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USDA expects families to pay more at the grocery store

3:15 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Prices at the grocery store are on the rise.  According to the USDA, the average family will be spending more in 2013.

It's a trip Katina Hick dreads.  The weekly stop at the grocery store.  She said she spent, "$187."

If you haven't yet felt the recent price spikes, you will soon.  In its 2013 predictions, the USDA believes every category of food will increase this year.  Fresh vegetables will shoot up 4 to 5 percent.  Dairy products up 3.5 to 4.5 percent.

Across all categories, the average hikes will be 3 to 4 percent, including food you buy at restaurants.  Because of that, Hick said, "I had to put some back actually, I had a basket, I had to go back because I couldn't afford it all."

Jacksonville University Professor of Economics Dr. Rody Borg said there a simple reason for the higher prices we are going to pay this year.  "Food prices are a problem, there a huge problem in the United States, there also a huge problem internationally," he explained.

He said there are many factors for the higher food prices, but one of the big reasons is a shortage of something we can't produce:  Rain. 

"The drought that we've got right now, this is the worst drought in 60 years," Borg said.

There are ways to save, including using coupons.  But, Dr. Borg said many of us are literally throwing money down the drain by not eating our own leftovers.  He said, "When you got ready to take the trash out, and simply weighed it simply ask yourself how much it cost me to get food on  a pound basis, that's how much money you are throwing away."

And with prices not going back down anytime soon, the jump has left Mrs. Hick juggling her finances, just to feed her family of four.  "It cuts into your other bills, then you have to hold off on this and pay it next week, because you have to eat," she explained. 

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