President Joe Biden told Americans during his March 2022 State of the Union address, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work to fill our great downtowns again with people.” Easy for him to say — he works from home. For the rest of Americans returning to office life, there’s a bit of sticker shock, especially with inflation. Check out some of the heftiest back-to-office costs in this week’s Five For Friday.
In some areas the daily grind could cost double what it did when COVID-19 hit in 2020. With the price of gas now setting records, and the average American driving over thirty miles daily roundtrip, the bill adds up. With the average vehicle getting 25 miles per gallon, a driver would have spent $15 per week on gas in March 2020, plus oil and tolls. In May 2022, that figure is closer to $26.
It’s not shrinkflation — it’s “lunchflation.” According to Square, the average price of a wrap last month was up 18% from a year ago. A sandwich was up 14%, and don’t start on the cost of a salad. Americans might want to start brown-bagging the tried-and-true PB&J.
Remember the days of rolling out of bed, skipping the shower, and grabbing the nearest top for Zoom calls? Returning office workers are now opening their closets to find old threads that no longer fit. New clothes could set workers back hundreds of dollars a month and ladies bear the brunt, spending 76% more on attire than men.
#2: Child and pet care
During the pandemic, over 23 million American homes purchased a new pet, and with a daily walk costing an average $25 per half hour, it gets pricey. For humans, the average cost of childcare in Nebraska is $12,000 annually. Massachusetts is closer to $20,000 — a small fortune if you haven’t paid that bill in two years.
Each item on this list is a time-suck, from the morning routine to the commute, the loss of a dog-park visit or picking up the kids after school. That was personal time and that’s one thing that can’t be reimbursed. It’s no wonder two-thirds of Americans say they’d consider quitting if asked to return to the office full time.