All Americans are feeling the financial squeeze of high inflation, but for retirees on a fixed income, it’s deciding what to cut.
Drop in at any senior center, ask about inflation, and you’ll likely strike a chord.
"Everything is expensive," said Katherine Janes, who has turned to her son for financial help. “It makes things a lot easier.”
Next to Katherine at the card table in the senior center is Ron Longhurst. He has skipped appointments with his barber.
"Your more astute viewers may note that I'm taking maybe a week or two longer between haircuts," said Longhurst.
Seniors on a fixed income have been hit hard by inflation with September prices up 8.2% from a year ago.
Housing prices are hurting Sharon Johnson. She and her husband are retired and their rent just jumped more than $300 a month.
"I've never had to feel a worry about how we were going to eat," Johnson explained. "We are middle income with less to work with than when we worked full time. And we have worked hard. And we've been honest. Then why is it going in reverse?"
Next year, Social Security recipients will get an annual cost of living adjustment of 8.7%. It’s the largest single-year bump since 1981.
In the meantime, Barb Smith has stopped buying puzzles, which are her hobby. Now she volunteers her time at a soup kitchen and appreciates that one meal she gets to take home.
"If it hasn't been for volunteering, I'd probably be insane by now,” admitted Smith.
The same concern brings the group to the card table at the senior center. With tighter budgets, they’re finding joy in the things that don’t get more expensive.