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HIGH costs have been hurting Americans’ wallets for a while now – but there’s another sneaky surprise you may come across at the grocery store.

This is known as shrinkflation, which companies are using to not only scale down the size but aren't even lowering the price of their products.

1The economist reveals what you need to be aware of when going to the grocery store

For many, inflation has been the most notable factor, with the most recent data showing that the rate was pegged at 9.

1%.

But both have been negatively impacting Americans and have forced them to try and reduce expenditures in anyways possible.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said that consumers are buying less or forgoing purchases.

“We've heard from the retail trade where, for example, consumers may be purchasing a half gallon of milk instead of a full gallon, just simply so they could avoid the cost of the gallon,” Mr Hamrick said.

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Now, while the hope is that this will help consumers avoid the “maximum expenditure” during a shopping run, this could result in trips to stores frequently.

Mr Hamrick used an example of consumers looking to buy a pound of coffee, but a company has shrunk it down to 12 ounces.

“They're either going to have to reduce their consumption of coffee, or they're going to have to go back to the store to buy another package when that one runs out more quickly.”

He added that it’s a “less than optimal solution”.

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This year, there have been various products at the grocery store that have been scaled down by companies and may have fooled consumers.

According to Mr Hamrick, packaged goods are at the most risk of shrinkflation.

He also named soft drinks including Coca-Cola, as well as snack goods.

Professor Hitendra Chaturvedi with Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business provided a full list of specific items to 12 News Phoenix.

They are listed below along with the size reduction percentage from the original.

  • Crest Toothpaste: 7%
  • Cottonelle: 8%
  • Charmin: 8%
  • Chobani: 15%
  • Dove body wash: 8%
  • Folger: 15%
  • M&M Keebler cookies: 14%
  • Gain detergent: 7%
  • GM Cereals: 5% 
  • Safeguard soap: 20% 
  • Strawberry Quaker Oats: 20%
  • Sun-Maid Raisins: 11%
  • Tostitos hint of lime chips: 15% 

And then there’s also Gatorade bottles, which have been sized down to 28 ounces from 32 ounces.

Do you need to worry about this in restaurants?

Along with grocery stores, some restaurants are doing the same thing.

Specifically, fast-food restaurants including Burger King and Subway have reportedly shrunk their items.

In particular, Subway’s rotisserie chicken wraps and sandwiches contain less meat, according to Bloomberg.

Some restaurants have also switched to cheaper cuts of beef to navigate around rising costs.

Moreover, steakhouse chain J. Alexander’s uses trimmings from filet mignon (which used to get thrown away) to make cheeseburgers, according to Bloomberg.

How to avoid becoming victims of shrinkflation

More than ever now, you need to be aware of what you’re buying whether you’re at a restaurant or buying groceries.

At a restaurant, Mr recommends doing two things to mitigate the financial impact and get your money’s worth.

One thing you can do is have a conversation with the waiter or waitress and find out how large the servings are.

And interestingly enough, Mr Hamrick noted that restaurants have a reputation for over-serving customers.

If you find that to be the case, you could propose to split a meal with a family member.

“For example, something like a salad, which very often has a high-calorie count because of fat-laden dressings, it's a good strategy to consider splitting something or to buy appetizers with smaller serving sizes or smaller servings,” Mr Hamrick said.

Or of course, there’s always the option of eating half of your meal at the restaurants and taking the rest home for leftover.

Essentially, that turns into two meals instead of one.

At the grocery store, Mr Hamrick said that you need to be aware of the unit price of the product.

And then you need to determine whether you are better off buying a “smaller or a larger size”.

“I think all too often people end up buying much more than they need and end up spending more than they ought to,” Mr Hamrick said.

One money-saving mom recently laid out five tips on how you can cut your grocery bill by hundreds of dollars each month, which includes taking weekly inventory and meal planning.

How to manage finances now

Given high inflation and risk of recession, many Americans may not know how they should manage their money at the moment.

But regardless of what happens, everything starts with a budget, according to Mr Hamrick.

This includes “knowing where the money's coming in, how much money's coming in [and] where the money's going out,” he said.

“There's a risk that people have experienced some changes in their expenditures that they may or may not be aware of so much, it's probably worth investing some time to know what we're spending money on these days.”

And given that interest rates are set to continue to rise, Mr Hamrick said that it’s best to pay off any credit card debt now.

“The bank rate average on credit cards right now is just about 17%, he said.

“And obviously, you begin to accrue that rate of interest in failing to pay off the balance after a month's time.”

But despite some of the concerns, the overall state of the economy remains strong – with there being 10.7million job openings, as of June.

And Mr Hamrick recommends taking advantage of that while it lasts whether you are looking for employment or “asking for a raise” at your current job.

Moreover, make sure you keep emergency and retirement savings in mind.

Emergency savings come in hand for a financial disaster or an unexpected life change.

“Whether it's a trip to the emergency room, a repair at home, or a car repair, these unexpected events should be expected in the course of our daily lives,” Hamrick said.

“They're essentially not avoidable and some people may turn to credit cards if they don't have money in the bank,” he added.

Under retirement savings including 401ks, keep in mind that these are technically considered investments.

Meaning, turning a profit is never guaranteed – in fact, the value of your assets could even fall.

But historically big indexes including the S&P 500 produce favorable returns.

From 1957 to 2021, the benchmark has gained an average of 10.5% per year.

However, the stock market is down this year as investors remain spooked on recession and inflation fears.

That said, if you choose to invest now you are buying at a lower price.

“You need to maintain a disciplined investment process that very often is tied to a 401K plan, which very often is also supplemented by employer contributions.”

While the employer contribution could vary, most match up to 6% of your salary.

For more related stories, see three ways to fix your budget as social media pushes Americans into bad money habits.

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A money coach reveals how you could reduce your grocery bill by $250 per month.

And a budgeting mom bought two dinners at Walmart and Aldi for $2 each.

News Source: the-sun.com

Tags: inflation fast food burger king subway credit card food inflation money saving money us retail money’s coming where the money’s the money’s coming retirement savings that it’s at the grocery store at the grocery store restaurants your grocery bill going shrinkflation some restaurants at a restaurant whether you at a restaurant more than they very often price credit cards for example for example

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Next News:

I’m a savvy shopper & buy my Christmas presents from charity shops – I’ve got some absolute bargains for just 50p

WHEN it comes to Christmas, we're all guilty of splashing out on lavish gifts for our loved ones.

But with the cost-of-living crisis causing bills to soar, it's likely that spending habits this festive period will be different.

3Francesca explained how she found the perfect Christmas gifts from her niece - and they're all second-handCredit: tiktok 3The Barbie tie-dye kit cost Francesca just 50p and is still sealedCredit: tiktok

Luckily, one woman named Francesca, who posts under the acronym @francescacharityshop, took to TikTok to prove you haven't got to spend a small fortune to get some incredible gifts.

In the video, she begins: "If my brother and sister-in-law are watching, stop right now, because these are Christmas gifts I've got for my niece.

"I've spent £2.50 - they're all brand new, in packaging and still sealed."

She then goes on to explain that the first thing she got her was a 'make your own cushion' set which cost her just 50p.

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Keeping prices low, she continues: "The second thing I got her was this Barbie tie-dye kit.

"That was 50p, still packaged."

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Finally, Francesca concludes: "Then I got her this tie dye set - like make your own tie dye bag.

"I was actually thinking about keeping it for myself but I'm sure my nine-year-old niece would benefit from it more than me - and that was £1.50."

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She captioned the post: "Let's save our money together!"

The post has since racked up over 50,000 views and been flooded with comments online.

"Nice one!" enthused one.

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A second praised: "They're gorgeous!"

However, another added: "The charity shops by me want £20 for a £5 primary t-shirt."

3The 'make your own cushion' set also cost just 50pCredit: tiktok Topics
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  • Cost of living
  • Money saving
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