The costs of food, shelter and gas are on the rise. In fact, one in six American families are unable to pay their utility bills, according to a study by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association.
The reason why is two-fold.
First, Americans have seen their utility bills increase dramatically. NEADA executive director Mark Wolfe told FOX Weather on Thursday this is due to the rising cost of energy, along with record heat waves hitting many parts of the country.
"Families are using more electricity and that helps drive up the cost of cooling in the summer," noted Wolfe. "In other words, it's really a matter of both price and the use."
Secondly, essential expenses such as food are also on the rise — and it’s largely due to the rising energy costs.
According to Wolfe, energy is an underlying good for many essential purchases. When the price of food is determined, factors such as the cost of producing the food and then bringing it to the store are taken into account — essentially, energy touches virtually every stage of production.
"At the end of the day, two of the most important goods, cost of energy and the cost of food, have gone up very, very quickly in the last year," said Wolfe.
While American families cannot control the price of energy, Wolfe said they could control the amount they use and doing so will help bring down utility costs.
Here are a few of his recommendations:
If your family still struggles to afford the utility bill, consider these options: