As pandemic wanes, inflation forces consumers to scrimp

Nicole Norfleet and Gita Sitaramiah
(Minneapolis) Star Tribune

For the last few months, Shirley Hatfield has bought mostly generic brand foods and has gone as far as to unplug her lamps and microwave when they are not in use.

Shirley Hatfield takes a package of hamburger out of her fridge to put in a pot of chili, which will give her four days worth of lunches from the leftovers, while cooking after work Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 15, 2022, in her condo in New Hope, Minnesota. The recipe called for a pound, but she cut that amount in half to make the hamburger go further.

Hatfield, who is 54 and works in a middle school nurse's office in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, never saw herself as a big spender. But now, the constant monitoring of her spending has started to become all-consuming.