Consumer Price Index: How much more did you pay to eat out because of inflation in April 2022?
Personal finance experts often recommend cooking at home as a money-saving and budgeting tactic. According to a SoFi.com article, restaurants charge about 300% more for a given meal than it would cost to cook the same dish at home.
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It’s still true that you can save money by eating at home. But you might not be saving as much as you used to, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report, released May 11, 2022, by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics.
The out-of-home food index, which includes full-service meals at restaurants, limited-service meals, and food at employee sites and schools, rose 7.2%, unadjusted, from one year to the next. It jumped 0.6%, after rising 0.3% in March 2022. The CPI for full-service meals posted its largest increase since 1997 (the year the index was introduced) , up 8.7%. This indicates that more people are enjoying restaurant meals and gathering for celebrations with family and friends as pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
At the same time, the limited service meal index has increased by 7.0% over the past year. In the “out-of-home food” category, only the food index on salaried work sites and in schools continues to fall. The 30% drop reflects free lunch programs being offered in schools as part of pandemic stimulus packages, as well as employers offering free food to employees as a retention tactic in this tight labor market.
It’s not just eating out that has become more expensive. The food in the home index had its largest 12-month increase since November 1980, rising 10.8% year over year, unadjusted for seasonality. It’s the 17thand months that the food index has increased.
According to the CPI, you would have paid 0.6% more than in March for eating out or getting takeout in April, but you would have paid 1% more for grocery shopping and cooking at home. Considering it’s still about 300% more expensive to dine out, you’ll still save money by cooking meals at home. But you may need to budget more for groceries than you’re used to spending.
Dining out also comes with additional, sometimes hidden, costs. As restaurant checks increase, tips for servers increase proportionally. Even if you tip the standard 15-20% of your bill, you will pay more because the bill is more expensive. But some restaurants have also increased “suggested tip” amounts, sometimes by as much as 35%, The New York Times reported.
Other restaurants add 15% to 20% gratuities to the bill, while leaving room for customers to enter a tip amount. If you don’t read the bill carefully, you could tip more than expected. In an article about the “tip fatigue” phenomenon published in mid-April 2022, The New York Times reported: “In some cases, restaurants are adding service charges and tips to the bill that some diners may not want. not notice right away.
The prevalence of suggested tips on shelves at the point of sale may also put more pressure on customers to tip during take-out transactions than a tip jar on a counter.
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Of course, if you’re dining out, you should try to tip generously. Although restaurant wages rose from $13.96 an hour in January 2021 to $16.2 in March 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tips were factored into that increase. . Just know how much you’re paying, and if you’re feeling the spike in inflation, consider saving money by eating more meals at home.
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