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Inflation Is the Unwanted Party Crasher This Fourth of July

Pass the mustard.

With a side of inflation.

As you take a bite of your hot dog, the rising cost of, well, everything is taking a bite out of your wallet.

And yet, we spend money to spend time with friends and family, to gather around the table before the fireworks take flight.

But inflation is the unwelcome guest this year, more so than it has been in around four decades. What we’ve spent this weekend to make the celebration is borrowed from the future. Of course, what we’ve spent on food cannot be spent on other things — like those ubiquitous Independence Day mattress sales.

We’re being a bit tongue in cheek here, but only a bit.

Stats from the American Farm Bureau Federation estimate that the total cost of a cookout for 10 is up 17% year on year to about $70. That sounds bit light, given the fact that it includes only about two pounds of meat, one package of buns, etc. And the party had better be BYOB because that tally doesn’t even account for a six-pack of Bud Light.

But you get the picture, and moving beyond the questions of quantity, the fact remains that pretty much everything is up double-digit percentage points.

The Consumer Price Index data, released earlier this month, underscore that trend and show that the prices for food consumed at home were up a bit more than 10% year on year.

As for how we are paying for it all, PYMNTS studies released earlier this month show that, among more than 2,700 consumers, debit holds sway no matter how many payment methods they have at their command — more than half of them. That makes sense given the fact that a startling majority of us live paycheck to paycheck.

Debit at the Dinner Table

Spending what’s on hand is a prudent way of juggling our various daily financial obligations. And no matter who’s paying for the holiday weekend feast, the paycheck-to-paycheck economy has hit us all. Forty-one percent of what PYMNTS found to be the most diversified consumers (in term of payments options) have annual incomes greater than $100,000, and 46% live paycheck to paycheck but still comfortably pay their bills each month.

Read more: Debit Holds Edge Over Credit as Economy Sours

PYMNTS found earlier this year that six in 10 consumers are buying only the essentials as inflation rises. Digital grocery purchases increased through the spring. Headed into the summer, 31% bought groceries online. More than 60% of younger consumers said they had bought groceries more often online during the last 12 months.

See more: 6 in 10 Consumers Buying Only the Essentials as Inflation Rises

At some point, inflation will be in the rearview mirror. For the time being, it’s here, front and center, and pinching in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. The digital habits, the embrace of debit seem poised to stay — and next year, perhaps we’ll focus more on the fireworks and less on how much it all costs.

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