It is hard not to notice that the prices of everything, from groceries to gasoline, have been creeping up over the last year. Since March of 2021, inflation has consistently exceeded the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. In February, it hit a 40-year high of 7.9%.
Residents in Sammamish have felt the increase in prices through higher expenses. But many have expressed a willingness to accept higher prices for now, especially given the current geopolitical climate and multitude of factors that have caused prices to spike.
Adam Horne, 26, has adjusted to high inflation by making the most of what he has, while finding ways to cut his costs.
“I drive very conservatively and head straight from work back to home if I don’t have any necessary activity to partake in after my work hours,” said Horne, who works at the café at Metropolitan Market in Sammamish.
Horne said that when he started seeing his electricity bills rise, he began to conserve both electricity and water. To save money and avoid paying tolls on the 520 bridge, Horne has stopped his weekly visit to his friends in the greater Seattle area.
Horne attributes inflation to a culmination of different events taking place in the world right now, including the sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the personal impact of inflation, Horne said he was willing to accept higher prices and “stake it out just for a bit more” to support the sanctions.
James Felt, a manager at Petco in Sammamish Highlands, has seen his utility bill go up by an extra $100 a month. He is also aware that higher gasoline costs have increased both grocery prices and his commuting costs.
“I believe the current inflation is a natural phenomenon tied to rising standards of living and minimum wages,” Felt, 40, said. “It’s wonderful for the people who are being positively affected by the rise in wages, but it is a double-edged sword.”
Neeraj Agarwal, an engineering manager at Google, said he has also seen his utility bill go up, especially for electricity. In response, Agarwal, 46, has started being more conservative with usage.
Agarwal has not yet bought an airplane ticket for his son, a high school senior, to visit a college in Massachusetts before he commits to going there. He is afraid the trip may become unaffordable if prices keep increasing.
He does not believe there is a single factor that is causing inflation.
“There could be multiple factors such as supply chain issues, lack of resources, and political decisions,” he said.
He is willing to accept these high prices for an extended period, but not forever.
“If we normalize these high prices then we may be stuck with them,” he said. “Ultimately, to cope with the higher prices, standards of living will need to increase.”