WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Millions of Americans struggling with higher costs from goods continue to share their stories with DC News Now how inflation impacts their daily lives.
In a DC News Now series documenting the local impact of higher prices called ‘Inflation and You,’ a longtime DC resident described how she earns extra money as a gig worker as a rideshare and delivery driver.
Nicole Howard is in the driver’s seat–cashing in by clocking in with Lyft, Uber and Shipt.
For nearly 20 years Howard said she made a living working for a restaurant and entrepreneurs–but in 2016, it was time for a change.
“These last few years I’ve been doing rideshare, and I feel like it’s a service to the community. I feel like that’s my passion, that’s the way I give back to the community, and I get paid to do it,” she said.
When she’s not doing administrative work with a church, Howard said driving as a rideshare driver is rewarding; and not just for the extra cash as overhead prices remain high.
“Sometimes I go, ‘oh my God, it’s back up to $40 a tank,’ or I’m like, ‘phew! 42 bucks!”
While Howard said the additional income helps her, she’s cognizant of her customers’ day-to-day concerns, saying, “some people get in here, maybe they’re a little upset and I go, ‘maybe this ride is costing them a lot,” Howard said, describing how she’s cognizant of her customers’ day-to-day concerns.
While driving Howard has stumbled on special stories about how people in the DMV have been supported when money was tight.
“One man told me his grandmother paid for his education. He said, ‘my parents were teachers,’ it was time for me to go to school. On their salaries, they couldn’t send me…” “…she [grandmother] had already retired. She said, ‘no grandson of mine won’t get a degree, and his grandma paid for his education,” she recalled of the passenger’s story.
While Howard said her family is financially stable, the extra time consumed by her driving pays off in more ways than one, saying, “I don’t have to worry, but there are times when I say, ‘girl you’ve got to get out there and take these rides…” “…I was able to take control over my schedule so, I have the schedule flexibility, I can take off when I want.” “It’s also fun.”>
Consumers can save as gas prices trend upward with apps like Upside, which gives drivers cash back at certain pumps. AAA and Gas Buddy are among the resources that show consumers where the lowest fuel prices are in real-time.
Various credit card companies also offer cash back rewards for gas purchases.
DC News Now wants to hear from you! How have you been faring amid inflation? How are you cutting costs, and what are you hoping to learn to Stretch Your Dollar? Email Ben Dennis at email@example.com.