In the r/AskWomen subreddit, user u/PixelatedNPC recently posed the question, "What has inflation ruined for you?"
Here are some of the sobering and thought-provoking responses:
1. "My chances of ever being a homeowner."
"With you there, unfortunately. It's either renting or moving because it would be next to impossible to buy a place where I am currently. Everything has gone up but the wages."
2. "I cook food I enjoy much less often now with food prices rising."
"I feel this so much. I used to meal plan every week. And making a grocery list was almost therapeutic! I had grocery prices pretty much memorized, so I'd easily stay within budget. I'd be able to try a new recipe out every week. I did this for like a decade!
But now, the cost of food has gone up so much, I don't know how much things are off the top of my head. I have to count as I shop. I'm constantly putting things back. Sometimes, I cross a whole meal off my list as the cost of things in my cart start to add up. It's so stressful. We're eating a lot of ramen and boxed mac 'n' cheese. I've always been so big on fresh foods, non-processed, all that. But it's too expensive to eat healthy. I feel the difference this diet is taking on me, especially mental health-wise. But I'm having to eat like crap because it's all I can afford."
3. "Having a baby. Before all the prices started to rise dramatically last year, my husband and I worked out that we could comfortably afford to start a family. I'm now five months pregnant. With the ridiculous energy prices, food going up, and our mortgage that needs renewing in April, I am terrified we might not really be able to afford this new lifestyle. It makes me feel irresponsible and like a failure."
"I used to rent a private rustic cabin for a week in Maine on a small lake for $700/week. With absolutely zero improvements to it, the same place goes for $1600/week now. Everywhere else has similarly skyrocketed, everywhere in the country. I used to live for that week, when we could enjoy isolation in the peace and quiet of nature. Now, we can no longer afford it."
5. "I live in a foodie paradise but haven’t been to a restaurant in about two years. Just wild prices. Even at the local tavern, a grilled cheese sandwich costs $14.50. That’s not right."
"I used to love eating out, back when my husband and I could have a meal we liked at one of our regular places for like $40. Now, just getting Chipotle for the two of us is $30. Anywhere sit-down with one alcoholic drink each is easily $80. I haven't found any restaurants I enjoy enough to justify that price. I know I will probably find a place I enjoy if I keep trying new places, but the high price makes experimentation feel too risky."
6. "Dating. It’s a hard reality I’m faced with, but as I get older, I’m starting to accept that a lack of financial responsibility should be a deal breaker for me for long-term relationships."
"Yep! Coupled with the Ticketmaster monopoly, now it’s just ridiculous. I used to buy tickets to any show I could. Now, I usually check the Gametime app a few hours before the show, and if prices aren’t reasonable, I don’t go."
"I feel like I'll never be able to responsibly budget live music into my life again. This one burns."
8. "My free time. I have to work as much OT as I can get now."
"Absolutely this. I'm self-employed, so no OT pay for me, but I'm working more than ever to make ends meet while trying to save for retirement. There are many times lately I thought about chucking it all in and just getting a regular job, if only for the benefits alone. But then, I think about all the layoffs going on and wonder if that would be a safe choice."
9. "The kids can’t understand why I suddenly am not buying all the snacks, or taking them on adventures like we used to, or buying them things they ask for. They don’t have enough life experience to understand inflation, so it just looks like I stopped giving a crap. I miss spoiling my kids."
11. "The ability to leave my bad marriage. I can't afford to live on my own with the cost of everything rising and my paycheck very much not."
12. "Just paying my bills. I’m lucky in that I earn well, and I have a decent cushion saved, but f*cking hell, my monthly bills are sapping everything from me right now. In six months, my gas and electricity bill has gone from £89 a month to just shy of £400, but my usage hasn’t changed! I never used to think twice about putting the heat on when I was cold, but now I find myself wondering if my heated blanket or hot water bottle will do."
13. "Being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve had to go back to work for some extra money. I miss being at home with my littlest."
14. "Disposable income. I feel like I'm broke constantly and living paycheck-to-paycheck, despite having a professional job and a side gig. It just feels like I can never get ahead."
15. "Having flowers at home."
"I just started getting into having flowers at home, but have quickly found it’s a money pit. How much were flowers before this??? $16 for a few hydrangeas isn’t realistic to me 😭."
16. "Socializing. It was already hard being an introvert. Now you’re telling me I have to go out, talk to people, AND spend probably over $100 per night?! I’ll just stay home forever, thanks."
17. And finally, "My future – at least, it feels this way. I chose my career based on both interest and knowing it would allow me to live a lifestyle I wanted. When I started, the salary was perfect for that. Now, I have to re-envision a future I didn’t want for myself. I wanted three things: a home, to go on vacation every once and a while, and a kid. I now feel like I have to choose one. I don’t even contemplate retirement."
"I've been having the same thought lately. I feel like I can't 'have it all.' My current income would have been plenty 10 years ago, and I always had dreams of living in a big city, dining at nice restaurants, and traveling a lot. Now, I'm still counting my pennies like I did in my early twenties."
What has inflation ruined for you? Share your experience in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.