Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Navigating Inflation: Warriors Mark retiree Mary Shingler is cutting expenses and her breakfast egg

Save A Lot grocery store, Tyrone, Pa.
Alicia Chiang
News Lab at Penn State
Shoppers are finding their grocery budgets don't stretch as far as they used to at the Save A Lot grocery store in Tyrone, Pa. and elsewhere.

Sale items, clearance products, and a new diet recently found their way into Mary Shingler’s everyday life, as she looks for ways to stretch her dollar amid the rising cost of living.

“I’m the only human in my household,” Mary, 74, said. “I would be very frightened if I had a family.”

Now, Mary lives with her “partner,” her dog Peaceful. Although Peaceful’s premium dog food increased from $42 for a 38-pound bag, to $60, Mary thinks she’s cheaper than an additional mouth like a baby or her late husband would cost her.

Mary lives frugally, using halogen bulbs, a space heater, and turning lights off when she exits a room.

Her electricity bill dropped by $60 when she stopped using a mini fridge in her bedroom.

But filling up her two oil tanks the week of Christmas cost her $1,500.

Living just outside of Tyrone in Warriors Mark, Mary typically does her food shopping at The Village Pantry. Groceries run her $150-200 a month, with several $15 or $20 stops in between, but Mary finds savings in growing her own fruits and vegetables.

Meals still look different for Mary though. With the price of eggs up, her breakfast of a fried egg and toast is now a piece of peanut butter toast.

But Mary sees the positive. Buying whatever ingredients are on sale forces her to learn new recipes, keeps her busy, and contributes to “community smorgasbords.”

Knowing her parents made it through the Great Depression shows her that the ebbs and flows of the economy will eventually settle, even though she doesn’t know when that may be.

Read the rest of the profiles of Tyrone area residents Navigating Inflation.

Makenzie Christman is a student reporter at the News Lab at Penn State.
Related Content