Inflation Report

Survey Shows Americans Are Buying Fewer Clothes, Groceries, And More

A survey shows which items Americans are cutting from their budgets amid rising costs due to inflation.

African American Man Doing Grocery Shopping In Supermarket, Wearing Protective Face Mask, Buying Foo...

For the first time in many months, July saw a drop in inflation rates — signaling a potential turning of the corner on record inflation. But just because inflation month to month is down, that doesn’t mean inflation isn’t bad — right now it’s at about 8.5% year-over-year (YOY), down from 9.1% in June. The welcome decrease has been tied to lowering gasoline prices and a slight increase in overall wages. However, food and housing inflation continue to rise, and families have had to make changes to stay afloat.

The inflation rate rise over the past few months has been hard for families. Economists have pointed out that the average U.S. household will be forced to spend $433 more a month for the same things they bought in 2021. That equates to approximately $5,200 more in annual expenses — but wages haven’t increased enough to make up that deficit, so families have had to make challenging budget decisions. A survey by OnePoll on behalf of Forbes Advisor shows which items Americans are cutting from their budgets amid rising costs.

OnePoll surveyed 2,005 Americans between Aug. 2 and 5 to determine how people manage their budget and which items they prioritize. This includes budget changes for living essentials such as food, clothing, and transportation.

With food prices rising, over half of respondents said they are buying fewer non-essential groceries. At the same time, 39% admit to buying fewer groceries overall. To stretch the budget while still feeding their families, 46% said they use more leftovers, and 49% said they cooked more meals at home instead of ordering takeout. The most significant change was dining out, with 62% of respondents saying they’re going out to dinner less frequently.

Other findings from the survey show budgets are also being hit outside of the grocery store. For example, 40% of respondents said they’re buying fewer clothes, 39% have reduced leisure activities such as going to the movies or concerts, and 20% said they canceled TV streaming services.

“Our survey shows the real-world impact of inflation: it cripples spending, it takes a while to get it under control, and attempting to do so can bring the economy to a crashing halt,” according to Forbes Advisor.

Experts aren’t sure when inflation rates will drop enough to have less strain on our pocketbooks. However, another survey on how Americans handle inflation and rising costs found that more than one-third of U.S adults are tapping their savings accounts to help offset the rising costs, per CNBC.