Inflation is costing the average family an extra $276/month: Where prices are rising the fastest

MADISON, Wis.– There’s no way to spin it: Consumer prices continue to rise faster than predicted.

The price of gasoline is up 40% from February 2021, tied with used cars at the top of the list. Rental cars, transportation, and hotel room prices are up too, more than 20% apiece, while food prices rose at both restaurants (6.4%) and grocery stores (7.4%). Furniture, household energy, appliances, housing, clothing, airfare, rent, and alcohol all cost more than this time last year.

Moody’s estimates price hikes are costing the average American family an extra $276/month.

Why is this happening?

According to the Labor Department, the main problems are still supply chain and staffing shortages. That means that although workers are making more money — wages rose 6% in 2021 — they didn’t keep up with inflation, which is now approaching 10%.

“I always tell people: Remember when you took that Econ 101 course?” Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz told News 3 Now. “When demand is high and supply is low, that drives prices up.”

When will this end?

Most economists expect prices will continue to rise for at least the next few months.

“Until we can bring supply back to meet demand, where it was pre-pandemic, I’m afraid this is going to continue,” Scholz said.

“That means a lot of Americans are falling behind every single pay period,” noted CBS Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger.

In the meantime, what can you do?

There are a few things consumers can do to save money, especially at the grocery store. AAA suggests simple changes: buying basics in bulk when possible, planning meals ahead of time, and shopping for generic, rather than name, brands.

Saving money on gas can be a little more difficult, but it’s still doable. AAA Wisconsin spokesman Nick Jarmusz recommends multi-vehicle families rely mainly on the car that gets the best gas mileage. That, coupled with driving at a consistent speed and slowing down to 55 mph on the interstate, can conserve a substantial amount of fuel.

“It really can add up,” Jarmusz explained. “If you’re driving in a really conscientious manner, you can increase your fuel efficiency by 25% or more, which at today’s gas prices, is certainly going to make a difference.”

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