Americans at the low end of the income rung are once again struggling to make ends meet.
A confluence of factors — the expiration of federal stimulus checks and surging inflation on staples like gas and food — are driving an even bigger wedge between the haves and have-nots.
While wealthier shoppers continue to splurge, low-income shoppers have pulled back faster than expected in the past two months. They’re focusing on necessities while turning to cheaper items or less expensive stores. And they’re buying only a little at a time.
It’s a reversal from a year or so ago when low-income shoppers, flush with money from the government and buoyed by wage increases, were able to spend more freely.
Kisha Galvan, a 44-year-old mother of eight children from ages 9 to 27, was able to stock up on groceries for the week and buy extras like clothing and shoes at Walmart for her children last year.
But without the pandemic-related government support and inflation hovering at a near 40-year high, she is buying more canned food and depending on the local food pantry several times a week instead of once a week.