Inflation hitting 7% is more than just a number when it impacts what you can afford to put in the grocery cart.By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Rising prices are forcing families to think twice when it comes to shopping, and it some cases, it means changing where you shop for certain things.

Things are tough on families right now. Inflation hitting 7% is more than just a number when it impacts what you can afford to put in the grocery cart.

The cause of rising prices doesn’t matter, but the effect does.

“The bare necessities that we would typically get week to week. The prices are so much higher that we find ourselves putting things back on the shelf and taking things out of our carts,” said Amanda Mushro, mother of three and parenting blogger.

Mushro says the surge in prices is forcing careful shopping.

“Gone are the days of just heading to the grocery store or heading to a warehouse store and grabbing a cart, you really do need to do your research and you really have to look at the individual unit price,” Mushro said.

In some areas, like in the meat department, some people are being priced out.

The rising prices have some thinking they need to change their plans while shopping, because they may not want to spend all their money on particular items.

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With these prices on the rise, people are finding themselves heading to stores like Aldi, where they can find off-brand items and save a lot of money over other grocery stores and big-box stores.

The prices are also sparking more interest in places like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s.

Those clubs all charge membership fees, so that brings the question as to whether or not you are really saving money.

It depends on how often you shop, with that membership fee basically spread out over everything you buy in a year, so the more you shop, the less that fee is per item.

When shopping at these warehouse or club-type stores, there is a cardinal rule to follow.

“Buying in bulk is great if it’s a product that you’re actually going to use. On items like paper towels, on frozen food, on canned food, and on items that don’t have a short shelf life, you can really save a lot of money,” Mushro said.

There is also money that can be saved on perishables, but you need to watch out for impulse buying.

“Well if you’re saying, I’m just going to go for the paper towels and for the milk and the eggs because I know I’m going to save money, but then you end up loading up on a computer and clothes and snacks, well, then you haven’t saved anything,” Mushro said.

While there are deals to be had when purchasing large quantities of items like produce, bread, or cereal, you also should consider if you’re going to consume all of the product before it expires or spoils.

If you end up throwing items away, the deal may not have been a deal after all.

With prices climbing, Mushro says you really need to do some homework, watch for sales, and clip some coupons.

Outside of shopping for food, warehouse clubs often provide good deals on items like tires, batteries, and their own clothing brands, but for anything else, including electronics, make sure you shop around.