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63% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck amid high inflation

We are all drowning amid the sorrows of a possible recession. With the inflation hitting industry across the US, many are struggling.

Person holding money representing increasing inflation

Money has been tight for everyone. This has been an ongoing theme for the last year. With COVID dwindling down, we are facing a new crisis: lack of money. For some, living paycheck-to-paycheck is nothing new, but the majority of workers weren’t necessarily living paycheck-to-paycheck until recently. We are now seeing 63% of Americans facing this plight because of inflation.

Some may think just because gas prices have returned to a somewhat normal range that inflation is over. Not at all – the general consumer is still “bleeding” money at every turn.

Utility prices have skyrocketed recently being 7.5% up from last year with a projected 3.3% increase into next year. That alone has caused Americans to go into debt making them unable to pay other bills like car loans and mortgage payments. The housing market has been on a constant roller coaster ride between the cost of a home and the consistent yearly rent price hikes many are unable to afford.

Let’s say your family is unaffected by the above inflation issues, but you have a baby and need to go back to work soon. If you don’t have a family to help you, expect to pay close to $800 a month for daycare. 51% of parents say they spend 20% of their income on child care alone in 2022. If you decide to stay by having a one-income household, living comfortably is quickly becoming a thing of the past. No matter what direction Americans are going in, their wallets are emptying at a rapid pace.

When those wallets start to feel light, we all panic. We have all heard of the whole “hustle & grind” solution to our money issues. You’d see this often on Linkedin or TikTok, and even business pages on Facebook. It’s the belief that you’re simply not working hard enough and the fact you can’t afford things is on you.

That is absolute bull. Inflation is affecting everyone.

No matter how hard you work there is still potential for you to experience money troubles. You can work 18 hours a day and not even stop to have lunch or dinner and still be struggling from client to client to pay your bills.

CNBC noted that “those earning more than six figures, 47% reported living paycheck to paycheck, a jump from the previous month’s 43%”. Even those in the office 12 hours a day are just surviving from one check to the next. All it serves to do is burn Americans out quicker, which will really affect you at the end of the day.

Amongst the panic, people are looking for side hustles as well. Side hustles are great for the little bit of extra padding you get especially around the holidays. It lets you take a step back and breathe. Not for long though, as your normal 9-5 coupled with your side gig can be tiring. Saving is nearly impossible, even with two side gigs.

A lot of Americans are falling into the trap of learning “how to make money fast” from people charging exorbitantly to teach them a skill or how to open an online business. Many of the markets like drop shipping, digital products, and becoming content creators are over-saturated anyways.

By the time someone realizes the hard-earned money they thought they could make has now put them in a chokehold, how do they pay for food or transportation to their regular job?

Well, we may opt to get a credit card in the meantime. Currently, the rise of credit card balances is up 15% which is the largest hike in the last 20 years. While someone may be paying off their credit card, they can’t save a dime. Again, making inflation a challenge for all of us as we try to make sense of how our spending is outpacing our earnings.

No one person is alone in this. Not only are you being affected but your neighbor is too. Maybe your mom or brother. Even your clients are probably struggling.

Because we are going through it, this would be a prime time to show some humanity to each other. Remember that this is a land of opportunity but also a land we have built to be a land of neighbors. I’m not saying fork over all your money to Billy or Trish down the hall so they can grab a beer BUT I am saying if you see the person in front of you in the grocery line with her kids being a few bucks short, help them out if you’re able.

If the tables were turned you’d appreciate it. I think we all would.

A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.

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