Food costs going up

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You may have already noticed that you're paying more for groceries. Consumer costs are expected to increase up 2.5 to 3.5% this year.

People may really feel the pinch in the produce aisle. Last summer's drought is now taking a toll, so if you're buying fruits or vegetables, you will no doubt feel an increase.

Last year produce prices actually went down. But if you look at the past three years, you're looking at a total increase of about ten percent. So this could really have an affect on your budget.

Across the board, when it comes to dairy products, eggs, just about all of the staples, you will see some increase. In some cases it could just be a matter of a few cents.

But there is one item where there will be a serious spike. If you eat a lot of meat, prepare to dish out a lot more money.

"The grain and the feed that go into livestock were hit pretty hard by the drought," said Professor Matt Will of the University of Indianapolis. "The consequence is going to be less food for the animals, less livestock, and therefore an increase in those prices. So people should be prepared for an increase in their meat."

How much more? If you spend $6,100 a year on groceries, at the national average of about $500 a month, you can expect to add $200 a year to that - or about $17 a month.

Still, buying groceries and cooking at home remains a much, much cheaper option than going out to eat.