SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — There might be a sign that tension could be easing when it comes to consumer prices. A data point that the Federal Reserve watches closely is showing inflation could finally be cooling off. But, what is that metric, and how are local residents feeling about it?

While on Friday we saw a sign prices could be leveling out, people are still waiting for their relief at the check out.

With each grocery store trip comes frustration for Janet Kazar from West Springfield, “I said this is going to be at least $140. I get to the register, it’s over $200. It just really seems unbelievable.”

According to the Consumer Price Index food prices alone have gone up 9.5-percent in the last year. To combat these rising prices the Federal Reserve has continued to bring up interest rates, but when they make that decision about raising rates they like to look at a different metric that excludes food and energy costs.

It’s called the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index. That only went up .3-percent in February, lower than what Wall Street anticipated. Predicting where prices will go can be hard, but figuring out what that means for your budget can be even harder.

However Martin Lynch at Cambridge Credit Counseling told 22News; budgeting is the best way to protect yourself from inflation, “It’s a way to preserve your lifestyle. It’s a way to ensure that you can do what you want to do within financial limitations.”

And one budget piece people should be prepared for is student loan payments kicking back in. As we wait on the Supreme Court’s decisions payments could resume as soon as this summer.