Consumer Alert: Inflation is at 8.5 percent. Here’s what it means for your wallet.

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Today was a really important day for us as consumers.  The inflation report came out.  And there is a lot to unpack here. The number is 8.5 percent.  Here’s what that means to your wallet.  It means it was lighter last month than it was in July of 2021.  But you have more in your wallet than you did in June of this year.  Let me explain.  June’s inflation number was a whopper.  Scary stuff—9.1 percent.

Analysts expected inflation to fall to 8.7 percent in July.  Instead, it fell to 8.5 percent, and that’s good.

So first let’s break down the good news. The price of gas fell dramatically in last month.  Nationally it was 59 cents.  It was only 31 cents in Rochester, but it fell nonetheless.  And here’s some more good news.  The price of used cars came down month over month as well as airfares and hotel prices.  And just in time for back to school, the price of clothing fell month over month, but keep in mind, prices of all those goods are still higher than this time last year.

Here’s the bad news.  Rent prices just kept climbing in July.  And here’s what this means to us.
More than 60 percent of Rochesterians rent.  So when we see spikes in rent, substandard housing is often the only housing much of Rochester’s population can afford.  And that exacerbates a problem that, as my series of investigations have found, was already at crisis levels.

Food also went up month over month.  So now, breakfast cereal is more than 16 percent higher than this time last year. The milk on that cereal is up almost 15 percent. Chicken is almost 18 percent higher.        And eggs are a whopping 38 percent more than a year ago.

So what happens now?  While prices did fall last month, they’re not down far enough to calm inflation fears.  So the fed is going to hike rates again to try to cool this hot economy.  That is without question.  What is in question is how much?  Half a point?  Three quarters?

And here’s something else to keep in mind as we all budget for our families.  Wages have increased 5.2 percent since this time last year.  But inflation increased 8.5 percent over the same period.  Wages have not kept up with inflation.  That’s why even though you may be making more, it doesn’t feel like it.

So 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:

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