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Here are four stories of middle-class taxpayers who are finding it more difficult to get by as inflation saps their purchasing power.
ANA MARIA GIL-TORRES, 60 Lives alone Kew Garden Hills, Queens
“So many things went up — meat is through the roof, vegetables, clothing,” says Gil-Torres, a life insurance agent who retired on disability.
“I wanted new shoes for the winter — those warm Uggs. I have an old pair I paid $150 six years ago. They’re wearing out after so many winters. I want to get a new pair, but I can’t afford it. It’s over $200. It’s a lot. I’d rather eat well than buy a new pair of shoes. I need to buy smart.
“I like to eat healthy and buy fresh wild salmon. It used to cost $12 for fresh wild salmon at the supermarket. Now it’s $18.
I still get my salmon, but I had to cut out other things. I’m not much into carbohydrates, but after a good meal, you want something sweet, like a pasty. In reality, it’s good for me [to cut out the dessert], but this is something I had to cut down.
“I drink almond or coconut milk, which is very, very expensive. It used to be 3.99 to $4.99” — a difference of at least $4 a month.
SHAUNA LARMORE, 34 Single mom of 15-year-old twin daughters Houston
Larmore was so tired of rising rents in Maryland that she moved her family to Texas, where she said monthly house-purchase costs are comparable to her apartment-rental outlays.
Larmore, who runs her own publicity firm called Lamore Lifestyle Public Relations, said being able to work from home gave her the freedom to find a place with a lower cost of living. But with inflation there is no escape. “Everything is going up,” she said.
Since moving in August, she’s paying $20 more to fill up her GMC Acadia SUV, she said.
And that’s not the worst of it, she said: grocery costs have doubled in a little over a year, she said, sending her weekly food budget for her and her two girls up to $300. Larmore said she’s being more careful with what she buys.
“I stopped purchasing in bulk,” she said. Before, if her daughters didn’t eat something “I would throw it away” — but now she’s more careful in what she buys.
Bradley Davis she said. Instead of buying a whole package of fruit, for instance, she might just buy what she knows she and her daughters will eat.
NICK BADOLATO, 52 Married with a young son Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Retired NYPD Lt. Nick Badolato said he’s feeling a big pinch in his pocket from the record-high inflation that has jacked up the price of his electric and gas bills, meat and groceries and personal care products.
His monthly costs to pay utility bills and necessities jumped about 20 percent — from $3,000 to $3,600.
His Con Ed electric bill skyrocketed from $185.90 in December to $280.46 in January.
Badalato and wife Dawn, who works part-time as stenographer, reside in leafy Dyker Heights in southern Brooklyn. He noted he now pays about $9,000 in property taxes, which are rising 5% to 8% a year due to increases in market value.
“We have no control of the costs. It’s out of our control,” he said. “We’re on a fixed budget. We’re scaling back,” forgoing travel. “I gave up the filet mignon sirloin. The price is up about 25%,” he said.
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He admitted to experimenting with lesser known — and less costly — personal care and home care products to save a few dollars here and there.
“The price of shampoo went up, too,” the ex-cop said. “I’ve been going for a lower cost shampoo.”
The retiree said the price of toilet paper has gone up about 30 percent in recent months.
Badalato said the cost of living was already the highest in the country because inflation ate away further at his family’s earnings.
Dawn would like to move elsewhere. But they both have adult children and family nearby that have kept them in New York.
Their youngest child, Nicolas, is 9.
“Even though we’re middle class, it’s not enough to live comfortably in New York City,” he said.
“It’s sad to see middle- and lower-class people suffering.”
PENINNA ROSENBERG, 35 Married mom of two Midwood, Brooklyn
“All the basic stuff — gas, milk, eggs, butter — have increased,” says Rosenberg, a manager for a doctor’s office. “I’m not the type of person who looks at prices most of the time, but when you see these kinds of increases, it’s a shock.”
She told The Post she used to fill up her gas tank for $40 once a week and now it’s $65, a difference of $100 monthly. “It’s a lot of money,” she says, adding that her husband, an electrician, has curbed car rides. “Now we walk everywhere and don’t use the car, to save money on gas. My husband doesn’t go out much out, either. We try not to go anywhere and spend money we don’t have right now.”
The family of four typically goes through two gallons of milk weekly, but the rise in price from $3.80 a gallon, “even in the most expensive stores,” to $5 a gallon hits the family hard.
The difference can cost her family $10 a month.
Her two young daughters feast on eggs — they go through three dozen weekly — but the cost has surged from 2.99 to $5 a carton, costing her an extra $24 monthly.
“We’re trying to cut expenses, like eating fewer eggs,” she said. “There’s obviously no snacks right now — like chocolates, candy, even fruits. It’s hard, but the prices are insane. Otherwise, I won’t be able to fit everything in the budget.