I receive SSI, and I am one of approximately eight million SSI beneficiaries in America. For the year ending in March, the Consumer Price Index increased by 8.5 percent, unadjusted for seasonal variations. That was higher than February’s elevated reading of 7.9%, and it was the highest level since December 1981, when the CPI was 8.9%. The March figure on Tuesday was also slightly higher than the 8.4 percent predicted by economists. For people like me who are living on a fixed income, inflation can be extra challenging to deal with.
I am fortunate enough to be able to share expenses with my roommate. This allows me to have some money left over at the end of the month, which I put into my ABLE account. I am glad that I have a way to save money beyond the $2,000 asset limit. Without my roommate’s help, living on my own would be impossible. One of the largest monthly expenses in our house is groceries. Staple foods in my diet, such as eggs, ground beef, milk, pasta, and cheese, have all been costing more.
Still, I look for ways to limit my spending. We don’t pay for cable at home. This saves us money each month which adds up over time. I am also eligible to receive a discount on my cellphone bill every month through the LifeLine program. Because of the LifeLine program, I can keep in touch with friends and family without worrying about a costly cellphone bill. Every dollar counts when you live on SSI.
I rarely go out, which saves on gas. When it comes to entertainment, not going to the movie theater saves a lot of money. I am happy to wait for movies to come out on DVD if it means that I save money. I have access to plenty of streaming video services. Due to the pandemic, many movies have been streaming early. I was able to watch Black Widow and Tom And Jerry without going to the theater.
I anticipate needing to cut back on expenses for the foreseeable future because of inflation. This will be particularly true during the holiday season. While inflation is difficult to deal with when you live on SSI, I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, a nice warm bed, and plenty of food in the house.
“Number of Recipients, 1974–2020.” Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration, 1 Dec. 2020, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2021/fast_facts21.html.
Tappe, Anneken. “Consumer Price Inflation Hit a New 40-Year High in March.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Apr. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/12/economy/consumer-price-inflation-march/index.html.