Maggie: Have some of you noticed fewer of your favorite snacks around the house recently? Well, it could be because of rising food prices. As Scott Evans finds out, whoever is going to buy the groceries might be feeling a bigger pinch in the wallet.
Jen Singer: I’d like the government to stop by my house, come food shopping with me and see where the real costs are.
Scott: Jen Singer is the mother of two teenage boys and says she wrestles to keep her grocery list, a major part of her household budget, under control each week.
Singer: We go through one of these every couple days. It’s a big part of my take-home pay. An apple a day? You can’t afford it at these prices. Saved 90 cents.
Scott: It is not her imagination. While the government says prices are up 6.4% since 2011, chicken is up 18.4%, ground beef up 16.8% and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8%.
Singer: Oh my god!
Scott: So when it goes on sale, there is cause for celebration.
Singer: Bacon for three bucks! Things that are going up in price are the things that I absolutely need to buy. It’s the meat, it’s the milk, it’s the eggs. And it’s getting out of hand. Eight dollars and thirty-two cents for this.
Scott: Nick Colas is a market strategist.
Nick Colas: Moms can really tell the government a lot about inflation. Food inflation is far greater than the government thinks it is.
Scott: While costs soar for families, the amount of money that families make isn’t budging.
Singer: If my income isn’t going up, how am I going to keep up with inflation?
Scott: The average income is up only 1% a year, making it hard for Singer to put away for the future, like college tuition which has been rising 6% to 8% every year for five decades.
Singer: The price of college is terrifying and so we’re looking at cheaper schools or scholarships, I hope. You know, run faster in track! That would really help me out a lot.
Scott: Many are concerned that while economists paint a picture that isn’t really accurate, middle class families are quietly struggling.
Colas: The disconnect is severe because it’s the economists that make policy but it’s the people that deliver the outcome of that policy. And that disconnect is growing to the point where I think it has to break soon.
Scott: Many households don’t even have the basic tools to save. According to a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a third of households don’t even have a savings account and nearly half are living paycheck to paycheck with virtually no savings to fall back on in the case of a job loss or major health crisis.
Singer: Now I keep the heat down. We might as well wear a parka around here because it is the only way I can save money on heating.
Scott: As the costs go higher and the budget battle continues…
Singer: Now this is a great price.
Scott: Every now and then…
Computer: Savings: $6.
Scott: A victory.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.
Maggie: Want to sound smart and impress the rents with some moneysaving tips at the grocery store? Tell them to avoid the middle aisles and the prepared foods sections, two of the most expensive areas in the grocery store.