Kat Johnston didn’t expect the pandemic to make her less stressed about her finances. After all, she temporarily lost her job at the library where she worked full time. But, like many Americans, she found an unexpected reprieve from money worries: Months at home limited her spending, and she received expanded unemployment insurance and two one-time checks from the government.

“When I first came back to work, I had probably $2,200 in savings — which I know is not much, but it’s more than I’d had in a while,” she said. But it was no match for the inflation that has come since. “That savings is pretty much gone now. As things have gotten so expensive, it’s been almost a paycheck-to-paycheck life.”

Ms. Johnston, 31, lives in the Dallas area in a studio apartment and had hoped to upgrade to a one-bedroom — her cat will occasionally use her bed as a litter box, so being able to shut the door would be good. Yet rent is increasing enough that she is considering moving in with a roommate instead.

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