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Once upon a time, groceries fit into my budget pretty easily, because no matter how high certain things got, I was able to maneuver my grocery bill around to get it into an affordable range. Sometimes, that meant cutting back, but over the past few years, no matter how much I finagle things around, I just can’t seem to get my grocery bill back down.

This is a struggle many of us have faced. Over the past few years, necessities, like meat, eggs, dog food, and produce (Hello, $9 a head lettuce, I am looking at you) have skyrocketed. I never in a million years thought eggs would jump from $.60 a dozen in 2019 to $8.00 a dozen in 2023. Thankfully, in the past few weeks, eggs have gone down by a few dollars, but is this trend going to continue in other areas?

Unfortunately, economists predict that grocery prices will steadily increase. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that food prices will climb by 8% throughout the year 2023. Even worse, while egg prices have slowed down and even decreased, economists say they will lead the inflation pack with a 37% increase this year. The good news? Beef and pork prices will decrease by 1%

Another sad layer of these price increases is that many major conglomerates and corporations are using the common knowledge consumers now have regarding inflation to pass use price gouges without consumers knowing any difference. What I mean, is that corporations like Kroger, who recently bought out Albertsons are currently growing. Recently, according to MSN News, Kroger bought out Albertsons in a $25 billion deal. In turn, they will combine their 5,000 stores into a mega company. This leads to far less choice, which makes it easier for these mega corporations to jack up their prices.

Even if you do not have Kroger or Albertson’s near you, they are not alone. Many corporations are benefiting and growing during a time that is crippling the middle and lower classes, who are merely trying to feed their families.

So, if you think your grocery bill is bad now, just give it till the end of the year.