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Here are 3 ways to save as US faces largest inflation rate in 30 years

With prices rising from the gas pump to the grocery store, here are tips to save in three key areas with the holiday season approaching.

With October marking the largest inflation surge in the country in more than three decades, consumers are facing higher prices everywhere from restaurants to the gas pump to the grocery store.

The consumer price index rose 6.2% in October compared to the same time last year, its largest increase since 1990. Demand has surged with industries reopening during the pandemic, leaving shoppers facing higher prices with the holiday season approaching in two weeks.

NBC News investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen shared some tips on TODAY Thursday about how you can save in three key areas amid rising prices.


Gas prices have risen more than a dollar a gallon in the past year to reach their highest level in seven years, with a national average of $3.42 per gallon, according to AAA.

Nguyen shared three recommendations to help ease the sting at the pump.

  • Sign up for Gas Buddy, a free program that can get you up to 25 cents off a gallon at stations across the country.
  • Fill up at membership clubs like BJs, Costco and Sam's Club, or locations of grocery chains like Safeway, Kroger and Walmart that have gas stations.
  • Use less fuel. AAA recommends grouping trips together, driving the speed limit, avoiding wasting gas while warming up the car, and cutting down on quick acceleration, which uses more gas.


In the past year, a gallon of milk has climbed 28 cents on average and a pound of beef is up 66 cents, which are just two areas where people have felt some sticker shock at the grocery store.

Nguyen shared some quick ways to lessen your grocery bill as the winter approaches.

  • Make a list of items you want to buy and then look for sales.
  • Consumer Reports suggests using the apps Basket and Flipp, which let you see the weekly coupons for all the stores in your area and compare prices for different items. Basket and Flipp also list the coupons for home goods and other retailers.
  • Look for store brands and consider swapping chicken for beef or different cuts of meat that can save you money.

Prescription drugs

This is one of the trickiest areas to navigate because pricing is still "erratic and illogical," according to Nguyen, but there are some ways to save.

  • Shop around while keeping in mind that sometimes certain drugs cost more with insurance than they do just paying out of pocket.
  • Make a list of your medications and then go to GoodRx, Blink Health and Scriptco to compare prices.
  • Check the cost of the medications at your local grocery chain and membership club stores.

Other areas like auto parts and toy shops may be tough to score discounts this season because the supply chain crisis is making it difficult to order parts.

One auto body shop owner told NBC's Tom Costello on TODAY Thursday that repairs that would normally take a day or two could now last a week or more because of the difficulty in securing replacement parts.

Another reason for higher prices in some sectors is a scramble for employees. With millions of Americans leaving the workforce or changing jobs, many industries have had to raise wages to attract new employees.

"What we’re experiencing is the consequence of higher wages," NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle said on TODAY Thursday. "You pay employees more, the customer at the end might end up getting that passed on to them. Unfortunately, inflation is moving up faster than wages are, so that bigger paycheck you’re getting, that more money is getting wiped out."

However, Ruhle noted the good news is that home values are rising, wages are increasing and the stock market is up.

"It’s a mixed picture," she said. "I know it feels terrible when you’re out there shopping for anything, but we are doing OK financially, we really are."