National survey shows where Americans are making cuts amid inflation

·2 min read

Story at a glance

  • Respondents said they’ve quit smoking cigarettes, started shopping at discount stores and have taken on side jobs to bolster their income.

  • Others say they have canceled vacations, visited family less frequently or have postponed or delayed travel until the price of gas drops.

  • Some respondents polled in the survey revealed they have had to make much more substantial cutbacks as they feel the financial pinch, saying they have had to skip meals, conserve water and eliminate meat from their diets.

Americans are tightening their belts as the price of gas, food and most other goods and services hit a 40-year high.

A new survey from New Jersey-based financial institution Provident Bank suggests Americans are cutting back on non-essential purchases such as dining out and leisure travel as they are now paying significantly more each month for essential items due to soaring inflation.

The survey of 600 adults found more than 10 percent of respondents have cut out all non-essential purchases while more than 70 percent said they made at least some changes to their travel plans.

Respondents said they’ve quit smoking cigarettes, started shopping at discount stores and have taken on side jobs to bolster their income. Others say they have canceled vacations, visited family less frequently or have postponed or delayed travel until the price of gas drops.

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Some respondents polled in the survey revealed they have had to make much more substantial cutbacks as they feel the financial pinch, saying they have had to skip meals, conserve water and eliminate meat from their diets. Close to half, 46 percent, said they are using credit cards more or “much more” frequently on routine purchases compared to 2021.

The poll found consumers said price increases on gas, groceries, clothing, meat and utilities hurt their wallet the most. Gas prices increased 4.1 percent last month and are nearly 50 percent higher than they were in May 2021, while food prices increased 1.2 percent last month alone and just over 10 percent over the past year.

While the current average price of gas in the U.S. is just under $5 a gallon, the survey found 32 percent of drivers are spending between $100 and $250 more per month to fuel up, and 13.5 percent are spending an additional $250 to $500.

The annual inflation rate increased from 8.3 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May. May’s annual inflation marked the fastest yearly increase in prices since inflation hit 8.9 percent in December 1981.

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