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Some stay-at-home parents now returning to work as prices rise

Inflation is causing the price of gas and groceries to increase at a rapid pace which is now forcing some stay-at-home parents to return to work.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Grocery bills are higher and the prices at the gas pump just keep increasing as inflation continues to push up costs.

Since these prices are expected to stick around, it's forcing some stay-at-home parents to head back to work.

With those prices in mind, it's forcing many parents to take a second look at their budgets. 

"We're just trying to cut any way we can and coupon as far as groceries go," Amanda Williams said. 

For the past few years, Williams has happily been a stay-at-home mom for two, and now soon to be three children. 

"Me and my husband had agreed when we started having kids that I would be a stay-at-home mom and take care of the kids in the house and that he would work and provide," Williams said.

But with inflation hitting levels not seen in four decades, she said a single income just doesn't cut it anymore.

"My grocery bill has gone up almost $300 extra a month than what we were already paying," Williams said.

She's not alone either. Economists have said that Arkansas families are now estimated to be spending roughly an additional $450 each month due to inflation.

"That we're dealing with right now is a perfect storm of supply constraints and strong demand as we come out of the pandemic," said Michael Pakko, the Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster at UALR.

It's not just Williams either, it's an issue for many parents, like Beebe mom Andrea Gillihan. She said that she's in a similar spot, adding that the jobs she could hold are also limited.

"I don't even want to go back full time, but we'll probably honestly be part time because we don't want to put [our kids] in daycare because daycare [price] is also outrageous," Gillihan said.

The stats back up Gillihan's statement too. According to childcare advocacy group ChildCare Aware of America, 82% of Arkansans were unable to afford childcare services as recently as 2020.

"Even working a night shift a couple days a week would probably be more viable for us at this point," Gillihan said.

While Pakko believes we'll start seeing lower inflation rates over the next few years, he's not so sure on the overall price. 

"That doesn't mean that we're going to see prices come back down again... that just means that the pace of inflation should be slowing," Pakko said. 

This all pushes more parents like Williams to search for at home jobs. 

"I've put in probably over 30 applications for different work-from-home jobs, and having absolutely no success," Williams said.

With that lack of success, it's forcing parents like Gillihan to keep a close eye on their budgets. 

"We've cut expenses where we can and we're still barely above water," she said.

   

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