HONOLULU (KHON2) — Bank accounts across Hawaii are all feeling the crunch with high inflation and rising prices, so how are locals coping in these uncertain financial times?
KHON2 spoke to some folks to find out how they are finding relief.
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The cost of living in Hawaii is a burden for many and experts at the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization said the fact that gas prices fell 20% nationally is not going to have a huge impact on overall inflation.
“And that pulled the most recent point down, but that’s just gasoline, right? The rents and food and other things are, are still holding up overall inflation,” said UHERO executive director Dr. Carl Bonham.
One Punchbowl resident said food is certainly where he focuses his budgeting.
“Just looking at whatever I feel like is important because now it’s just like food, like food’s just the number one thing in my mind,” David Boter said. “Like anything else besides gas, like just food is the number one priority.”
A UH Manoa student said she has had to change her habits in 2022 to stick to her $100 per week budget.
“I canceled pretty much all of my subscriptions for everything, everywhere I shop, I was just shopping at Ross cause everything’s discount, super cheap, discount, clearance stuff cause that’s really all you can afford,” Riley Peterson said. “Right now I’m going to go pick up some groceries at Target, which seems to be the cheapest place I can find groceries.”
One local business that is trying to help is First Hawaiian Bank. They launched a cashback credit card on Thursday, Sept. 1 that gives qualified members 2% back on every purchase.
“it’s not gonna fix the whole problem, right? Inflation has been as high as above 9%, I think we’ve seen in some reports depending on your measure,” said Raoul Magana, First Hawaiian Bank senior vice president, “so, it’s not like this is a silver bullet to fix it, but it’s definitely something that can help.”
Economists said there is still a long way to go, but residents added there is no shame in cutting back — whether that is a stop for coffee before work or considering discounted items instead of pricey ones.
“We’re in this for the next few years, not, you know, six, seven, eight percent type inflation rates, but certainly higher than two to three percent,” Dr. Bonham said.
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“It’s hard to find jobs, it’s hard to find housing and just, hang in there cause we’re all kind of going through it and don’t be afraid to shop cheap either. No one is going to judge you for it,” Peterson said.