An overwhelming 92 percent of Americans now complain of being financially squeezed

As mortgage rates, rents and grocery bills soar, 92% of Americans now complain of being financially squeezed — a fifth of them seriously so — and millions are making cutbacks, seeking extra work or borrowing to make ends meet

  • Overwhelming majority of Americans say they now feel financial pain
  • A fifth say they are seriously hurting by rising costs, rents and mortgage rates
  • ‘The prices are unreal’ retired Oklahoma veteran tells DailyMail.com
  • The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen to 6.25 percent
  • Household rents jumped 10 percent last year from pre-pandemic levels 
  • Millions are cutting back on diners, takeouts and movie nights in the cash crunch 
  • Young renters are living in ‘shoebox’ apartments to save cash

With mortgage rates, grocery bills and rents spiking across the country, an overwhelming majority of Americans now complain of being squeezed financially — a fifth of them seriously so — and millions are making cutbacks, a survey shows.

A staggering 92 percent of adults say rising costs are straining household budgets and 20 percent of them say they are seriously affected, says the poll of 3,000 adults by SellCell, a technology firm.

The survey comes amid the release of gloomy economic data, including that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen to 6.25 percent and household rents jumped 10 percent last year from pre-pandemic levels.

According to SellCell, millions of cash-strapped Americans are cutting back on luxuries, entertainment, grocery shopping, switching off electrical appliances and scouring for new sources of income amid the economic squeeze.

Among them are military veteran Noel Hartman, 72, and his wife Linda, 74, of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, whose $3,400-per month retirement income is overstretched by $1,300 mortgage repayments, auto costs and rising energy and grocery bills.

‘The prices are unreal,’ Hartman told DailyMail.com.

‘Seniors are hit harder as we have no way to get a job or make more money.’

Military veteran Noel Hartman (left), 72, and his wife Linda, 74, of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, are struggling amid rising prices and have cut back on eating out

Military veteran Noel Hartman (left), 72, and his wife Linda, 74, of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, are struggling amid rising prices and have cut back on eating out 

A shopper holds groceries while waiting to check out at a grocery store in San Francisco, California, as inflation forces millions of households to cut back on everyday basics

A shopper holds groceries while waiting to check out at a grocery store in San Francisco, California, as inflation forces millions of households to cut back on everyday basics 

Simple treats like going to restaurants have become a costly extravagance and the couple, who together have four children from previous marriages, even balk at spending $25 for a meal at McDonald’s, said Hartman.

Linda has started a small arts and crafts business as a way to make money, he added. They can scrape by, said Hartman, but the big fear is that one of them falls sick, and they are bankrupted by out-of-pocket medical costs, he added.

‘It’s a whole new way of life,’ said Hartman.

They are not alone. Nearly half of Americans say they are cutting back on movies, shows and other forms of entertainment to make ends meet, while 41.5 percent will stop eating at restaurants or ordering takeaways.

Millions are looking for ways to make money, researchers said. Nearly a fifth of respondents were looking for a second job and more than a tenth are selling old televisions, computers and other technology gear to raise cash.

The survey comes as Americans faced another month of economic hardship, and while average gas prices have dipped to $3.67 per gallon, the pain is being increasingly felt by shoppers at grocery store checkouts.

Jesus Montiel, Krista Mason and their daughter Diana, 2, spend time together at their home in Afton, Wyoming, where inflation has made it even harder for working parents to run a household

Jesus Montiel, Krista Mason and their daughter Diana, 2, spend time together at their home in Afton, Wyoming, where inflation has made it even harder for working parents to run a household 

U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly rose in August, with an 8.3 percent increase against the previous year, and underlying inflation accelerated amid rising costs for rents, healthcare and food. 

According to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, the overall cost of food rose 11.4 percent, with the food-at-home category, groceries, up 13.5 percent – the steepest rises since the late 1970s.

The average interest rate on the most popular US home loan, meanwhile, climbed to its highest level since October 2008, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) on Wednesday.

The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose by 24 basis points to 6.25 percent for the week ended September 16, a level not seen since towards the end of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

The Federal Reserve was set to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point for a third straight time later on Wednesday, threatening to raise mortgage rates again and further pressure borrowers. 

Recent data from the Census Bureau show that household rents jumped 10 percent from pre-pandemic levels nationwide last year, and young workers have felt the sharpest pain, many of them taking extra work or roommates to split costs.

The bureau’s data put median U.S. rent at $1,037 in 2021, up from $941 in 2019. Year-over-year increases in median household rents this past decade were typically 2 percent or 3 percent. One exception was the 5 percent rise from 2018 to 2019.

In one instance, New York University doctoral student Maeve Kozlark, 23, spent a year in an apartment in New York City’s Queens borough with a door that wouldn’t lock. 

Her landlord’s refusal to fix the latch prompted her to make a TikTok video about it.

Alaina Randazzo, 25, from New York City, pays $650 a month to live in an 80 x 150 square feet apartment in midtown Manhattan with her dog

Alaina Randazzo, 25, from New York City, pays $650 a month to live in an 80 x 150 square feet apartment in midtown Manhattan with her dog 

A year and 230,000 views later, the lock was still broken when her landlord announced a $1,000 hike on top of her existing $2,500 monthly rent of, Kozlark said. She left the apartment in June. 

‘So began our crazy search to find something that was affordable and not a shoebox, which is pretty impossible,’ Kozlark told Reuters. She considers herself lucky to have found a new place to rent for $3,300 in the same borough.

Another New Yorker, Alaina Randazzo, knows about making cutbacks. The 25-year-old traded her luxury apartment for a tiny room the size of a parking space costing $650 per month. 

The digital creator says she is saving $2,600 per month living in the space, which is just 80 x 150 square feet. It is so small that it doesn’t have an oven, toilet, or shower. She has to use a communal bathroom that is located down the hall. 

Still, in a social media post, Randazzo insisted the micro-unit was a ‘very hot commodity’ when she scooped it up.   

Randazzo stores her makeup bin in a cabinet along with her food due to the lack of space

Randazzo stores her makeup bin in a cabinet along with her food due to the lack of space 

Randazzo sleeps in the cramped loft where her mattress is just inches from the ceiling

Randazzo sleeps in the cramped loft where her mattress is just inches from the ceiling

The average cost of a gallon of gas fell to $3.71 nationwide on Monday, down from just above $5 in mid-June. Still, pump prices were higher than they stood a year ago, when the national average was $3.18

The average cost of a gallon of gas fell to $3.71 nationwide on Monday, down from just above $5 in mid-June. Still, pump prices were higher than they stood a year ago, when the national average was $3.18

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