Inflation is here to stay. Or it’s almost over. Or the worst is still to come, depending on which economic indicators you monitor or experts you heed. On the other hand, just ask any working-class Latino, and you’ll quickly learn that the cost of milk and gas and tortillas are wildly high with little sign of true ease.

These perilous price increases threaten families and people in Los Angeles and across California who are living paycheck to paycheck. The reasons are complicated and are impacted by the pandemic, crypto winter, war in Ukraine and international economic duress.

Making matters worse, an article published by The Washington Post last month revealed that overall wages fell by 3.6 percent when adjusted for inflation. And according to research conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Hispanics” are one of the ethnic groups being affected the most. Many Latino households spend most of their income on basic needs, such as food, rent and gas, items with perennially rising costs.     

CALÓ NEWS spent time with Latino workers to ask one big question about how they are dealing and what they hope will happen next. Whether it is giving up on meals at restaurants or working more than one job, Latinos are finding ways to beat the times.

Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Omar Muńiz

OMAR MUŃIZ, 23, Compton, He/Him, Mexican


Because of inflation, I have been budgeting a lot more, especially for the food I used to buy. My brother and I buy food that we can afford, like instant ramen. We eat those on a daily basis.

It’s gotten so bad that sometimes I just don’t eat anything for the majority of the day.  I remember when chips used to be $1 a bag, but now they cost like $2. I don’t know if there’s a way to fix it.

Brianna Aviles

BRIANNA AVILES, 25, Downey, She/Her, Mexican/Salvadoran


I’ve been eating less and going out less because of how high the gas prices are nowadays. I typically went out with my friends almost every weekend to hang out or hit up someplace around the city. But now I think it’s better to stay home and save some money. 

Gas is way more expensive now and it runs out fast. Don’t think there’s a way to solve this problem. I think we just need to let it run its course. I don’t know how long it will take, but I hope it ends soon.

Isabel De Carman

ISABEL DE CARMAN, 44, Compton, She/Her, Mexican/Guatemalan


I’ve been struggling a lot more to earn a good income and support my children and family. I work at Target and at Jack In The Box to earn enough money.

I’ve seen our [Jack In The Box] burgers and tacos go up in price along, with diapers that I need for my 1-year-old daughter.

This all happened because too many people got their stimulus checks and went unemployed during the pandemic. What we need to do now is tax the rich a lot more.

Joel Rodriguez

JOEL RODRIGUEZ, 23, Bakersfield, He/Him, Mexican


When going out to eat, it would be within a budget. But as of recently, I’ve preferred to cook my own meals instead of going out to eat.

My family and I make meals that will last us the week; we would cook a whole bunch of meat or another type of food and just put it in the fridge to eat over the week.

I try not to purchase items I don’t need because I know that utility bills have gone up. I’ve missed a couple of work conventions and events that I really wanted to go to because I knew it would be better to use that money on necessities instead of things that I want.

Edgar Ramirez Jr. is a freelance writer for Calo News. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and studied journalism at California State University, Dominguez Hills. His reporting interest includes social...