High inflation continues to hit pocket books

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Bianca Doniver, manager of the pharmacy at Walmart in White Lake, works on a computer at the retail counter of the pharmacy

Mia Nishanian / Spartan Newsroom

Bianca Doniver, manager of the pharmacy at Walmart in White Lake, said she’s seen rising prices on medicine and grocery items in the past year.

Bianca Doniver sees inflation impacting people at work and at home.

It used to cost $20 to $40 to buy simple groceries for her grandfather.

“And I tell him each week you know, just give me just a small amount. He knows this a lot more,” said Doniver, who manages a Walmart pharmacy in White Lake. “I’m up to $100 like every couple of weeks for him.”

Meanwhile, she said she’s watched prices for medicine at work climb steadily since last year. She said she’s always looking for options for cheaper medications for her customers.

“Some people can’t afford it, even with the co-pays the price of the actual drug has gone up so much that they can’t afford it,” Doniver said. “But right now, pretty much everything is high, the medication for insulin is really high. And then by me working in a grocery store, the food prices with it. So, everything’s up right now.”

While price increases appear to be slowing, inflation remains high. Prices of common consumer goods and services are up 7.1% since last November, according to inflation data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rising costs for housing, food and energy are leading contributors.

According to Zupper.com, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lansing is $817, up nearly 10% from December 2021.

But the problem isn’t just housing, Michigan State University economics professor Janice Beecher said. Utility costs also are increasing. Electricity and natural gas service costs have risen more than 14% since a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“And we have also seen considerable price pressure on water services due to a combination of factors,” Beecher said.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light, which provides electric and water service to much of Lansing and East Lansing, increased residential electric rates by 4.5% and residential water rates by 9.2%, on Nov. 1.

Michigan State University junior Martin Romero decided to move back home to save money until he graduates. He transferred from Lansing Community College said he feels the financial squeeze of additional costs.  

“I have no shame or regrets moving back home, and actually helped me out financially a lot,” he said. 

Romero said high gas prices in recent months meant he cost him double what it used to to fill his car with gas. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Michigan is $3.21, according to AAA Michigan, down from a record high of $5.22 in June.

“If I was at half tank, I think it was about $30 to $60 range,” Romero said. “It would depend, but if I do it now, it’s almost near like the $80 and $90. If I did, if I was almost empty, and I had to fill up my car, it would now go into the hundreds, which has never happened to me before.”


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