(NewsNation) — As Americans fire up their grills for Memorial Day weekend cookouts, they’ll be facing higher prices for many barbecue staples due to lingering inflation.

Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, said items like steak, alcohol, hot dog and hamburger buns, ketchup, mustard, and desserts have seen significant price increases over the past year.

“Steaks are much higher, alcohol is higher,” Bodge said. “We have to be really careful about how we shop.”

While overall inflation has cooled recently, the latest government data shows food prices were up 7.7% over the past year. Hot dog and hamburger buns jumped 12.9%, while ketchup and mustard spiked 10.3%. Cookies, cupcakes and pies saw a 14% increase.

To keep Memorial Day festivities affordable, Bodge recommends balancing pricier proteins like steak with cheaper options like chicken or vegetarian dishes. Buying in bulk at wholesale clubs can save up to 40% for larger families or those who entertain often.

Bodge also suggests using online coupon sites for cashback offers and discounts on grocery delivery services. “It’s easier to look for price changes (and) discounts when you’re shopping online,” she said.

She recommends sites like CouponCabin.com which offer cashback deals and coupons that can be used at grocery delivery services like Instacart, FreshDirect, and D’Artagnan for meats.

Some consumers are also turning to dollar stores with grocery sections for fruits, veggies and holiday decorations that can be reused.

While worrisome, the elevated food costs may provide an incentive for Americans to curb excess this Memorial Day.

“Just buy enough for everybody,” Bodge said. “You don’t have to buy (too much). We always over-prepare food.”


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