Economic Brain Room: Experts answer your questions

Morning In America

(NewsNation) —  With inflation at the highest level it’s ever been, NewsNation invited a panel of experts to answer your top questions about the economy.

The expert panel included: economist Dr. Ernst Coupet Jr., pediatrician Dr. Payal D. Adhikari, professional grocery shopper Matthew Telles and travel expert Kendra Thornton.

Q: What is the main cause of inflation?

A: Short answer is right now we have an ongoing war, which is affecting the price of energy. Energy goes into the production of just about everything that we have. So, from a household perspective, energy cost rises and indirectly, through the products that you purchase because of additional costs, prices rise.

It’s the war or Ukraine. In addition to that, to exacerbate it, we have higher savings at this point, because of the stimuli that we’ve had over the last couple of years.

Expert: Dr. Ernst Coupet Jr.

Q: Are we heading toward a recession, or is this just a bear market?

A: A recession, just to kind of educate a bit, is really a decline of output. When you say a bear market, we’re talking about the stock market. So, a stock market is a precursor, it’s a forward looking market that looks at what the state of the economy is expected to be. So, if we have a bear markets — which we just had one —  means that they’re forecasting downward movement in the output of the economy. Whether you call it a recession, or not, depends on how long and it has different vocabulary terms for that. I continue to expect some decrease in output in the in the coming quarters. The economy is tending toward a recession.

Expert: Dr. Ernst Coupet Jr.

How to save money amid record inflation

Q: What are some ways parents can save on baby formula?

A: Oh, I love this question. So first, I think parents need to understand that they can switch between types of formula. Store brands are completely legitimate, they are FDA approved. A lot of them are you know, if not completely identical, very similar to the more brand name versions of the formula. And they also have specialty formulas. So places like Costco, Kirkland, Target; they have specialty formulas for babies who have sensitivities, or allergies, as well. And those are much more cost efficient than the brand name versions.

Also, you can switch between formula, so if there’s a formula on sale, I mean, you can go ahead and try it and hope that your baby likes it.

Expert: Dr. Payal D. Adhikari

Q: How can you save money on summer travel?

A: Anytime you can go against the trend, you’re gonna save money. Let’s think about the fact that the Caribbean and Mexico are really popular in the winter because everyone wants to get away from the cold. We’ll consider those destinations in the summer when the prices are much lower.

Another idea is always look to the all-inclusive resorts. What’s great about those is you know up front exactly what you’re spending, paying for it in advance.

I think another another tip is that typically in the summer, people want to be outside more. The urban markets and city hotels tend to be great deals, too. So look at maybe going to a city you haven’t experienced and turn that into your vacation.

Expert: Kendra Thornton

Q: What are some money-saving grocery shopping tips?

A: I strategize, I build a plan. So, I know what I’m looking for. And I know generally where I need to go to get it. But I would say, you know, I have to go to multiple stores to get the best price for people while balancing multiple apps. So, all the groceries I buy goes right back into my bank account. And it’s a percentage, you know, around 2% of what you spend at the grocery. I get a lot of rewards when using apps. You can also use those rewards when you go shopping.

But also, just ways to kind of cut back, especially as we might move into a bear recession market, is look at where your money that’s not being spent on food is actually going. Are you getting better gas points at like one grocery store versus the other right now? I’m saving $1 per gallon on gas, which is saving my life.

Also, are grocery delivery apps worth it? Are they charging you more? Are they charging you more from the price in the store and the shelf plus heavy fees, you know, pandemic fees, things like that? Larger apps charge anywhere from between 10% to 60% more than the shelf price than a normal consumer would walk in and buy that for. Just be very price conscious of when you’re in the apps looking at those prices.

Expert: Matthew Telles

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