Two-thirds of Americans think inflation will get worse this year — prompting many to slash their savings while cutting back on going out to eat and finding ways to avoid driving, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The national survey of more than 1,000 adults in late April and early May found that 66% expect the prices of essential goods and services to increase in the next year, the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, just 21% said they expected the cost of everyday items like gas and groceries to go down, while 12% said they expected inflation to stay about the same, according to the poll conducted by the newspaper along with George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.
To that end, 59% said they’ve minimized using electricity when possible, while 77% reported spending less on entertainment or dining out. Another 59% said they drove less as a result of rising gas prices or cut back on money deposited into their savings accounts.
As inflation nears 40-year highs, 37% of respondents said the country’s economy has been a “major financial stress” on their household, compared to 50% who characterized it as minor. Just 13% said they were not dealing with money woes, the poll found.
Americans are also hunting for bargains — with 87% saying they’ve made more of an effort to find the cheapest prices for products, compared to 12% who said they weren’t scanning for deals.
And 27% of those polled said the lagging economy and rising inflation had forced them to take a second job or work additional hours, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of four percentage points.
“We’re cutting back on everything – and I mean everything,” Bethany Davis, 20, of Barbourville, Kentucky, told the newspaper. “Gas, meat, bread, it’s all expensive as hell. One moment you think you can afford to buy something, then you go to the store and it’s like, ‘Nope, can’t get that anymore either.’”
Davis has even resorted to cutting back on showers and laundry amid overall prices that have risen 8.3% in the past year, the Washington Post reported.
The poll comes just days after another survey found that 83% of Americans think the state of the economy is bleak under President Biden, describing it as “poor” or “not so good.”
Another 35% said they weren’t satisfied at all with their personal coffers – the highest level of dissatisfaction in 50 years, according to the Wall Street Journal-NORC survey.
Biden, for his part, outlined his plan to tackle inflation in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed while insisting families have “increased their savings and have less debt” since he took office.
Biden said on May 30 he planned to address rising inflation by reducing the federal deficit and cutting costs of everyday goods by “fixing broken supply chains,” improving infrastructure and cracking down on fees imposed by foreign ocean freight companies.
“The economic policy choices we make today will determine whether a sustained recovery that benefits all Americans is possible,” Biden wrote. “I will work with anyone — Democrat, Republican, or independent — willing to have an open and honest discussion that delivers real solutions for the American people.”