Santa Ana College students are budgeting more than ever before while looking for ways to make ends meet.
According to the U.S Department of agriculture, food costs increased about 1% from July 2022 to August 2022 alone, and food prices were about 11% higher than in August 2021. Nearly every SAC student interviewed for this story said they are seeing increases in living, food, and travel expenses. Students find themselves cutting down more than they thought they would, including essentials like food. Andres Carillo, an engineering major, says inflation has forced him to cut down on food expenses.
“I help my family out too, I am the oldest out of two. My sister is only two years old so her food is expensive too,” he says. After taking night classes in the fall of 2020, Carillo says his expenses were getting too costly to buy food for his meal preps. His new budget is not allowing him to buy as much as he used to. Although SAC provides affordable tuition and offers programs to receive government help, students are barely making ends meet.
Students who are planning to transfer next year will need to consider budgeting in advance. According to the University of California, incoming freshmen will pay 4.2% more than current students. This increase presents further barriers for community college students. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of businesses to shut down, leaving unemployed people to pick up the pieces.
The government distributed stimulus checks to families through the CARES ACT with a total of 2 trillion in investment. In the next few weeks, the state of California has and will continue to send gas relief checks under the Middle-Class Refund through January 2023.
“My dad was very happy about this. Last time we got stimulus checks, I just gave it to my dad so he can pay the rent,” says Carillo.
Itza Rivera, 19, a freshman and athlete on the wrestling team, works two jobs in order to pay for her living expenses. She says that it is not easy juggling work and school. “I cut out going out with my friends even though I like to go out and socialize, it also requires money. [This] also contributes to maturing and what sacrifices I have to make,” says Rivera.
California saw gas prices skyrocket at the beginning of October. The Golden State has increased its prices by an average of $5.75 per gallon. After seeing the declines in September, it seems there is no solution to bring down the post-pandemic gas prices.
In mid-September 2021 a container rate was about $21,000 to ship from Asia to the West Coast. In March 2022 the price went down to $3,000 per container. Retailers, vendors, and manufacturers will not lower their prices anytime with inflation. Holiday shopping is approaching and shoppers will not see prices go down after freight container rates dropped. The price of goods does not depend on freight containers but on labor and gas.