The Consumer Price Index Increase for 2011

18 03 2011

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food increased 0.8 percent in 2010 and is forecast to increase 3 to 4 percent in 2011.  A somewhat large increase since 2010 and it will probably continue to rise as the years pass.

What can we do, as consumers, to somewhat shelter our money from the rising food prices?  One might suggest to shop in bulk.  Others might say shop during the sales.  Both are great options but if our money is going to compete with inflation our salaries should increase concurrently with inflation.  However, that is not always the case.  As evidenced in the most recent economic slowdown, employees were laid off, denied raises and bonuses and many have experienced pay cuts.  During tough economic times, it is up to the consumer to manage their finances so they will not spend more than they earn.  We will need to shelter our current income stream.

How does one shelter their income stream to keep up with inflation when their salary has not?  Here are suggestions for preparing yourself during the recent Consumer Price Index hike.

  • Save More, Spend Less.  It is important to realize how much money leaves your pocket every month.  The less you spend the more your savings are retained.  Withhold from major purchases if you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck.
  • Freeze Food.  Freezing perishables such as vegetables and meats will prevent them from spoiling when they weren’t cooked in time.  Extend the life of your food and save money doing so.
  • Shop Sales.  Grocery shopping around sales is a smart move to make.  Why pay full price for an item when there are always weekly sales?  Plan meals around those sale.
  • Use Coupons.  Compound coupons with sales and you have double savings!  Also, you don’t have to purchase the Sunday paper to find coupons.  Some cities deliver them to your door for free(!) along with manufacturer circulars.  Don’t be shy, ask your friends for coupons if they aren’t clipping them.  Host a coupon swap meet at the beginning of every week or month.
  • Be a Smart Shopper.  Research where to find the best deals.  Often times we shop at certain stores because of the convenience factor.  While that may not be such a bad thing, there are times when you have to shy away from that because of the negative money flow.  The extra 10 minute drive can possibly save you $20 or more on grocery purchases.  Review store circulars, ask about their coupon doubling policy.
  • Find a Part-Time Job.  If you find yourself unable to keep up with the rising prices of food and other items in general, see if you can find a part-time job during the nights or weekends.  The extra income can supplement the rising prices until the economy levels out. 

While the prices of food continue to rise just as the sun does each morning, we can find ways to beat the impact it has on our wallets.  With careful planning and smart shopping we too can manage the effects of the rising Consumer Price Index.

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