Consumer Alert: Prices are skyrocketing. Here’s how to get the most for your grocery buck.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Today, Deanna Dewberry is alerting you to something affecting anyone who eats, drives, or gets a haircut.
These days I am admittedly a little nervous when I check my phone the morning the Consumer Price Index (CPI) comes out. Today, we learned the CPI for May spiked 5 percent since this time last year. That’s the biggest annual jump since 2008, and it indicated what we all are feeling. Prices continue to skyrocket, and we’re being squeezed.
For example, my kids love bacon, but mama’s now wondering if I make enough bacon to continue to buy it. Before the pandemic, we were paying an average of $4.72 for a 16-ounce package of bacon.
In April, we paid $5.23, and last month we paid $5.40. Beef is not much better. Before the pandemic, the average price of ground beef per pound was $5.02. In April, it was $5.27, and in May it was $5.32.
And eating out is taking a bite out of your wallet, too. Restaurants are raising wages to attract workers and passing the cost along to us. For example, last month Chipotle announced it’s raising workers’ wages to $15 an hour. This week, it announced its raising prices by 4%. Experts argue some inflationary pressures are expected as we slowly recover from pandemic paralysis.
To a great extent, Wednesday’s paralysis is causing today’s price pump. One big example is the huge shortage of semiconductor chips, and you certainly can’t have just one of those chips. Semiconductors are needed for everything from your car to your computer. When the economy came to a halt, chip manufacturing did, too. Now there are not enough to keep up with demand. That led to a 1.6% month-over-month May increase in the price of new cars, triggering a whopping 7.3% spike in the price of used ones.
How long might this last? That’s the million-dollar question. Federal Reserve leaders say inflation is temporary, and they’re not taking steps to stop it because they don’t want the economy to cool before we reach full employment. And they remind us that the year-over-year inflation numbers look really high because the numbers last year during the pandemic were unusually low. That said, I know I’ve never paid this for a package of bacon.
So what we, as consumers, can do during price hikes is change the products we use, and where we shop for staples. Those are things we need to buy every week. I’m trying to convince my kids that breakfast without bacon works well too, but so far, I’ve not had much luck. But I’ve changed where and when I buy the bacon.
Here’s Deanna’s Do List to save on groceries as well as the best rebate apps for groceries.
1. Shop on Wednesday morning. That’s because most grocers launch the week’s sales on Wednesday and often on Wednesday morning they’ll honor the sales for both weeks.
2. Find out when your store does meat markdowns.
3. Tip-toe and squat. That’s because grocers put the most expensive items at eye level. The lowest-priced items are either up high or down low.
4. Buy frozen veggies. They’re just as nutritious and the fresh ones and much cheaper.
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: