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Where you can save and what will cost you more for your Labor Day cookout

Posted at 3:55 PM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 19:22:11-04

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and usually means food and travel. Depending on your Labor Day weekend plans, there are places you might have to spend more money and places where you can still save.

The grocery store Metcalfe’s in Wauwatosa was already getting busy with shoppers on Friday afternoon.

Tonya (left) and Shaun Hale from Milwaukee are getting groceries for their Labor Day plans.

“We're shopping for Labor Day,” said Shaun Hale, a Milwaukee resident. "We're grilling. We are going to have a party for my son who just turned 11."

“He does all the meats on the grill and I do all the sides. So probably, ribs, burgers brats, corn,” said Tonya Hale, Shaun’s wife, on what they will be cooking.

An employee of Metcalfe's bags groceries.

Depending on your Labor Day plans, this could be a more expensive holiday than last year.

For the year, grocery prices are up overall 3.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"For the most, they've been on a steady increase because the inflationary effects that deal with groceries,” said Brandon Scholz, president of the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

But in month-to-month changes, the latest data shows a bit of a mixed bag for food prices.

Screen Shot 2023-09-01 at 2.44.20 PM.png


Beef 2.4%
Hot Dog 2.7%
Coffee 1%
Butter 1%
Ice Cream 1.5%


Chicken 1.1%
Seafood 1.1%
Margarine 2.4%
Eggs 2.2%
Milk .06%

Screen Shot 2023-09-01 at 2.43.56 PM.png

"What we are seeing in our store is customers are spending the same amount in groceries so their weekly spend is the same every week. However, less items are going in the basket,” said Lisa Grudzielanek, director of operations for Metcalfe’s.

Scholz says a holiday weekend is where you can find good sales and this might be a good time to stock your freezer if you see a price cut.


"Grocers try and bring some of those prices down for the holiday season for Labor Day, as they've done in July Fourth and Memorial Day, and will at Thanksgiving and seasonal holidays,” said Scholz.

You will also slightly lower prices at the pump. Gas prices in Wisconsin are at $3.58 in the state. The average for the Milwaukee-Waukesha area is $3.70, down nine cents from where it was a year ago.

grocery store Wauwatosa
People checking out at Metcalfe's grocery store in Wauwatosa.

No matter what the price, the Hale family says they still want to celebrate the holiday weekend and enjoy it.

"We're still doing it. We still have to eat. Still doing it,” said Tonya Hale.

If you are planning to eat out or hit a drive-through this holiday weekend, you might have noticed prices there are on the rise as well. Dine-in restaurant prices are up 5.8 percent. Fast food and fast casual restaurants are up 7.1 percent.

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