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Families continue to grapple with rising costs of food as inflation stays high

Families continue to grapple with rising costs of food as inflation stays high
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Posted at 7:01 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 19:01:40-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — The cost of inflation continues to impact families who are working to make ends meet, as new numbers released Wednesday show US inflation hit 9.1 percent over the past year, the highest rate in four decades.

Kiki Garza and Christopher Holland know the pinch rising costs and expenses can have on a family.

“We just got notified that our rent was going up $300. That starts in three months. In the same breath, our food stamps got cut off. I’m a working mom, he’s a stay-at-home dad,” said Garza. “So our groceries went from what we would allow, maybe $400 a month, to like sometimes $180 or $200, cut in half.”

Like many other families, they’ve had to find ways to cut back.

“Instead of getting tortillas, now we get like the tortilla mix. Instead of like three gallons of milk, we get one,” said Garza.

ABC Action News looked into the price of some necessities comparing June 2021 to June 2022. US Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the average price of milk was $3.56 compared to $4.15 in June 2022, eggs were $1.64 and are now $2.71, and bread was $1.51 compared to $1.69 in June 2022.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Wednesday the Consumer Price Index increased 1.3 percent in June. It also reported that the all items index increased 9.1 percent for the 12 months ending June, the largest 12 month increase since 1981.

“The reality is it is a look in the rear-view mirror, and we know right now that gas prices are falling, and I actually expect them to continue to fall a little bit, but not a ton,” said Tom Smythe, a Professor of Finance at Florida Gulf Coast University.

He added, “Gas is only one component of the inflation index, so here in Florida, we’re still very much impacted for instance by the housing component. So will it be better? It may not be as fast.”

Smythe also shared some solutions to the inflation problem to get it under control.

“The Fed has sort of a two-way front here. There’s a part of this inflation story, the supply chain, that they have absolutely no control over,” said Smythe.

He continued, “Unfortunately, the administration is blaming everything on the supply chain problems, when in fact there’s this massive amount of money sitting in the system that people want to spend. That’s what we call demand-side inflation. That’s the piece that the Fed can impact with rates. That’s why I say the Fed needs to come out very aggressively and attack that demand-side, and until they do, we’re going to have this two-pronged approach to inflation to continue to go forward until that money runs out of the system."

When it comes to ways to save, Dave Duquette, a financial advisor and President of Impact Medical Advisors, said making sure you have an inflation-adjusted emergency fund is key, while also saying to pay attention to what you like to spend on, your spending habits, and your waste.

“Those that are pretty tight with that surplus really need to focus in and look at their cash flow, look at their budget, look at their spending plan, and identify where they can trim the fat,” said Duquette.