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Everything We Buy Costs More

Poll QuestionMore dollars are flowing out of our wallets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re splurging.

A new Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans are spending more than they did a year ago, predominantly on household essentials.

And yet the Federal Reserve insists inflation is just a figment of our imaginations.

Topping the list of higher expense categories are groceries, with 59% of all Americans reporting spending more for food.

Gasoline was a close second at 58%. Only 12% said they spent less, and 27% the same.

Rounding out the top 10:

  • Utilities (45%)
  • Health care (42%)
  • Household goods like toilet paper and cleaning supplies (32%)
  • Rent or mortgage (32%)
  • Personal care items like toothpaste and makeup (26%)
  • Cable or satellite TV (33%)
  • Home maintenance (32%)

The first four aside, we’re not sure everything on this list qualifies as “essential.”

And while it can be tough, it’s not impossible to tighten the belt buckle on the first three.

Plan meals around deals; walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving; turn off lights when you’re not in the room, open windows when you’re warm or grab a sweater when you’re cold.

Really, we’re not being patronizing.

We know prices have legitimately increased on these items. But we’ve also noticed a somewhat lackadaisical approach to money creeping in post-recession.

Chipping away a dollar here and there on basic essentials can add up and leave more money for savings or even a luxury or two.

Because let’s face it, a couple of items in the top 10 are simply not essential or could easily be trimmed.

Yes, we’re talking about cable.

What say you?

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Where have you seen the greatest increase in your spending over the past year?
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