Americans Changing The Way They Buy Groceries As Inflation Soars, Study Finds
Man delivering fruit and vegetable box.
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

As you no doubt already know, the cost of nearly everything is soaring.

“Prices for food at home increased 10.8 percent, the largest 12-month percentage increase since the period ending November 1980,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its latest Consumer Price Index data. “Prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 14.3 percent, the largest 12-month percentage increase since a 19.5-percent increase in May 1979. Prices for other major grocery store food groups also rose over the past year, with increases ranging from 7.8 percent for fruits and vegetables to 11.0 percent for other food at home.”

And there’s no end in sight to the skyrocketing prices. According to the American Automobile Association, gas prices are hitting new record highs nearly every day, while diesel gas prices have hit a record $5.64 per gallon. That’s huge because almost everything we buy arrives at stores on trucks.

All of that is forcing people to change the ways they shop in order to make ends meet.

Nearly half (42%) of surveyed adults “are changing how they shop for groceries,” including “opting for cheaper items, avoiding brand names and buying only the essentials,” found the BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos.

The report also found that “46% are either dining out less or consciously spending less when dining out.”

Among other findings:

  • 31% are driving less to offset the soaring cost of gas.
  • 23% are spending less on vacations or canceling them altogether.
  • 22% are taking measures such as canceling subscriptions to the gym, cable, etc.

On grocery shopping, the survey found nearly half of women “plan to adjust the way they shop for groceries (47% vs. 36% men), dine out less (49% vs. 43% for men), and 25% of women plan to cancel subscriptions vs. 20% of men.”

“Prices across the board – from cars and gasoline to groceries and other everyday essentials – are rising at the fastest pace since the 1980s. Consumers must think differently about their finances in this inflationary environment,” Paul Dilda, head of consumer strategy for BMO Harris Bank, said in a press release. “Seek advice from a financial expert on ways to successfully manage your personal finances, from learning ways to save and which types of accounts to use, to moving from knowing what you should do with your money, to actually doing it. By learning about what do to differently, and what not to change, during a period of inflation, consumers can maintain momentum toward their financial goals.”

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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