Although drivers are seeing a slight break at the pumps, essential needs from clothing to groceries are still taking a big chunk from people's wallets.

That has a lot of people wondering if a recession is around the corner or whether we are already in one. It's a topic of debate among financial experts.

Like most families with kids at home for the summer, Kathy Lawson finds herself at the grocery store more than ever.  

“Normally they're just home for dinner...maybe breakfast," said Lawson who lives in Webster. "But now they're home for breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Her kids are now in high school and college.

“It's nonstop," said Lawson. "They say there's nothing in the house," Lawson laughed.

And as inflation continues to rise, her grocery bill has more than doubled.

“There's no end in sight and I'm worried when is it going to stop? It's not just the grocery store, it's the gas station, it's the cost of clothes."

She is worried a recession may be around the corner.

“It is very scary, it's frustrating," Lawson said. "Because my husband and I have both been teaching over 30 years. We should be able to provide stuff like that easily."

So what is a recession? SUNY Brockport assistant professor of economics Dr. Cameron Harwick puts it simply.

“A recession is a hiccup in people's ability to coordinate with one another," said Harwick. "So I might plan to sell something, but now there’s no one willing to buy. I might want to find a job, but now there’s no one planning to hire.”

Professor Harwick says concerns that a recession might be coming are valid.  

“The bad news is, it’s very hard to come down from high inflation without landing in a Recession," said Harwick. "Because what inflation does is it makes it harder for people to set expectations about what prices to set or what prices to pay.”

The good news is this is much different than the financial crisis of 2008.  

“Post-inflation recessions tend to be pretty short-lived and recovery is pretty fast,” Harwick said.

He says the biggest concern for most Americans should be job security.

“If you’re not at risk of losing your job, there’s really nothing to worry about," said Harwick "Retail jobs tend to be safer than jobs further up the supply chain. Just because business spending is more reactive to economic conditions than consumer spending is.”

He says right now, don’t make any risky investments. And of course, like under any circumstance, put away what you can.  

That’s Karen’s plan.

“One thing we've done is always go on family vacations in the summer, a week-long kind of thing with the boys," Lawson said. "Hotels or something like that. We're not doing that this summer."

She just hopes to weather the storm.

“I can't imagine having a family and having to worry about losing your job because I don't know how you could possibly make ends meet," Lawson said. "It would be really scary."