I am an American with a white collar career. I lost my job during the pandemic and had to move to a small town for the only job I could find at the time. Unfortunately this town "boomed" later in the pandemic, with people fleeing from nearby cities to live here. This combined with inflation has increased the cost of living dramatically; my rent will go up $200/month when I renew my contract, and there are no other properties on the market (the nearest rental I could find is over an hour away). I already scrimp and save; I will need a raise in order to continue living here.
I have been on the job for 11 months now, made top marks in my latest evaluation, put some serious work into projects that have gotten me a lot of praise, and would normally ask for an annual raise in a couple months anyway. My boss and I get along well too. My company is giving a 3% raise to all employees, but that will not cover the increase in cost of living and does not kick in till next year besides. How can I explain this to my boss without seeming ungrateful?
Please do not suggest finding another job; that is the obvious answer if push comes to shove, but it's not what I'm asking about here.