Hate to be the bearer of what seems like constantly bad news for our financial straits right now, but there are several factors working against the hard working people of America right now. We used to be the land of golden opportunity, but that paradigm is slowly starting to shift thanks to a stagnant economy, rising cost of living expenses, and an awful housing market.
Gasoline prices have skyrocketed over the past few months, in many places topping five bucks a gallon. Here where I live in Northeastern Ohio, we’ve seen the gas prices go above $4 a few times, and right now they are just at about $4 a gallon. Gas reward credit cards are enjoying popularity now because of this.
Not only are gas prices high, but everyone is starting to notice cost of food basics going up too. You see it in your grocery bill, and just when you’re out shopping, that the food prices across the board pretty much have gone up.
Meat and dairy products are higher, and even staples like corn, wheat, flour, sugar and other basics that most people keep in their pantries are at an all time high right now. Commodities are really taking off, and it’s not boding well for the typical American consumer.
When my husband and I get takeout or go out to eat (which by the way, we rarely do, because I feel more and more as I get older that going out to eat is one of the biggest robbers of wealth there is), we notice that the portions of food are getting smaller, while the prices are getting higher.
We recently went to a lunch time buffet and spent a lot more than we would have just a few years ago for a lunch for two. That’s at a standard, nothing-fancy buffet. Even fast food has gone up thanks to the rise in basic food and commodity prices.
The average American is spending more on the basic needs for life, and they have less disposable income to spend on things that actually propel the economy, like clothes, fun things, and services that are more affordable when the cost of living is lower across the board.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that everyone will only buy things now when it is a total, ridiculously dirt cheap bargain. This includes, unfortunately, homes, which people are having a hard time selling because there are so many foreclosures on the market right now.
These factors, combined with inflation in the cost of living, are going to be incredibly challenging for us to overcome over the next several months or even years.