After working remotely for the past year, Rahul Iyer, 45, says he’s back in the office three days a week, just as grocery prices are on the rise and gas is as high as $5 a gallon.
But Iyer, an engineer who lives in Mesa, Arizona, says he learned to be frugal in the wake of the Great Recession more than a decade ago. And those lessons are coming in handy as he resumes commuting amid the highest inflation in four decades.
“I was laid off five times in a year during the recession,” Iyer says. “We’ve always been trying to find … how can we save a nickel, save a buck, save a penny.”
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Poll reveals worries about gas, food costs
He’s not alone. After many offices closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are increasingly demanding that their staffs be back on site at least part of the time, and some workers are concerned about the costs of commuting amid rising inflation and gas hitting a record high last month.
A Harris Poll conducted for USA TODAY found that 78% of employees were concerned about being able to afford gas for their commutes, while 72% fretted about the price of food and 38% were concerned about paying the fare to travel on public transportation.
“After two years without many of these costs, get ready to see a chunk of your paycheck disappear each month,” Sara Rathner, personal finance expert at NerdWallet, said in an email.
In addition to gas, “commuting also puts wear and tear on your car, so there are maintenance costs to consider,” Rathner says. Parking can cost commuters a few hundred dollars a month in some cities, and fares for public transportation can add up to more than $100 a…
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