Pizza night CANCELLED. Families cut back on essentials and luxuries while inflation rises
Families across America are cutting back on everything from summer vacations to restaurant treats and trips to the hair salon while they fight at their highest inflation Prices for 40 years and penalty prices at gas pumps and checkouts in grocery stores.
DailyMail.com spoke to households across the country to find out how they were coping with 9.1 percent inflation – and the rising cost of grain, meat, transport and even higher gas prices.
A Maryland family of five has canceled pizza joint trips, a New Jersey couple is missing out on their monthly filet mignon treat, and an Idaho family of four plans to raise chickens and leaves their SUV idling in the driveway. Meanwhile, a Californian couple vacationed with relatives on the East Coast this year rather than taking another trip to Spain.
Some blamed the President’s administration Joe Biden for runaway inflation. Others pointed to the slowdown Coronavirus Pandemic, supply chain Snarls and fighting in Ukraine are shaking the global economy.
With another rate hike imminent, more than three-quarters of Americans expect according to a opinion poll from the financial services company Primerica.
Nearly three-quarters are cutting restaurants and takeout, about half are reducing groceries and 42 percent are deferring their retirement plans, according to the study of 1,384 adults with household incomes between $30,000 and $100,000.
Here’s how families across America are dealing with the crisis:
Gas prices are making away-game softball trips too expensive for 18-year-old Idaho twins
Jennifer Liebrum’s family has had to cut back on their long drives across Idaho, which means away softball games are in the rearview mirror for 18-year-old twins Devon and Gracie
Jennifer Liebrum, 56, of Bellevue, Idaho, who works with special needs children, and husband Tyler Peterson, 51, a farrier, used to enjoy driving their 18-year-old twin daughters Devon and Gracie to softball games around the area.
Sporty vacation trips came to an end when the cost of a full tank of gas shot up from $70 to $160. Her household income is $50,000 to $100,000.
“They canceled the team because we’re not the only ones in this predicament,” said Liebrum.
An SUV is now idling in the driveway. The family is increasingly walking and cycling to “get through this crisis,” she added.
Grocery used to cost $100 a week, but two-day delivery recently cost $170 — prices that made Liebrum feel like “walking into a jewelry store.”
Even driving 60 miles to the nearest Costco to buy cheaper products no longer made sense given gas prices.
“We’re thinking about getting chickens again, which I hate,” she joked.
“We prepared to bring two girls into life. And now those savings are there to survive.”
They are the sixth generation to live in the valley and are “part of the pioneering group that founded this place,” says Liebrum.
Billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates land in the area each year in private jets for the nearby Sun Valley Conference, a networking extravaganza for tech and media moguls.
Filet mignon treats for the New Jersey family once a month
New Jersey’s Thomas Crowell’s family is struggling with inflation and the couple’s retirement plans have been postponed, but the wedding of son Connor, 25, at the end of the year is a highlight on the calendar
Thomas Crowell, 58, a social worker from Forked River, New Jersey, says he’s reduced “splurges,” like the tasty filet mignon skewers he and his wife Chris, 57, an administration manager, enjoy each month.
Even by avoiding meat and poultry, weekly grocery bills have skyrocketed from $250 to “well over” $300, and filling gas tanks has skyrocketed from $45 to $70, Crowell said. Household income is between $100,000 and $150,000.
Their son Jack, 21, lives at home but Connor, 25, has moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and is getting married later this year.
The Florida and Caribbean vacations the family previously enjoyed are in the rearview mirror.
“We went to mom-and-pop restaurants three times a week, so we cut back on that,” Crowell said.
Worse, the couple’s retirement savings have been “eaten up” as stock values have been “ripped off,” Crowell said.
“We don’t know how long or deep this recession will last,” he said.
“When can we retire?”
The country is “paying the price” for early overspending in the Biden administration, he added.
A Californian couple swaps European vacations for East Coast relatives
Megan Aaron, 36, is struggling with the cost of gas, food and childcare for daughter Harper, two, but says the family is still “lucky” to be able to pay their rent and put food on the table
Megan Aaron, 36, a theater worker from Los Angeles, California, husband Tim, 43, a paralegal, and daughter Harper, two, didn’t have an expensive vacation to Spain or Mexico this year.
Instead, the family vacation led to a relative in Massachusetts.
Weekly grocery bills have skyrocketed from $170 to $220, and California’s gas prices are among the highest in the country.
Day care for Harper at $1,400 a month takes up a large chunk of the $100,000-$150,000 household income.
In order to make ends meet, Aaron is more careful with leftover recycling. She visits her hairstylist less often and has reverted to her natural brunette locks without highlights to save money.
“It was really challenging,” Aaron said.
“Leaving out the luxurious things we just can’t do anymore.”
Downsizing to a car is a “logistical challenge,” she added, but the bigger problem is that the unstable economy is making it harder to buy a home and plan for the future.
“We are very lucky that we can afford the rent, the day care center and the big expenses. We’re not afraid of being homeless or not being able to put food on the table,” she said.
“But it makes our life a little more uncomfortable.”
Pizza trips come to an end as the Maryland family tightens their belts for months
Summer camp has been canceled this year for 11-year-old twins Daniella and Natalya Neubauer and their family. Instead of jetting overseas for the summer vacation, the Neubauers spent a week on the Delaware coast
For Sigurd Neubauer, 41, family trips to the pizzeria were the first victim of the financial crisis online publisher from Maryland, his wife Hannah, 45, a doctor, their 11-year-old twins Daniella and Natalya, and son Cyrus, four.
The twins have had to skip summer camp this year because prices have “skyrocketed,” Neubauer said. Household income is $100,000 to $150,000.
The average storage cost has more than doubled from about $76 last year to $178 a day — putting it out of reach for many Americans.
International travel was in lockdown this year and the summer vacation consisted of a week on the beaches of Delaware.
The father of three skips his morning visits to Starbucks and instead brews coffee at home.
Mom and Dad both drive hybrid cars, which means a full tank only went from about $25 to $40.
While restaurants were reduced, the family focused on healthy activities like tennis and swimming.
“This economy will accompany us for a long time to come,” said Neubauer.
He blames inflation on geopolitics and the rise in global food prices and other “structural issues that every American president would have to grapple with.”
US inflation rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and better than economists had forecast
President Joe Biden (pictured in Israel on Wednesday) called rising inflation “unacceptably high” but said prices were falling and tackling inflation was now his top priority