How people plan to deal with inflation, the unwanted guest, at the Memorial Day BBQ

·3 min read

Inflation is going to get a seat at your picnic table this Memorial Day weekend.

Three-quarters of Americans are expected to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, and among them, 84% expect inflation to have an impact on their Memorial Day shopping, and about 1 in 5 expect it to be significant, according to a survey of 1,200 people between April 28 and May 2 by market intelligence company Numerator.

"Inflation will be making its way to the Memorial Day picnic table, with consumers paying about 13% more for this year's holiday staples,” said Kealind Trent, an analyst for Numerator, which is headquartered in Chicago.

How 'significant' will inflation be for Memorial Day celebrations?

Trent added that “with nearly three-quarters of consumers saying they will cut back on spending this Memorial Day, we're likely to see significant changes in how celebrators prep for their cookouts."

What does this mean for Memorial Day parties?

Consumer inflation has risen at the fastest pace in 40 years and has been hitting consumers hard. With government checks no longer coming and wage increases not keeping up with inflation, consumers have seen their purchasing power decline. Many have had to budget more carefully and cut back on discretionary spending to pay for everyday items like groceries, gas and rent. And Memorial Day celebrations are also feeling the pinch.

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Of those who plan to celebrate, 73% will pare spending. Even though most people (85%) still plan to buy meat, fresh produce (67%) and beer (75%), they’ll be trying to stretch their money with sales (64%) and more coupons (37%), Numerator said.

Another three quarters will buy fewer items, including decorations, this year.

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About half of low-income consumers are more likely not to celebrate this year, the survey said.

That’s likely because low-income consumers have been hit hardest by inflation and have nowhere left to trim, only cut spending.

“Maybe you used to buy Yogurt A, and now you buy Yogurt B because Yogurt B is cheaper," Claudia Macaluso, a Richmond Federal Reserve economist, said in February. "But if you’re a lower-income family, most likely you already consume Yogurt B. The only place for you to go is not to have any yogurt.”

Which food items will cost more?

Below is a list of Memorial Day grocery categories seeing average price increases as of April 2022, versus a year ago:

  • Chips: +20.3%

  • Beef: +20.1%

  • Frozen appetizers: +15.5%

  • Hot dogs: +13.8%

  • Dips: +10.4%

  • Ice cream & novelties: +8.6%

  • Beer: +7.3%

  • Soft drinks: +15.1%

  • Cheese: +5.9%

  • Packaged rolls / buns: +12.5%

  • Vegetables: +9.2%

Medora Lee is a money, markets, and personal finance reporter at USA Today TODAY. You can reach her at mjlee@usatoday.com and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Memorial Day BBQs take hit as food prices soar. What folks are cutting

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