Oliviah Walker

27, after-school program coordinator

Used to: Eat a lot of fancy, "bourgeoisie food," such as expensive olives.

Now: Buys basics and cheaper store brands; doesn't eat out as much, takes lunch to work, brings her own coffee.

"But if you look at all the staples - rice, bread, milk, eggs - the price of everything is going up. So it's impossible to avoid."


51, photographer

Used to: Eat out a lot.

Now: Buys vegetables at farmers' markets and makes soups in big batches and freezes it.

"Potato soup is easy, cheap and good. ... I hardly ever eat fast food anymore."


49, commercial mechanic

Used to: Buy more meat and fruit.

Now: Can't afford much fruit; stretches the food he buys.

"Casseroles are good, because you can add a pound of hamburger to some noodles and probably feed three people. You won't get full, but you'll survive."

SHadi El-Said

21, supervisor with United Postal Service

Used to: Eat what he wanted, including ice cream and orange juice.

Now: Shops the deals, has pared back on orange juice. "It seems like everything that's good for you - milk, bread, cereal, vegetables, fruit -- has gone up."


48, graphic designer

Used to: Buy steaks and higher-end beef.

Now: Only buys good meat when it's on sale; uses coupons.

"It's an event to go out to eat with my kids."


35, a Christian worker

Used to: Buy lunch out, eat more packaged food.

Now: Makes a big supper, uses leftovers for two days of lunches.

"If it's packaged, like a boxed pizza, it's only good for one meal. But if I bake it myself, it lasts longer."

Chris Serres