TAMPA, Fla. — It's not hard to notice the impacts the supply chain has had on the prices of day-to-day items. And, if it's not a price hike or shortage, some items are impossible to find altogether.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have risen roughly 4.6 percent in the last year. It's the highest annual increase in inflation we've seen in more than a decade.
So, what can you do?
Dr. Shelton Weeks is the Lucas Professor of Real Estate/Director of the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance at Florida Gulf Coast University.
His first piece of advice is to make a budget.
"Look at the things that you really have to have, put a budget together, and stick to it," Weeks said. "I think people are, not only surprised at what they could do without but they're usually surprised when they go through the exercise at how much they spend on some of these items."
By breaking down your spending, you can look at the areas in which you can save. Weeks said current price hikes and inflation not only have short-term impacts but long-term as well.
"When you think about people living paycheck to paycheck, they're the ones that get hurt the most with inflation," Weeks said.
Consumers are faced with short-term decisions, like deciding between necessary purchases or going into debt to buy the things they need. Without the ability to save, for people with a tight budget, it can affect the ability to buy a home or plan for retirement.
"I don't think the end is necessarily insight because there are some systematic issues that may slow this down," Weeks said in describing when prices may normalize again.
Without an idea of where prices are headed, Weeks said if you don't have a lot of financial wiggle room, the sooner you start planning and budgeting, the better you'll be for it.
His advice on holiday spending follows the same theme, which is plan ahead.
"Avoid procrastinating. Make a plan so that you know when you go out to do your shopping and everything, you have a clear idea of the items you're targeting," Weeks said. "Try to avoid the impulse buy, because those are the things that get us in trouble from a budgetary standpoint."