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Shoppers rethink holiday spending as consumer prices surge nationwide

Consumer price index for October spiked to 6.2 percent, the highest since December 1990.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — If you've noticed you're paying more for groceries, gas and other items, you're not alone.

"In the last ten days to two weeks, I definitely felt [prices] were going up...I have four kids, I know when things go up," said shopper Emily Fees.

Inflation is behind the recent rise in prices. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the consumer price index for October surged to 6.2%, the highest in 30 years.

"As a result, supplies are being limited. People have more money from the stimulus, so that’s what’s driving prices up," said Brent Ambrose, a business professor at Penn State University.

Economists say in the past month:

  • Food prices have spiked 0.9% to 5.3%.
  • Energy prices jumped 4.8 %.
  • Housing costs increased 0.5 %.
  • Used car prices surged to 26.4% from October 2020.

"There’s a global shortage of computer chips - computer chips are now integral into the manufacturing of cars. When there’s a shortage and there's a demand, prices go up," Ambrose added.

With the holidays peaking around the corner, it's forcing shoppers to find alternatives.

"I will buy as needed and not overspend. I’ll use coupons and pay attention to what I’m buying," said Judy Ritter-Dickson, a shopper.

"I’ll just cut back a little bit. It won’t really affect me because I give my family money," said Fees.

Experts say consumers should start budgeting as they predict prices to continue to rise.

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