BUFFALO, N.Y. — The U.S. inflation rate keeps soaring.
The March figure is now at 8.5% - which means, the cost of food, gas and other goods is rising at a concerning rate.
Professor Fred Floss is the Co-Director of the Center for Economic Education at Buffalo State College, and says, the dynamic of the current market is a reflection of the instability the economy has seen for quite a while.
"Part of all of this volatility is simply the economy's way of trying to get back to normal. Food is actually going to be much more expensive than it was a year ago, and even two years ago. So we're going to have to be careful about what we buy," Floss says. "The big spike spike is in meat. And that's growing at about 13% a year, over the last year."
However, it's important to consider, as Floss explains, that the Consumer Price Index looks at the same kind of food as a group. So, if you decide not to buy steak and buy pork instead because it's cheaper, that's not going to be caught in the CPI.
"To the extent that people can look for sales if they can look for substitutes for things that they may want to have on the holiday table over the next week. That's something that they should be actively trying to do right now," Floss says.
It's also important to remember, for the sake of context, that we're coming from a very low pandemic year.
"If we were to go back two or three years, this price increase wouldn't look so big. We have these numbers still because of the pandemic," Floss emphasizes. "I think we can start to see slowly that people are starting to worry about their spending habits and are starting to self-correct, which means that we should start to see these prices slowly come down, or at least not go up as fast."
So, if you are planning a big get-together or family dinner for the holidays, how can you save?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Create a budget and a shopping list
- Cut out coupons, check for sales, bring a savings card before you head out to shop
- Compare grocery prices from different stores before you buy
- Minimize trips to the grocery store(s) to save on gas
- Consider budget-friendly recipes (i.e. casseroles, meatloaf, etc.)
- Incorporate meatless options
- Host a potluck
Floss tells 2 On Your Side, that while numbers are intimidating right now, they won't be this high forever. "As we're starting to already see, for example, gasoline prices come down. You're gonna see the same thing happen in food and other goods."