worst of inflation, is jacking up interest rates so mortgages and other loans become costlier.

The good news is that, should the Fed succeed in cooling off the economy or should pressure from any of the other big pieces of the puzzle ease (as is starting to happen with fuel prices), we’ll feel some letup for pretty much anything we consume. And each category of costs has other glimmers of hope for relief.

Until then, as Ellen H. of Bradenton, Florida, sadly put it, “The last three years have been a nightmare I could never have envisioned in spite of decades of saving and budgeting.” We are still waiting to see how the country wakes up from this ordeal — and when we’ll be able to reunite with those we’ve been missing. 



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