By Adrienne Moore

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The costs of food, housing and gas are driving inflation to its highest level in 40 years.

A labor department report on Tuesday shows prices in March spiked 8.5%—the fastest inflation rate since 1981. Unless you got an 8.5% raise this past year, you’re making less.

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But how is rising inflation impacting local families? That 8.5% is just the average rise in prices.

The prices are outrageous. Irene Galindo gets sticker shock every time she’s at the grocery store.

“I paid $57. I think six months ago it would have been about 28, 30,” she said.

Galindo said the budget-busting prices from groceries to gas are taking a toll.

“I’ve had to carpool, ask people for rides if they’re going to the grocery store,” she said. “Right now, I’m looking for a weekend job.”

To get by, the mom of three is relying on food banks for the first time in her life.

“It’s a hardship,” Galindo said.

Shoppers say even staple items have doubled.

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A woman named Obdulia says she’s always on the lookout for sales but can’t really afford to shop around.

“Gas is too expensive,” she said.

To hit her weekly $100 food budget, she’s given up meat and fish.

“It’s creating a tough situation for a lot of people,” said Kevin Buffalino with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.

Buffalino said the Sacramento Food Bank is feeding 40% more people than last year.

“We get our food from a number of places,” he said. “And actually, in times of high demand, we’re purchasing food.”

Many experts say March could mark the peak in prices, but they don’t expect them to come back down any time soon.

“Actually, prices will be quite sustained at the levels we have right now for a minimum of another 3-5 months,” said Francesco D’acunto with Boston College.

Galindo said she doesn’t have that kind of time, saying that if costs don’t come down, “We’ll have to move.”

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To put Tuesday’s report in even more context, many economists say a healthy inflation rate is around 2%.

Adrienne Moore