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Americans Are Spending More on Some Things During the Pandemic

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about interesting things.

(Photo via seriouseats)

(Photo via seriouseats)

Because more people have been working from home during the pandemic, they are saving money on transportation, car maintenance, buying lunch at work, and taking frequent trips to the vending machines. They are also saving money on buying new clothes to wear to work and to church as well as saving on dry cleaning services. Many families are not spending money on vacations and entertainment as they have done in the past.

It is true some households are saving money on transportation and vehicle maintenance while working from home and no longer traveling to and from work at least five days a week. Working from home means cooking and eating more food, using more electricity, toilet tissues, paper towels, and other household products. In other words, while families are spending less in some areas, they are also spending more in other areas.

Below are just a few things people are spending more money on during the pandemic.

Food Prices

People don't need the Consumer Price Index data to show that food prices rose over the last year, and are still rising. That's because they know it from going to local grocery stores themselves. Grocery items tracked by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that prices rose by at least 3% last month.

Meats have increased to the point that some people might consider becoming vegetarians. Beef and veal increased to 4.8% in just one month and 17.6% in just one year. Bacon and breakfast sausage rose to 10.7% during the last year. The price of chicken increased by 9.4% because some plants closed entirely or have limited workers. Then there are shipping costs to take into account.

Breakfast cereal rose by 5.9% because adults were working from home and children were also educated virtually. So, instead of the entire family being home for all meals only on the weekends, everyone has been home seven days a week and eating their meals there.

Flour rose to a 4.5% increase. It was the highest increase since 2010. People were home more often and had time to bake their favorite desserts and teach their children to do the same. Therefore, people have been purchasing flour and flour mixes more than usual.

Bread and crackers increased by 3.1% from August to September. That is a 7.1% increase from one year ago. It is the largest increase since 2012.

Peanut butter is a staple in most households. The price had declined for seven years before COVID-19. In just a few months, the price increased to 7.9%. Over a year, peanut butter rose to a 10.7% increase. That is the largest increase since 2012.

Prepared salads increased to 4.2% from August to September. That is a 6.8% increase from a year ago and is the highest increase ever on record.

Apples saw a 7.8% increase in just one year. That is the biggest increase since August 2016.

(Photo via Amazon.com)

(Photo via Amazon.com)


Breakfast cereal rose by 5.9% because adults were working from home and children were also educated virtually at home.

Flour rose to a 4.5% increase. It was the highest increase since 2010. People were home more often and had time to bake their favorite desserts and teach their children to do the same. Therefore, people were purchasing more flour and flour mixes than usual.

Bread and crackers increased by 3.1% from August to September. That is a 7.1% increase from one year ago. That is the largest increase since 2012.

Peanut butter is a staple in most households. The price had declined for seven years before COVID-19. In just a few months, the price increased to 7.9%. Over a year, peanut butter rose to a 10.7% increase. That is the largest increase since 2012.

Prepared salads increase to 4.2% from August to September. That is a 6.8% increase from a year ago. That is the highest increase ever on record.

Apples saw a 7.8% increase in just one year. That is the biggest increase since August 2016.

(Photo via NBC-12)

(Photo via NBC-12)

Gasoline

The highest increase in some household budgets is for food because families are preparing more food than usual. However, food is not the only thing that has increased during the pandemic.

The pandemic is still going on,- and some people are still working from home, yet gasoline prices have increased 49.6% over the last 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the beginning of the pandemic, the cost of unleaded gasoline was only $1.85 a gallon. Today, the same type of gasoline is averaging $3.01 per gallon, according to AAA.

Rental Cars and Used Cars

At the beginning of the pandemic, many rental car companies sold most of their cars to raise cash to stay in business. Now that travel has picked up, there is a greater demand for rental vehicles. The cost to rent a vehicle today has increased to 82% over what it was over last year. The increase is because it is much harder for rental car companies to restock those cars they sold earlier.

Car rental companies cannot get vehicles because of a shortage of computer chips needed to manufacture new cars. Not only is there a limited number of rental cars available, but there is also a price increase in used cars since 1953.

Lumber

It is strange that the pandemic affected the price of so many things. For instance, the National Association of Homebuilders reports that lumber prices tripled in the past year.

The shortage of trees is not because they had stopped growing. Lumber increased in price because of limited production at lumber mills.

Pets and Pets Supplies

The cost of owning a pet is an expense that a lot of households did not have before the pandemic. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that one in five households purchased a pet during the pandemic.

Pets need medical services, food, and supplies to keep them happy. Those are expenses people didn't have before they became pet owners. Therefore, the care of pets has is now included in their budgets. For example, it takes between $500 to $1,000 per year to own a dog and more than $600 a year to own a cat.

Reasons for Increased Prices

Consumers should understand that increases in products do not depend only on the product itself. Even something as small as an apple had to be picked by someone, shipped to the store, and stocked by someone in the store to get it ready to be bought. Therefore, the increase of apples and other products must be passed on to consumers.

Resources

Grocery Items That Are Now More Costly

10 Things You Buy Are Getting More Expensive

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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