By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — The vast majority of Americans are cutting back on their spending because of rising inflation, according to new survey data.
New Jersey-based Provident Bank released the report, which found that roughly 83% of those surveyed have cut back on personal spending due to inflation, with about 23% saying they have made “drastic changes” to their spending.
The poll found that 10.5% of those surveyed reported “eliminating all non-essential purchases” and 71.7% reported they have “made at least some changes to personal travel habits.”
Many Americans are struggling to purchase basic necessities as gas prices hit record highs earlier this month. According to the American Automobile Association, prices topped $5 per gallon before dipping down slightly in recent days. On Tuesday, the national average was $4.88 per gallon.
California has consistently remained above the national average. On Tuesday, the state’s average price was $6.31 a gallon, according to AAA. In Santa Barbara County, the average was $6.30 a gallon.
“When asked which price increases on regularly purchased products or services have hurt consumers the most, gasoline, groceries and clothing were among the most frequently mentioned items,” the Provident Bank report said. “More than 50% (53.33%) said they now spend between $101-$500 more per month on groceries. According to the survey results, 32% of drivers are now spending between $101-$250 more per month on gasoline, with 13.5% reporting a monthly increase in fuel costs between $251-$500.
“In addition to gasoline, groceries and clothing, respondents named baby products, meat, utilities, household goods, milk and alcohol as adding the most to their monthly bills,” according to the report.
The cutback in spending comes as consumer prices have risen at the fastest pace in four decades and the producer price index saw a 10.8% increase in the past year.
“While some consumers have cut back on some non-essential spending, like dining out and unnecessary travel, others reported much more drastic changes such as skipping meals, conserving water, and eliminating meat from their diets,” the report said. “People are feeling an immense amount of financial pressure right now.”
The poll surveyed 600 U.S. adults.
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.