Home Personal Finance 72% of Middle-Income Americans Say Their Paychecks Can’t Keep Up With Inflation. Do These Things if You Feel the Same

72% of Middle-Income Americans Say Their Paychecks Can’t Keep Up With Inflation. Do These Things if You Feel the Same

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A person looks concerned at their financial documents and laptop.

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There are steps you can take to gain more financial breathing room.

Key points

  • Inflation has made everyday bills a struggle to keep up with for middle earners.
  • Since rampant inflation could linger, it may be time to rethink your spending and take steps to boost your income.

It’s hardly a secret that inflation soared in 2022, making it extremely difficult for many consumers to keep up with their bills. And while low-income earners were no doubt the ones most impacted by inflation last year, many middle-income households struggled as well.

In fact, in a recent survey by Primerica, 72% of middle earners say their paychecks can no longer keep pace with inflation. If that’s the boat you’re in, you’re not necessarily stuck. Here are some steps you can take to break that cycle until inflation levels recede.

1. Shed a big expense

Canceling a $15 monthly streaming service might help a little when it comes to managing your bills. But let’s be real — if you’re currently racking up credit card debt every month due to inflation, you probably need to do a lot more than shed a $15 expense. And so it may be time to make a big sacrifice, whether it’s moving to a smaller apartment to shrink your monthly rent costs, getting a roommate to split your rent with, or giving up a car if you work from home and can get by without one on evenings and weekends.

Remember, the lifestyle changes you make to account for inflation don’t need to be upheld forever. But it could pay to make changes for the next 12 months to minimize the amount of debt you’re forced to rack up.

2. Fight for a raise

If you’re great at what you do, and you know that your employer relies on you consistently, then there’s no reason not to march into your boss’s office and (politely) ask for a raise. Although some companies are cutting expenses (and headcount) these days due to inflation and recession fears, many are thriving. So it never hurts to speak up and ask for the pay bump you think you deserve — especially if your company didn’t give out a raise going into 2023.

That said, it’s a good idea to research salary data before having that conversation. If you see that the average person in your industry with your job title earns what you’re currently making, you may have to really work hard to make your case for higher pay. But having that data will help inform your strategy.

3. Get a side hustle

There may not be any large expenses in your budget you can reasonably cut. And your fight for a raise might end up being futile, even if you make a strong case. That’s why it pays to look at getting a side hustle.

A second job could make it so you’re able to cover your bills in full without having to continuously add to your debt load. You might even earn enough to carve out more money for leisure spending.

It could be many more months until inflation levels drop enough to make everyday bills more affordable. So until that happens, do what you can to get through this period of inflation and avoid landing deeper and deeper in debt.

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