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Coping With "The Big Squeeze"

People nationwide are doing all they can to deal with the seemingly relentless rise in gas and food prices.

CBS News correspondent Priya David toured the home of one family in a suburb north of New York City to see how they're tightening their belts to help make ends meet.

And Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen shared suggestions to help you do the same:


Buy gasoline during the coolest times of day; early morning or late evening is best. Here's why: Gasoline is denser when it's cooler. Since you buy gasoline by volume, you actually get slightly more of it when it's cool and most dense. For example, when filling up an SUV, you'd get about an extra half-cup of gasoline -- hey, every little bit counts! Keep in mind: Gasoline is rated and measured at a temperature of 55 degrees. (source: AAA)


If you're buying premium gas, and your car will take regular, you're wasting money. In fact, AAA says that, nowadays, only five percent of cars require premium. But if you feel strongly about having a high-octane fuel, consider switching to regular and adding an octane booster. One bottle costs between $5-$7. Here's what you do: Let your tank get near empty, and put in about one-third or half the bottle of octane booster (depending on how big your tank is). Then, fill it up with the cheapest regular gas you can find. Thanks to the octane booster -- you'll get a 104 - 108 octane rating. That's more than you can buy at any pump. Since regular and premium differ by about 30 cents per gallon, if you have a 15 gallon tank -- you'll save $4.50 per tank full, more than making up for the cost of the Octane Booster. (source: AAA)


Don't be afraid to buy generic brands. Consumer Reports tests found that many store brands rank HIGHER in flavor and texture than their name-brand counterparts. These "private label" brands are the fastest-growing area of supermarket sales. Although some people still have visions of the poor quality, bare-bone generic labels from the '70s, today's store brands are increasingly high-end. And you can save anywhere from 10 to 40 percent compared to name brands. (Source: Consumer Reports)


In 2007, the average American brown-bagged his or her lunch less than once per week. If you could up that from once a week to five days a week, figuring the average lunch costs about $10, you'd save $40 a week -- or $2,000 per year!

To see David's report and Koeppen giving her tips, click on the arrow in the image below.

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