FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Middle Georgians are still pinching pennies as gas and food prices continue to climb, but Georgia is the 14th cheapest state to live in the U.S.
Emily St. Peter knows how to feed her family of five on a budget — but since she began coupon clipping three years ago — there’s been a big bump in her grocery bill.
“Food prices are going up two to five percent a year, we’re not seeing any increase in salary. Director of the Macon State Center for Economic Analysis Dr. Greg George says St. Peter is not alone; many Middle Georgians are tightening their budgets.
“A big part of their income is paying for gas and paying for food and so that’s causing a lot of problems.”
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Georgia is the 14th cheapest to live in the U.S., but Dr. George says low overall cost of living doesn’t mean it’s cheap to live.
“If you throw everything in there including house prices, prices of electronics, all of those things, are falling in price that’s causing it to look like things are getting cheaper.” St. Peter will back that theory–the biggest part of her household budget each month goes to necessities like gas and groceries, and she’s had to make some changes
“Cook things that are less expensive, less steak, more chicken things like that,” she says.
The family of five also cut out trips to restaurants. Dr. George says it doesn’t look like prices will drop anytime soon.
“All indications are there’s a lot of headwinds in the economy still and until those get worked out it’s just going to be an on-going struggle,” Dr. George says.
Even though it’s tough, St. Peter says if you’re an avid watchdog, you can still snag a deal. “I was just recently at a local sporting goods store and was able to get swimsuits for my girls at $2.44 a piece.”
Dr. George says some good news for the economy in Middle Georgia — part of that cost of living index includes housing. Right now in Macon affordable housing is readily available and those are ways to attract business.