Consumer Alert: An in-depth look at Biden’s plan to fight inflation. Will it help?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — "I feel your pain." That was the primary message in President Biden’s Tuesday speech on his plan to tackle inflation. I listened to the speech and read the lengthy statement from the White House. And the president had nothing in his plan that will turn things around in the short term.

That’s because the president has few tools to bring down prices. And that’s bad news for you and me. If inflation continues at the current rate, by the end of the year, the average driver will likely spend $2,000 more on gas, and the average household will spend $1,000 more on food.

For example, in the report released last month on consumer inflation, we learned that the cost of flour butter, margarine, meat, poultry and fish were all up about 14%.

We were paying about 13% more for milk, 11% more for eggs and about 10% more for fruit. We spent more bread on bread as well, about 7%. And veggies were up about 6%.

On Wednesday, a new inflation report comes out, and it’s likely going to be worse. So before that report takes our breath away, President Biden talked about his plan to curb inflation. And the first topic he tackled was the Federal Reserve.

"The fed has dual responsibilities,” President Biden said during a press conference. “First is achieving maximum employment. Second is stable prices. And while I’ll never interfere with the fed’s judgments and decisions and tell them what they have to do, they’re independent, they’re independent, I believe inflation is our top economic challenge right now. And I think they do too."

That statement shouldn’t escape us. The fed is independent. That’s by design. It should not be pressured by the politics of the president or anyone else for that matter. But it’s also a reminder that the president has no power to force the folks with the greatest impact on inflation to do what he wants.

Here are some other things he outlined in his fight against inflation:

  • Lower the cost of prescription drugs. That takes Congress.
  • Invest in clean energy to reduce our dependence on oil. That takes Congress.
  • Invest in building a million affordable homes. That takes Congress.
  • Lower the cost of getting goods to market by implementing the Biden Infrastructure law. That takes time.
  • Lower food prices by helping farmers grow more. That takes time.

What his speech said clearly, though he didn’t say the actual words, is that the president alone has few tools to curb inflation. And the known cure for inflation’s ills, raising interest rates, is painful. Remember the recession of the ’80s that stopped the inflation of the ’70s? What politicians seem reluctant to tell us as consumers is the disease of inflation and its cure are going to hurt. And we’ll feel the pain for a long while.

So we have to take action to save money. Here’s Deanna’s Do List to save money every time you go to the grocery store.

  1. Shop on Wednesday morning. The new deals will be starting and grocers often continue to honor the old deals the week before.
  2. Find out when your store does meat markdowns.
  3. Tip-toe and squat. That’s because more expensive name brands are usually at eye level. The less expensive products are usually on high or low shelves.
  4. Buy frozen veggies. They’re cheaper, have the same nutritional value, and last longer.
  5. Buy your staples at discount grocers. The Today Show recently released a list of the 13 cheapest grocery stores in the country. We have four of them in the Rochester area: Aldi’s, Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.

Rebate apps are great because they actually pay you to shop. Here’s a list of some of them:

  1. Ibotta: iOS and Android
  2. Dosh: iOS and Android
  3. Checkout 51: iOS and Android
  4. iOS and Android
  5. Receipt Hog: iOS and Android