Cost of gas, groceries not likely to lower despite easing inflation

Inflation is easing for the first time in more than two years, but families are still paying more for essentials like groceries, clothes, and utilities.

"We used to spend for a family of four, about $100 to $150 a week, and now we’re pushing $200 to $250," said consumer Lisa Stockfish.

Even as inflation gives signs of leveling-off nationwide, Americans have been forced to scale back.

Food prices, housing and fuel are obvious needs, and University of South Florida economics professor Michael Snipes said those costs are not likely to come back down. 

"Because these goods are necessities, because they're things that we need to live, then there's no real reason to, from a producer’s perspective, lower prices back to where they were," said Snipes. "The point is that the prices are still going to be higher than they were."

The jump in prices of essentials has been steep. Jonathan Adams, an assistant professor at UF, says the price of things like gas and groceries typically rise 2-3% a year.

"We usually don't notice it. When it's 10% or something like it was in the past year or two, then we really notice it," explained Adams.

Adams said inflation peaked sometime last year. 

"We continue to expect that inflation is going to slow but not stop. So then you're just being patient for wages and other sources of income to catch up," said Adams.

For anyone looking to limit costs, economists recommend shopping generic brands or bulk shopping.

"Definitely using coupons as much as possible," commented Stockfish. "The grocery store we use has an app, so we do that. "I’ve noticed we’ve had less coupons coming in the mail, so that’s not great but just shopping deals, buying what’s on sale."