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San Diegans share the impacts of high inflation rates in their daily lives

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Elma González
Shoppers at Apple Tree Supermarket in Chula Vista on April 20, 2022.

From the grocery store to the gas pump, prices are higher and paychecks are being squeezed. U.S. inflation rates are the highest they’ve been in 40 years, increasing 8.5% over last year. And in an already high-priced city like San Diego, that inflation pinch can really hurt.

San Diego State University marketing and business lecturer, Miro Copic said there are multiple reasons for the high rate of inflation.

"When the pandemic started, we lost 22 million jobs in a month and a half. Consumers really battened down the hatches in terms of spending. And as the federal government under two administrations provided financial relief to consumers, to businesses, and to individuals ... consumers actually were able to save a fair amount of money," Copic said. "So all of a sudden, kind of in late 2020 and into 2021, consumers started spending as they were able to beyond their basic needs, beyond groceries. And so all of a sudden we were hit (with) this really strong increasing demand with the supply chain woes because of COVID."

Jorge Nerio, works as a grocery manager at Jensen's Foods in Point Loma. He said in addition to empty shelves caused by supply chain issues, he's seen the price of food go up in his store.

"To buy a carton of eggs before COVID, you're looking at a large dozen of white eggs for my price, I sell it to the customers at $1.99," Nerio said. "A dozen of white eggs are $3.99 that I'm selling now. And organic eggs went from me selling them at $3.99, to a price of $6.99, almost $7.99 for a dozen. And then milk prices went from a gallon being $2.99 to almost us selling it at $5 a gallon."

He said other items that are seeing the highest price increases are refrigerated meat products, frozen foods, cheeses, bread and canned foods. He has also noticed a shortage of products that come in glass bottles.

We asked people in San Diego to share how inflation is affecting their lives.

Chelsea Feilen who lives in San Diego said inflation has impacted her spending choices and how often she drives.

"We're definitely more conscious of where we're driving because gas is so much more expensive now. Meat prices obviously more expensive too, so we don't buy as much as we used to," Feilen said. "Our SDG&E bill has been almost twice as much too. Last April I got out the bill, with $37 for our gas portion, and for some reason this last bill is $78, and the one before that was $73. Our family hasn't changed. We're not adding more people to our house or anything that I think would increase the gas bill."

Kathy who lives in Lakeside said, “In every single way imaginable from gas, food, housing, clothing, outings, you name it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to afford beef again!”

Cindy, a resident from Lemon Grove, said she noticed spring water, fresh produce, dairy products, coffee — and of course gas — all cost more.

"My groceries, when I can find them, have increased a full third if not twice as much as before. In recent weeks my fixed-income finances are dwindling at an alarming rate,” she said.

Robin who lives in Carlsbad said, “I have always been extra careful on spending. I buy only what is needed and no extras. I do errands on one day each week and stay close to home.”

Copic said he anticipates inflation rates will peak in the next few months and then start to go down.