MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Inflation is at a 40-year high and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports prices for food rose nearly 12% over the past 12 months, and lately even a good deal can be hard to find.

Debra Lewis looks for deals every week. She said, “I’ve done it over, over several years. But, you know, I’d read something and it kind of would stick with me. And it’s a learning process.”

Lately, she said it’s harder to find good deals. Lewis said, “I used to be able to buy a T-bone steak for 2.99 a pound. Now the sale is 5.99. Now they’re trying to go to 6.99 a pound.”

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports we’re seeing the largest 12-month increase in at-home food prices since 1979.

And local farmers say it’s pricing them out of putting food on the table. Hobbyist at T&G Poultry Tony Mashburn said, “It’s getting to the point that the regular, everyday, blue-collar people are having a harder time of investing in small farms.”

Mashburn said he keeps fewer birds than he did two years ago to stay afloat. He said, “It’s costing us more to do it. Then we can get back out of it.”

For others, even downsizing is not enough. Owner of Whitehouse Farms, Samantha White said, “It’s put several people I know out of business in our local area. Several have, or used to have beautiful, beautiful flocks of chickens and lots of eggs rolling in and just couldn’t afford anymore, so they had to sell them off.”

Farmers who spoke with WKRG News 5 said climbing feed costs are one of their biggest struggles.

St. Elmo Feed & Seed Manager Tracy McCarter said, “My chicken feed just six, eight months ago I was selling a 50-pound bag for 11. I’m now at 15.”

St. Elmo Feed and Seed has been open since the 1950s, but its manager says she’s never seen prices this high. McCarter said, “Generally at this time of year. The number one topic of conversation around here is what do you think Alabama is going to do this year? Now it’s how are we going to survive this?”

As costs continue rising, keeping food from slicing your budget becomes more important. Lewis said, “Pay attention to the date that the sale runs.”

According to Lewis, some savings tricks can make a big difference. She said, “Watch the ads two to three weeks before a holiday. That’s when you have the things come out on sale that you’d want for your holiday meal.”

She also suggests watching for BOGO (buy one get one free) deals, looking at weekly store ads, and looking at the price per item at the grocery store. Lewis said, “You buy a little bit more stock than what you use because when it comes back on sale, then you can catch the sale again.” 

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