California; Hayward — Every time I walk into a grocery store, the price tag on various essential items keeps on rising. It’s getting to the point where I find myself actually weighing my fruits and vegetables. When one starts making sure they can afford tomatoes, you know that inflation is hitting differently.
Inflation has always been a part of our day to day lives. Things become less valuable as a result of more money being in circulation. Things like fuel prices and food prices are typically where we notice inflation’s effect the most. Lately, the effect has been significantly more noticeable as the cost of goods such as fuel and food keeps on increasing. It’s becoming a task to keep up with the price hikes in just about everything. It’s not like wages are increasing so much that it warrants a $20 meal from just about any average take-out restaurant.
I wasn’t even able to notice the effects of severe inflation in the past because I was still a high school student the last time inflation was a problem. I finally understand the feeling my parents felt whenever they would express frustration with gas prices going from $2 per gallon to $3 within a few weeks. Having to spend almost $100 every time filling up a tank drains my bank account and my soul.
Others are also feeling this inflation effect.
UC Berkeley student Isabella Nunez said the inflation has changed how she purchases groceries, “I notice my EBT balance dropping quicker than usual. I used to have a lot more left over. Lately, my balance has been hitting zero,” the 21-year-old said.
Some college students who are between 18 and 49 and are enrolled half-time or more in a course of study that requires a high school diploma (HiSET) or GED may qualify for SNAP benefits. “It’s scary to see how expensive something like food has become,” the third year student said. These sentiments are becoming common as a result of the rapidly rising grocery costs in the United States.
The inflation we’re seeing today is related to so many things around the world as well as in the U.S. Ultimately, the most common explanation surrounding the inflation here is that a lot of money was printed from thin air to offset the harm from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s obviously not the only thing that contributes to inflation, but it’s the biggest thing in recent memory that a lot of people were worried about when trillions of dollars were added to the money supply.
My hope is that the price of things I consume daily stay the same for a lot longer. As a college student balancing two different jobs, I could use a break from spending $80 a week on groceries when it used to be half the cost not too long ago.
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods; Audio version edited by Amber Ly