SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – More local families are feeling the pinch these days of high prices. Inflation is up 8 percent since last year and consumer prices are up even more.

“Prices are high, everything is high,” said Elizabeth Jenkins, who was shopping with her husband Monday.

Ruthie Thompson was coming out of a store and had just spent $24 but told WSAV it would probably make only one meal. She also said her favorite cereal is up by $2 now.

Natasha Reaves had just spent $135 on about a week’s worth of groceries. She said she’s spending up to $50 more per week now, compared to last year.

“Prices are going up and people can’t afford it,” said Reaves.

All of the local shoppers WSAV spoke to said they are managing so far, but nationwide, more people are turning to credit cards to pay for necessities.

In February, credit card debt increased 21 percent, according to the Federal Reserve.

“The average American has really had to scrimp and save,” said Mitch Kramer, a financial expert. “They’re starting to dip into savings and you’re starting to see credit card balances start to increase.”

Kramer says it’s a mistake to use credit to pay for things like groceries. He says some credit cards carry interest rates of up to 20 percent, and if people don’t pay off balances every month, they end up paying that interest on consumer goods that normally are part of monthly monetary expenses.

Kramer says if you must use a credit card that you need to visit financial sites that offer credit cards at a low interest rate. He also says if families do not have a monthly budget, they should make one and stick to it.

“I would also say that having a budget and using your credit card as an emergency versus
every day will help people gain awareness of just how much money is being spent on credit,” said Kramer.

He also suggests using apps that track how much money you have spent on items like groceries. And he says people may need to get used to the hardships — at least for now.

“Unfortunately, we are going to be seeing higher inflation in the near term before it starts to abate,” said Kramer.