Home Features Increased living costs threaten to leave BYU-I students’ bank accounts dry

Increased living costs threaten to leave BYU-I students’ bank accounts dry

From the price of tuition to living expenses, pursuing a college degree can leave many students in difficult financial positions. It is an endeavor that costs the average American graduate almost $30,000 in loan debt, according to U.S. News.

Now, due to record-breaking inflation rates, students at BYU-Idaho are concerned about more than the future financial cost of school. They are left looking for new ways to afford products and services that they were able to purchase a few years ago, but are now out of their budgets.

“It’s terrible,” said Scott Schley, a junior studying manufacturing engineering technology. “It costs me twice as much to fill up my car than it did a year ago.”

Gas prices have seen a 59.9% increase from June 2021 to June 2022 in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of Oct. 20, gas costs an average of $4.38 per gallon in Idaho. According to AAA Oregon/Idaho, a gallon of gas cost $2.22 in 2020, almost half of the current price.

According to CNBC News, Yardeni Research has found that the average American household will spend $5,000 on gas in 2022 — $3,800 more than two years ago.

Along with gas, Schley said that his grocery bill has gotten expensive as well.

Inflation rates have increased the price of groceries as a whole by 10.4%. The main food category prices that have seen a significant price increase are grain, dairy and nonalcoholic beverages.

The bread aisle at a grocery store
Grain products such as cereal, bread and other bakery items have increased in price by 16.4% Photo credit: Tatum Troescher

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that from August 2021 to August 2022, grain products such as cereal, bread and other bakery items increased in price by 16.4%. Beverages have increased by 13.4%, while milk and other dairy products rose by 16.2% in price.

Certain staple items are now out of some students’ price range.

“I must be very particular about what I spend my money on,” said Carter Morgan, a freshman studying mechanical engineering. “I have to consider the gas prices when I go to the store because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford my next tank of gas after buying groceries.”

This begs the question, how are BYU-I students stretching their dollars in the face of inflation? From swapping items with their cheaper counterparts to limiting outings, some students are finding creative ways to relieve the stress of higher costs.

A few ways to combat higher prices are shopping for items that are on sale by using coupons, researching which gas stations in town have the lowest prices, canceling long-distance trips and getting part-time jobs.

When going on long-distance road trips with a group of people, Morgan said that he has started asking passengers to help chip in for gas more than he has in the past. He said that this has helped him save money for other expenses.

While students at BYU-I are impacted by the increased cost of living, they are finding ways to afford living essentials as they wait for prices to slowly decrease.

To learn more about the cheapest gas prices in Rexburg, visit Gasbuddy.com.

To learn more about increases in food prices, visit NBC News.

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