‘I exhausted my savings’: Inflation has Americans turning to loans, credit cards to cope.

USA TODAY:

Linda Hampton was already struggling to pay her credit card bills last year because of thousands of dollars in expenses from her notary business.

Then inflation began skyrocketing in mid-2021, especially gas, utility and grocery prices.

“I just started using my credit card for everything,” Hampton says, even for a combined electric, natural gas and water bill that has more than doubled since 2020 and hit $864 last month.

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At one point, Hampton, who earns about $36,000 a year as a property leasing manager in Memphis, Tennessee, saw her credit card debt surge to $22,000 and she was making more than $1,500 in monthly payments.

“That was very stressful,” she says. “A lot of times, I didn’t sleep….It was affecting my sleeping, my eating, my psyche.”

Consumer borrowing is surging as inflation hovers near 40-year highs and Americans resume pre-pandemic activities like traveling and dining out, posing risks for lower-income borrowers.

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