High inflation has US consumers falling behind on their bills

Inflation reached another 40-year high.  The September Consumer Price Index was up 8.2% over a year ago.  

As rents, utility bills, credit card rates, grocery prices, and gas prices are all up, more people are struggling just to pay the bills.

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A review of U.S. Census Bureau data by MyEListing.com found that 15% of renters nationwide are behind on rent, 16% in Texas, and 21% in Houston.

"People are scared to go out and spend money because they don’t know what’s next," said consumer Kitsa Strait.    

Inflation is forcing more Americans to make tough choices.

"Checking the prices on all groceries and making sure I’m getting the most cost-effective ones," said shopper Kyle Santry.  

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"That has impacted my entire family. I'm a small business owner, so I’ve had to raise my prices between 10 to 15%," said Stephen Harris.

September's Consumer Price Index was up 8.2% over a year ago.  Rent was up 6.7%, food was up 11.2%.  Plus utilities, gas, and medical care costs were all higher. 

"It's getting out of hand, totally out of hand," said consumer Carolyn Wagner.

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A Lending Tree survey found 32% of respondents paid a bill late in the last six months.

"The truth is a lot of people are really struggling just to make some of these everyday bills, like utility bills, cell phone bills, credit card bills," said Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz with Lending Tree.

Lending Tree found 51% of Americans have over drafted their bank account to pay a bill, 26% had done it more than once.

"It’s a really challenging time for folks, and it's requiring people to make some sacrifices and tough decisions," said Schulz.

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Real estate marketplace MyEListing.com says U.S. Census Bureau data shows 15% of renters nationwide are behind on rent.

"I think there’s a growing crisis that we're seeing right in front of our eyes. It’s like a train that we know is coming out there, but we’re seeing it come, and we're going to be reacting to it," explained Nate Barber with MyEListing.com.

Analysts say they expect the Fed to again raise the interest rate in November and December. However, some consumers say more action is needed.  

"Some people don't feel it, because they’re in the upper class of life or whatever. But what about us, that are down here at the bottom? We’re feeling it, we’re catching it," said Wagner.


If you need help paying bills, some utility and other assistance is available for those who qualify. Call 211, the United Way Helpline, to apply.