gas station price sign

Up, Up and Away

The past couple years have been one challenge after the other, from quarantining and political races to racial discrimination and new COVID variants. Now we are facing another global challenge that has affected the students of our campus, price inflation. Inflation is currently the highest it has been in 40 years. The current rate for 2022 is at 7.5%. This has affected the prices of many items in local grocery stores, and you may have noticed that some items in the Dollar Store or Dollar Tree are not a dollar anymore.

For college students who may be independent, or students who may depend on their parents’ help while in school, this is a hard time. With prices continuously increasing, college students may find themselves spending more money than before on the same items. Gas prices have increased drastically as well.

We talked to Sage Swenson, a junior at DSU, about how the inflation has affected her personally. Sage is the assistant manager at Scooter’s and is dependent on the money that she makes to get necessities. Her parents do not provide any monetary help. “College is something I want to achieve for myself,” she said. Swenson also recently moved off-campus which means on top of groceries, tuition, and books, she has rent to pay as well. With the current rate of inflation so high, she has needed to budget and manage her money more than normal. “Gas has gone up to the point of having to budget more and more every month! Even if I want to get things that are essential, like toiletries, they always have to be put off because groceries come first.” Many students like Swenson find that they have to work more in order to buy the things that they need.

Personally, I had to take a break from my second job due to a conflict with my schedule. Because of the high inflation rate, I found that I have needed to rely on my parent’s more during this semester.

For Kevin Jenkins, a senior, his experience has been a bit different. He went from working two jobs to only one due to his school schedule. Thankfully, his “parents pay [his] tuition and rent while [he is] in school.” Due to gas prices his travel outside of Madison is limited, “I don’t leave Madison as much anymore since gas prices went up, nor do I shop much unless I really feel like it.” But Jenkins says he does not feel as though he needs to rely on his parents more due to the inflation, “I just spend my money differently now to account for the inflation.”

A few college students we have talked to on the topic share a similar opinion as Jenkins. In some cases, students cannot afford to drive to Sioux Falls or Brookings often to have fun with friends. This causes many students who do not have family in South Dakota, to stay in their dorms during the weekends.

mostly empty grocery store shelves

We talked with the managers of Lewis and Sunshine Foods on how inflation rates have affected their stores as well. Julie Janson, one of the managers at Lewis, gave her opinion on the matter. She has worked at the store for about 18 years now and said, “we have had a slight increase in price inflation, but we try our best to keep the prices down.”

After speaking with Kendrin Millage, who has been working at Sunshine Foods for over 2 years, he says that he has noticed the prices go up as well. “The most we can do to keep it down is have in store sales, but we kind of have to follow what is happening.” Both Millage and Janson agreed that there has been a lack of supply as well. “I’ve noticed that there is a lot of things that we don’t get here compared to a year ago,” said Millage. If you shop at Sunshine, you may have noticed almost completely empty shelves, or a few items or brands missing.

This is a difficult time for a lot of people across America. Do not be afraid to ask your parents for help, but if you cannot, try to save and manage your finances as soon as possible. When grocery shopping, get the necessities before you buy things you do not need. Also, take advantage of the C-store as well as your Trojan Silver. Little changes with how you spend your money can make a great difference in the long run.