You may have heard that inflation is down overall this month. So, why are groceries still so expensive?
If you talk to almost any shopper at the checkout line these days, you'll get an earful about grocery prices.
"It's really bad. [It] went up so high," Willa Jackson said.
Rich Goldman noticed his weekly grocery bill only goes up.
"Every couple of weeks, it is bigger than it was last time," he said.
Inflation easing, but food prices remain stubbornly high
The inflation rate fell in December to 6.5% percent, with prices dropping in categories like major appliances, electronics, and even gasoline. But if you focus on food, you'll see prices up 11.8% compared to a year earlier.
Items with the biggest increases are:
- Eggs: up 60% in the past year
- Flour: up 23%
- Butter and margarine: up 35%
- Lettuce: up 25%
- Canned fruits and veggies: up 18%
Why is your grocery bill so high, even as inflation comes down? Experts we talked to say food prices are a lot harder to get under control compared to some of those other consumer goods.
Kristin Myers, editor-in-chief of The Balance, says food supplies are impacted by other factors, such as weather.
"Food and energy costs tend to be pretty volatile," she said. "If there is a drought or if there is a cold snap, it's going to impact farmers, for example, and how many crops they're going to be able to grow."
What can you do?
Myers doesn't expect much to change in the near future, so saving on groceries -- in many ways -- is up to you.
She suggests you:
- Start with scrolling through digital coupons before going to the store.
- Always plan your meals and shop with a list.
- Take time to check what's on sale at each store.
- Switch to less expensive store brands.
Because if you don't look for deals these days, Willa Jackson says food is "expensive, very expensive."
Shop the sales, until prices begin to fall, and that way you don't waste your money.
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