Families feel sting of higher gas prices

Jump at pump impacting families all across Metro Detroit

By Paula Tutman - Reporter
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The recent jump at the pump is impacting families all across Metro Detroit.                               

Families everywhere are getting a double punch from the soaring prices. Lunch time at the Barney home in Warren isn't what it used to be.

"We use to like to buy the macaroni and cheese that was pre-made. We've had to stop buying that and just buy the Velveeta and the noodles, it's a whole lot cheaper," said mom Melissa Barney.

Drive by any gas station and you will see prices topping $4 a gallon and up. If you ever wondered, how do families make ends meets amidst rising costs, just ask a mom like Melissa, who has five children and two dogs to feed.

"We're like 'what's going on with the economy and gas prices jumping through the roof'", said Barney who says higher gas prices means actually rationing food based on the needs of her children.

"I have my one daughter, who is six, her portion's, she's skinny but her portion's she eats because her metabolism is so high is more than my 13-year-old, so I typically give her the most and then my 13-year-old will get the next because he will eat more and the other ones don't eat as much," said Barney.

Juice is maybe a monthly treat but always watered down 50 percent to make it last, because it's just too expensive, says Barney. Fruit is expensive too, the family only buys apples and last night the kids had cherries for the first time this year. Fresh veggies and lettuce are purchased on clearance and the family says they coupon it big time.

Because, fresh food is so expensive the family will skim on portion size instead of skimping on health.

"I make a pot of food or whatever and typically there is enough for everybody, we try to make sure that there is enough for all the kids and then my husband and I typically will get what's left," she said.

A fast food stops at McDonalds is non-existent for this family, "With seven of us, a simple trip to like McDonalds is $30," Barney said.

It also means her husband who's a landscaper takes a double hit which affects the family's bottom line; Monday his tank was already on Empty.

But even with the juggling act, what makes this mom sad the most is not being able to visit her sister, who's dying of brain, breast and spinal cancer.

The sister lives four hours away and has three children of her own. Her time may be short, but Barney can't even think about driving to see her.

"She' only like what 34-years-old, I want to go spend quality time with my sister, those times that I want to spend with them I can't, because it's too much money in gas. A trip down there and back is at least $200," said Barney.

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