By Vanessa Murdock

EDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The cost of living is on the rise.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index jumped 6.2% in October compared to last year. It’s the highest inflation rate in 31 years.

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“Every week I come here, I just spend more and more and more and more. The food stuff is out of control,” senior Miriam Foreman, of North Bergen, told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

“We were expecting a quick pace of inflation, not this fast,” CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said.

“One of the big drivers in the increase over the year is the price of gasoline,” said Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

He says filling up costs drivers about 49.5% more than last year.

“I drive a car that takes premium gas, and so it definitely has had an impact on that,” one man said.

Locally, inflation news is a little brighter.

“Our increase is 4.3%,” Kohli said.

Believe it or not, housing cost is a big player in our lower inflation rate.

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“We haven’t, however, seem to have seen the same kind of increases in rents over the year that the nation has,” Kohli said.

But meat prices are up a lot locally — over 11%.

North Bergen resident Eddie Priest changed his menu.

“Less steak for me. I usually enjoy a nice rib-eye steak. I’ve had to sacrifice that,” he said.

“The numbers that we’ve seen with regard to pay raises, they’re the strongest they’ve been in years. That’s the good news. Bad news is they’re below 6%,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

He suggests making some changes to offset inflation.

“If you’re one of the millions of homeowners that hasn’t yet refinanced your mortgage, that’s step number one,” he said. “It’s open enrollment season for a lot of employers, so signing up for dependent care or health care flexible spending account will allow you to pay those costs in 2022 with pretax dollars. That amounts to some pretty notable savings right there.”

Kohli also offered some tips — tethink commuting by car, consider mass transit, hold off buying a new or used vehicle, and hold the meat — you’ll find more stable pricing with fruit and veggies.

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The National Economic Council is looking at ways to reduce energy costs, and the Federal Trade Commission is keeping an eye for price-gouging.

Vanessa Murdock