ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The stateline has seen the cost of nearly everything go up since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Some community members said that they have had to cut down on unnecessary expenses due to inflation concerns. Gas, groceries, utilities and even basic essentials have gone through the roof.

“So, I have to watch the gas prices, I have to watch the store prices, and when you are on a fixed income and the way your pays are you have to buy what you can, buy when you can buy it,” said local shopper Mattie Dismuke.

Dismuke is having to budget more than ever right now, even using coupons to save a little bit of money.

“I clip more coupons than I ever had, so it’s making it balance out for me, so now it’s like, ‘okay, you can’t just spend like you used to.’ Go in and buy things now you, can’t do that anymore,” Dismuke said.

Both Dismuke and Kizzy Hitchcock, another local shopper, noticed that many local stores are out of a lot of things, and if people do find what they are looking for, it will probably cost more.

“You know, on even meat, so it’s like you don’t know,” Hitchcock said. “Even the cheap meat is even high.”

Dr. Carl Campbell, chair of the Department of Economics at Northern Illinois University, said that, while inflation happens, the pandemic is fueling it right now.

“People spending more is what is causing the inflation,” Campbell said. “If people were to spend less that would reduce the inflation, but there is no real way to get people to spend less, except raising interest rates.”

However, Campbell said that there is a bright spot.

“So even though we have seen a large raise in prices since the pandemic started, actually wages have risen a little bit more than prices, so people are coming out ahead a little bit so far,” Campbell said.

Dismuke hopes that it gets better, and is taking it day by day.

“Better than what it is, that’s all, it is just better than what it is,” Dismuke said. “Gas, so we can afford to go to work, found that we can afford to eat.”

While it is not fun to deal with right now, the inflation will level out in time, according to Campbell. He advised people to only buy what they really need.