Friday, February 23, 2024

Inflation: Food is costing more and more - but so is everything else


We've warned several times over the past few years in these pages about the rising cost of food (particularly when one takes the actual rate of inflation into account, rather than the carefully massaged and politically correct figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics).  I said in September 2022 that my household's actual annual inflation rate (the prices we're paying for the things we buy, as opposed to the "general" basket of goods analyzed by the BLS) had exceeded 30%.  A little more than a year later, Karl Denninger confirmed that figure from his own experience.  As far as our wallets can tell us, nothing has yet changed for the better.

Even using the BLS's figures, distorted as they are by political factors, things aren't looking great.  The Wall Street Journal reports:

Eating continues to cost more, even as overall inflation has eased from the blistering pace consumers endured throughout much of 2022 and 2023. Prices at restaurants and other eateries were up 5.1% last month compared with January 2023, while grocery costs increased 1.2% during the same period, Labor Department data show.

Relief isn’t likely to arrive soon. Restaurant and food company executives said they are still grappling with rising labor costs and some ingredients, such as cocoa, that are only getting more expensive. Consumers, they said, will find ways to cope.

“If you look historically after periods of inflation, there’s really no period you could point to where [food] prices go back down,” said Steve Cahillane, chief executive of snack giant Kellanova, in an interview. “They tend to be sticky.”

. . .

Cahillane said that as consumers become accustomed to seeing higher prices on supermarket shelves, they will adjust.

“Just like a gallon of gas, it becomes the new price and people get begrudgingly used to it,” he said.

There's more at the link.

What Mr. Cahillane fails to take into account is that cash-strapped consumers may not be able to adjust.  Family disposable income has to be allocated between many needs:  housing, clothing, transport, insurance, and other needs besides food alone.  When everything is getting more expensive, hard choices may have to be made.  For example, I've just had to spend almost $2,000 as a co-pay on a medical procedure (being the beginning of a new year, we have to meet our new annual medical insurance deductible, so such costs will be higher until we've done that).  That wasn't planned, and wasn't in our budget.  Without our (now somewhat smaller) emergency fund for a rainy day, we wouldn't have been able to afford it, and we'd have had to tighten our belts in many ways (including our food expenditure).

I'm aware that in poorer areas of this country, particularly some Native American reservations and farming areas, families are already reduced to eating a great deal of soup and home-made bread rather than buying anything more nutritious.  (As a retired pastor, I can tap into the reports being circulated among pastors in those areas.)  Certainly, my wife and I find ourselves increasing our contribution to food banks in our area, because they're overrun with needy families who can't make ends meet without such assistance.

I'll be grateful if you, dear readers, would share with us how you're coping with rising prices, particularly of food, but also including other necessities.  Are you battling to cope, as we are?  Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train?  Please share with us in Comments, so we can all learn from each other.




James said...

I am doing fine but then,am well off financially.

That being said after careful research or trusted word of mouth do contribute monies to food banks and other organizations that help folks and critters,this of course after knowing family/friends doing well.

Folks,if you can,research and help out,even one can of soup/a 5 spot helps as the smalls do add up!

Dirty Dingus McGee said...

A few ways to save a dollar at the grocery store;

Get the chain's "shopper advantage" discount card. I didn't use my actual name and phone number, and it didn't seem to matter.

Shop early in the day, before 9am. You can find deals in what I call "the green meat bin". These are usually about 1/3 off the normal price but need to be either cooked or frozen today.

Pay attention to the actual price. Not the "sticker" price, but the cost per ounce. You will often find a fairly large difference.

Some of the junk mail you receive will have restaurant and store coupons. Use them if you can. Same thing at the grocery store. Most have a flyer with coupons and sales that are usable.

Store brand versus name brand. Store brands are made by the name brand, just with a different label. There might be slight difference in taste, but thats what the spice cabinet is for.

Anonymous said...

Me and my wife are retired in SC. We sold our house in GA at the end of 21 and move to be closer to our older son and his family. Our younger son still lives in GA. We owned our house in GA and made a profit on it and downsized so we had money left over. Most people are stupid to hold onto a Home Loan for years because they think of tax breaks and not pay off the house ASAP.

We bought a freezer. When we shop we do it planning for bulk shopping. My wife makes soups and other dishes that will freeze. We limit restaurant and fast food easting to once a week or two weeks. We buy County Park yearly entrance for low cost to visit various parks and beaches.

E. C. said...

Yeah . . . our family gets 'chicken bread' (day-olds) from a local bakery each weekend, and we take our excess to church. We've seen it go from 'a nice surprise' to something that people practically depend on.
Our family seems to be blessed with a superabundance of food - every time we get the fridges (multiple) cleared out, someone comes along with, for example, 6 cheesecakes or a giant pan of roast veggies. We try our best to share with those around us, especially during harvest season - my dad plants a huge garden that produces far too much for us to use or preserve each year.
Personally, I feel that a lot of people are going to have to tear out useless lawns and start learning to garden again. If even half the people on a regular suburban street had an herb or vegetable garden or got a small flock (3-5) of laying hens or meat birds, there would be far less trips to the grocery store for most people. I realize this is not practicable for those in high-density housing, which is why I hate that so many high rises have been going up in what used to be farmland in my community. It's not sustainable, especially since I live in the high desert, to keep trucking everything into our valley. We NEED that farmland.

James said...

I have been on an extensive weight loss, health gain program for close to a year. Part of it is rather a lot of fasting, which certainly cuts the food bill. This is only applicable to those with very large amounts of weight to lose. While true this is not a serious proposal of course, and since I have lost about 135 of 175-180 time is running out on it for me.
More seriously I have actually used the savings to invest in storing more food, commercially canned, home canned and dehydrated. I have also started using the oldest storage food to stretch the money available. Also I have been investing in some small food technologies to cut future costs to offset higher raw material costs.
There is a fine line but it is important to buy useful things now rather than waiting on the prices to rise/currency values to fall and having shortages catch up with you. I have long since adopted two is one and one is none. When something breaks, I replace it, usually with some kind of refurb or heavily discounted item. I test it and store it.

Carteach said...

We are coping by dealing with the squeeze as best we can. The same as any other day.

We sold a vehicle, losing that payment and lowering our insurance while helping the emergency fund hit goal. We are heating with firewood, and cutting ALL energy expenditures across the board as much as possible.

Consumables, like food, I bargain shop to an unheard of degree. Depending on what food item it is, I may order it from Amazon, have a grocery store deliver it, or go pick it up at one of several stores I shop at. This is item by item, taking into account economizing trips, drive time and fuel, etc. In the final word, we will do without and that's okay for most things.

As I type this, I just started a batch of yogurt and set the oven to heat for baking bread. In a few minutes, I'll go out and open the chicken coop, give them all our scraps, and collect eggs. We have a surplus of eggs and yogurt which we give freely to friends and neighbors, who return the favor often.

I can cook a whole roaster chicken and get five family meals out of it, and a couple gallons of stock. I leave nothing but damp bones and the echo of a squawk. Even the bones get buried in my home vegetable garden for the calcium.

We used to go out to eat fairly regularly. Now it's a rare event. The same for ordering in.

I could go on, but none if this is new to anyone here.

To be honest with myself, I think we are well past the tipping point. What can't go on, won't go on. Period.

Rev. Paul said...

We are doing okay, but that's by carefully comparing prices between Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, and Costco. Buying in bulk with coupons, too.

Beans said...

Thankfully the wife is drawing from two pensions. Even so, I buy most of my proteins from Sams and freeze portions, we don't order out anymore at all, we tend to make 'generational meals' (excess servings and freeze or things that once cooked can be turned into other things.) We've cut way back on prepared foods and fress fruit and vegetables.

Even so, I will soon have to go back to picking up canned goods and cheese from Walmart as food prices continue to climb.

I'm just glad my state doesn't suffer from rolling blackouts like California does, as I don't know how people there manage to keep their freezers full.

Anonymous said...

I'm attempting to stretch my daily office meals (breakfast / lunch) by cutting portions in half. For example, I used to use six Trisquit crackers and three 'Ritz' crackers for each cheese stick cut into nine pieces. I now cut the Trisquits in half so that only 4 are used each time, as well as one Ritz. So each box is extended by about twice as much and I also rid myself of weight because of less food.

When we eat out (about twice a week), we save a portion of the entree for our next home cooked meal. Chicken strips, chunked up go into vegetable stir fry. Also when we eat out, we take at least one side with us to add to the meal so we can spend less on a smaller meal.

Small steps add up at the end of the month. I do agree - prices on food rarely come back down. And reduced portion packages NEVER go back.

Xoph said...

Our budget is getting squeezed but we can still replace the stuff we bought when it was cheaper. Will come a day - Can see the light of that train so prepping now. (OBTW – we are buying ahead on home repair, car repair, shoes. Have tools, buying consumables like nails, saw blades, etc.)

*Planting a garden. Potatoes, garlic, onions, corn.
*Learning to cook from scratch the way grandma did including fresh homemade bread, home made soups. Canning is next on the list (Get soups bones, make your own bone broth and soup stock. Soup is hydrating and nutritious and is very over looked as a part of our diet). Cooking from scratch takes time and experience but can save money at the store.
*Look for store brands, often from same source as higher priced name brands.
*Shop farmers' markets. You may not save much or any money, but you help build and encourage a food base local to your area. A tremendous amount of our food is imported, especially beef.
*Look for a Co-op. Many small farmers/ranchers/homesteaders now have a co-op or club where their members get meat and/or veggies for a set price.
Research the impact of industrial farming on the American Farmer. The joke is “I work at ABC to support my cow habit.” By local through local butcher shops. This takes more time, and a lot of the meat will taste different because the cow will not have been corn-fed for 6-12 months, but it is an investment in the future. When you have a relationship with a local producer you will get favored status when things get tight.

JustPeachy said...

Spouse is picking up about 2 extra shifts/month to cover the increased expenses, and I am doing whatever I can at home to keep costs down. It helps to learn to make a couple of luxury kitchen items at home, so that when you're down to just the cheap cuts of meat and frozen veg and stuff... you don't feel so deprived.

One of these things is mustard. It's surprisingly easy to make your own mustard, it comes out like the fancy grainy brown mustard but tastes better, and if you buy mustard seeds from your local indian grocery, super cheap too. Noticeably improves the tone of your average chicken salad sandwich.

Another is yogurt. Assuming you already have an Instant Pot (who doesn't these days?), making a gallon of good-quality yogurt is shockingly easy, and costs... well how much do you pay for a gallon of milk? There are instructions everywhere on the internet, and all I can add to those is: buy a quart of your favorite brand of plain yogurt, divide it up into ice-cube trays, freeze it, and then pop the cubes out into a freezer bag. Every one of those is a starter culture.

That was a lifesaver. Everybody in the house likes yogurt but it's expensive and was about to go on the chopping block as a luxury item. Now-- not only is it cheap, but having four quart jars of yogurt in the fridge means everybody drinks less milk, so for cost it's a wash.

Celia Hayes said...

My daughter and grandson and I share a household until my daughter has a good year as a real estate agent. We've been careful about food expenses for years, but now we're cutting back on things that we used to get as a time-saver, like bottled pasta sauce and canned enchilada sauce. No longer: I'm making homemade marinara and enchilada sauce in large batches and freezing it in 2-portion quantities. Bulk packs of chicken from Costco - also pork tenderloin once a month, sliced up and vacuum-sealed for later use. Meats at the grocery store only if marked down for quick sale. We've both got commissary privileges since we are veterans, so we have gone back to making a commissary run regularly for staples. I will start making bread again, regularly, and making more and more dishes and staples from scratch.
Also restarting the vegetable garden again - I have a good assortment of seeds, and will buy garden soil for raised beds for cheap at Costco. Also considering keeping chickens again, after the last lot were massacred by raiding racoons in broad daylight three years ago.

JNorth said...

Eh, Steve Cahillane is probably right for normal small amounts of inflation but it obviously doesn't hold water when they totally collapse the currency which is where we are probably headed. There is a good book by Adam Fergusson titled When Money Dies, it covers the economic side of things during the hyperinflation of Weimar Germany. I won't be surprised if we see something similar though we still have quite a ways to go.

The thing is, it won't just be the US, Europe's economy is just as bad as ours, China's is far worse and most of the world is dependent on international trade. Sudan will be no worse off, most people don't realize it but the US is #2, after Sudan, as the country least reliant on international trade, not saying we are in a good spot, just everyone else is worse off.

Anonymous said...

I continue to make significant use of our pantry and chest freezer - meats and staples go on sale periodically and I'll stock up. With our third child now, I'm seeing diapers/wipes/clothing/misc up 30-50% in the past 4 years. We've reduced vacation spending by about 3/4 (staying in-state or adjacent, no cross-country trips). Bulk-buy discounts are something I watch for on our staples. We're making our 11 and 8 yo cars last, even though with three kids now more vehicle space would be nice. We've cut less-used subscriptions, and anytime recurring costs (internet, auto ins.) jump, I shop for reductions with some success. Our housing costs (mtg/taxes/utilities) are pretty stable. Most significantly for us, I was fortunate enough to get a solid raise two years running - kept the same lifestyle, and have been building a larger savings reserve.

Peteforester said...

I don't need to be a math wizard to know that I can't afford what I used to be able to afford, even though I'm making slightly more than he did last year!

Gasoline; to some extent buying gas is unavoidable, given that I commute 35 miles to work. We do our best, however, to "trip link," making several stops in one trip to minimize repeat trips. Keeping the vehicles in top running condition also minimizes gas use. Those of us who dealt with the gas shortages of the 70's know ALL ABOUT THAT.

We run kerosene heaters in our house when it's cold. Kerosene has gotten expensive, but when you factor in the cost of both natgas and electricity to run the furnace, it works out cheaper for us. It also reduces wear and tear on the furnace. I bit the bullet "pre-Biden," and installed a QuietCool whole-house exhaust fan. In the summer I run it early in the morning to cool the house down. Then I button the place up for the day. The A/C doesn't come on until about 1:00pm, and I live in the desert! If it cools down enough in the evenings I run it again. This cools the house down as well as the attic. It also cycles in fresh air. Then I button the house up again.

Fast "food" is a thing of the past for us. or that matter, eating out AT ALL is a VERY rare thing for us. We used to treat ourselves once a month or so to a restaurant meal. Not anymore...

Alcohol; very rare in our house these days. Too expensive, and no good for us anyway.

We only buy meat when it's on sale. When meats DO come on sale, we buy in bulk, vacuum-seal individual portions, and throw them in the chest freezer. We've "unearthed" vacuum-sealed steaks that were TWO YEARS OLD, that still tasted FINE! I know, now I'M the one paying to keep it frozen, with the price of said portions going up with every day they sit in the freezer. That's true, but come what may, we'll have possession of that meat. Keep the freezer packed, and it only runs a couple of times a day.

We "buy deep" when it comes to canned and dry goods as well, buying only when the items are on sale. "D'gubmeyent" keeps saying "Americans are spending more." This is why! It's because we know what we're buying will only cost more a month from now! Rice, beans, and pasta are CHEAP FOOD, so we keep A LOT OF ALL OF IT!!! The rice and beans we keep in buckets with Gamma-Seal lids. The pasta is vacuum-sealed. If there are bugs in one of the boxes it will only affect that box. If you "bring home" bugs to your pantry, the vac-seal bags keep the pasta safe!

We DO NOT use CREDIT CARDS! Folks, if you're running a credit card balance you're CONSENTING TO BEING ROBBED!!!

We have a 5th wheel camper sitting next to the barn. We bought it a bunch of years back when the young 'uns were still, well, young. It used to (6 years ago) cost us $160.00 to camp on the beach at the nearby Marine base. Now it costs $350.00!!! ...And that's not including the diesel it takes to get the trailer there and back! Again, that's on a MILITARY BASE!!! WHERE is the OVERHEAD that justifies THAT KIND OF PRICE INCREASE??? I haven't used that camper in SIX YEARS... It's TOO EXPENSIVE TO USE! The only reason I keep it is that it's "emergency housing," bug-out or otherwise, that we can camp in...

...All this being said, we can cut costs as much as we can, and still eventually run out of money. What We, The People REALLY need to do is to deal with those persons and entities who CAUSED THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! 'Nuff said...

tweell said...

Picked up a used chest freezer at a yard sale, and have been buying on sale meat and freezing it. Making bread versus buying it, this is for all bread products. I'm even making Rice Krispies.

Vehicle maintenance is key, need to keep the 23 year old and 16 year old vehicles in good shape and running.

Anonymous said...

Plant a garden. Even a small one will give you a lot of produce that you can then either freeze or can. As a retired farmer I still grow close to a half acre garden and give most of it away. I make my own tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, and pizza sauce and can these. Freeze cabbage, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, and greens. Also, buy a side of beef from a local farmer. Yes, that’s going to be a major investment but but you can get beef for $5/lb which includes steaks and roasts for $5. We almost never go out to eat. My wife can’t cook unless it comes out of a box or can but I’m good at it and enjoy it. I almost never buy processed food. Only staples that I can work with. Our grocery bill is typically less than $200/mo.

Anonymous said...

A lot of our grocery shopping is done at Walmart. Ordering for pickup reduces the opportunity for impulse purchases, and the store credit card gives 5% cash back for online purchase (including pickup groceries).

Anonymous said...

north. check where stuff is made. product of the usa means packaged not made here. also even if made what happens to the supply system

Bailey said...

Here in Canada, Justin has on several occasions stood in the House for Question Period and asserted that there is no proof that rising inflation results in food price increases. Anyone saying this is working for Putin, it's a conservative talking point and conspiracy theory, and he's working on a bill to make saying such illegal.

This from the same guy that told us 'When you kill your enemies, they win'.

We are former college students, have always lived frugally since we both come from nothing, and so the current conditions and the strategies for coping are just daily life for us. We saw this coming a long time ago.

Not that we are extraordinarily smart or anything, but we were already doing this as a matter of course. Our concern is for those for whom such things are new. The learning curves are about to go vertical....

Mike in Canada

Michael said...

If you're doing well, or OK now remember that soon enough you'll also feel the pinch.

Chop expenses you can "Afford" and build up a aw-*hit fund or boost the savings you already have.

Looking HARD at things you can do without is first step, and second step.

Second step is when you just got comfortable about the first cuts. Cut some more.

Do you need Netflix? Extra cable channels? Eating out although we can currently afford our twice weekly lunches, we've cut that down AND share an entree. Easier on the wallet and waistline. Bought restaurant cards at 20% off, gives the restaurant money to operate, gives us a discount on the meal (covers the tip). PLEASE don't go out and stiff the server. They need to pay their bills also.

Home cooking can be a great money saver. Ethnic cooking is generally poor folks good eating.

Meat as a flavoring agent, not primary calories of the plate.

The Sunday Bean Pot is awesome. Cook up a batch of dried white beans, PLAIN.

Can be warmed and spiced as a side dish every day. Blended into Spaghetti and Lasagna sauce replaces half the ground beef and is very filling. Plenty of protein.

Like Beans said I grab the LARGEST .99 cents per pound whole chicken I can get (ask the butcher if a big one is behind the desk) and roast it. 5+ meals, just todays lunch was boiled carcass chicken soup with 3 dry ounces of pasta for the two of us. Very tasty and filling.

We're not young so keeping the whole house barely warmed is painful. Learn to heat the PERSON, not the whole house, BUT keep the house warm enough to keep pipes safe and avoid dampness and mold.

Recently I bought a 7 dollar small dog bed at Walmart for my wife's feet. Always cold and achy. REALLY Helped.

Combine ALL driving tasks. Sat is trash run, so Walmart, Grocery store and lunch are all in the same circle drive.

I'm sure there is plenty more old school save money wisdom out there. Please share it. It isn't stupid if it works.

Anonymous said...

A colleague of mine with a similar commute as yours drives for Uber and picks up one rider on the way in and one on the way home. That’s it. Subsidizes his commute. You do need to adjust car insurance and umbrella policy for ride share, but food for thought.


Hamsterman said...

I have seen and experienced the increases, but they are the smallest part of my budget. My 'indefinite' spousal support is constant until I retire. My college kids expenses are large, significant, and not always predictable. I am thankful to God every day that I can manage this, and when I am not thankful, I remind myself I should be.

BTW, the Costco food court has not really raised their prices...yet. The hot dogs aren't the same, and the pizza tastes a little different, and they are doing things to cut costs like a reduced menu and automating the sales/register duties to kiosks. Years (decades?) ago the $1.50 hot dog + drink were loss leaders, and the CEO threatened to fire anyone who suggested they raise the price, but I don't know how long that will last.

James said...

Mike,agree with your outlook on doing well,have always been frugal but as far as tools ect. will only buy quality,buy once/cry once.

I have a lot of food stored and do rotate ect.

I have years worth of clothes /boots and if I die me family/friends score!

Folks new to this just start small,amazing how quickly the smalls add up and encourage you to find new ways to save/thrive,best of luck to all!

Eaton Rapids Joe said...

I agree with Michael, well-to-do is a temporary condition when inflation stalks the land.

We divested our livestock and donated 600 pounds of ground beef to two different food banks. That is a one time deal. We are out of the cattle business. Too much red tape. Too few butcher shops still in business.

We are doubling down on our garden(s). Mostly, we are concentrating on sturdy basics like potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn, chilis, onions and so on. We also have mature fruit trees and can.

We make a pot of soup on Sunday and use it to supplement sandwiches and dinners through the week.

I hunt and I used to fish. I will be increasing my fishing through the spring-summer-fall. My state allows up to 10 doe-tags but will only purchase 4. We pressure can the meat.

Medical is a constant concern. We do the simple, easy stuff. We watch our weight. We get more than an hour of activity a day (10k steps by my wife's step counter). We take a few vitamins.

What is mind-boggling to me are all of the young people who stay "I won't do this" and "I won't do that". Fine. Tell me what you WILL do. Sometimes the list is very, very short.

It should come as no surprise that there are shortages and rising prices when the number of people who refuse to do jack-diddly-squat keeps rising. Demand keeps rising and the supply (or labor to create supply) is falling off of a cliff.

I am capable of doing some very gross, undesirable kinds of things. But I don't share the benefits. That is, I believe in the domestic economy where if I work then I, and my closest family, benefit.

Tree Mike said...

I see a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a locomotive. Not sure if I'll make it back out before it gets here. I guess we'll see.

Xoph said...

Lots of you are saying you are going for the cheap stuff and I get it, but research the insulin cycle and what this does to our health. Since the lefties push vegan it should come as no surprise that meat should be your primary nutrician with about 50% of your daily calories coming from fat. If you eat a high carb diet consider eating once or twice a day. Most folks don't want to believe this - do your own research. But get as much meat into your diet as possible for your health! Avoid processed meats, research red slime. Buy grass fed where you can, not grain finished. Many of our health issues are due to diet. Food is medicine! (When you're young and can eat anything it's hard to believe this. I started to get a clue in my 50s. But no one believes me when I say this except very healthy people north of 60. This is why I say do your own research and especially the insulin cycle, until you understand that I'm just a kook)

OBTW Garden! Great micro-nutrients, good exercise, get some sun! Avoid pesticides! (Yes, I know what the bugs do, but as a beekeeper, It's hard to keep a hive going. Anyone notice how few lightning bugs there are compared to when we were kids)

Get some backyard chickens! Eggs are very nutritious and key in so many dishes. Chickens are nature's pesticide. Consider sheep - more efficient in converting grass to meat than cows. Kune Kune pigs do not root; they only forage (they are a bit expensive)

Look at the price of gas without alcohol, that is the true price of gas without corn subsidies. Modern farming depends on petroleum products. Our Gov't has made sure eating badly is cheap cheap cheap. Read Atkins's book - historically, obesity was seen as a disease of the poor. Diet, exercise, sun and a good night's sleep will cure a lot of what's wrong.

Anonymous said...

I know that our local grocery store puts the meat that is nust sell by next day on 50% off each morning at 8:30 sharp. So i try and go right then, often get ground beef and stew meat cheap then take home and freeze it till i need it.


Anonymous said...

RE: Freezers and blackouts--a good freezer will actually retain its temperature without power for between 24-48 hours as long as you're careful about it.

JohninMd.(HELP!) said...

Retired State employee, since 2004. Disability check and a "generous" (I was in the older, more "generous" retirement plan) retirement check of $500./ month, or about 1/3 of the disability... My wife and I now have to depend on my son's for transportation to the store or dr.'s appts., we can't afford to replace our old car that died, or make desperately needed repairs to our home, which my wife is coming to hate. We'd love to move, get out of the People's Rep. of Md, but with no way of getting any equity out of this dump, or reconning a place to go we continue to go bargain basement on foods or needed supplies. There are no luxury expenditures, no cable or satellite, our phones are both entertainment and commo with the outside world. The saving grace is we're in a semi-rural development, not close enough to an urban area (20 miles, S. of Annapolis) so personal security isn't an issue - yet.... 2A is a thing, even as Maryland tries to become more and more Authoritarian. Dummies keep voting Democrat in the DC 'burbs and Baltimore, so a 3 County "tail" wags the 24 County "dog"...

Tom Bridgeland said...

I grew 100 lbs of corn last year. Have increased the garden size considerably. Lots of other stuff too.

audeojude said...

Another comment from SC

we are paying 2x food costs from pre covid. I used to complain when a sam's trip was 90 to 130 dollars. now it is 200+ to 300+

We buy in bulk and freeze and store what we can't use before next trip.

Eating out is almost a memory. I still do so once in a while but only as a social convention with friends that that is really the only time I get to meet with them anymore.
Maybe once every other month and buying the cheapest of meals. under 20 dollars.

When I do I more often go to regular local restaurants as a meal there is only 2 or 3 dollars more than most fast food nowadays. I don't think a lot of restaurants will survive the next 4 years.A lot went under over COVID but I think costs are going to drive them under next. Labor and food costs are both through the roof. Lot of local restaurants can't find staff as even at much elevated wages no one wants to work there. fast food places are paying 2x minimum wage as starting wages in a lot of them.

its a mess

Carl Hommel said...

Agree on "stop eating out, buy in bulk, cook in bulk, and store in a chest freezer."

My tip - look at staples in your shopping cart, and see if you can make them at home instead. I invested $30 and am now saving $0.50/day on yoghurt. If my wife likes my Kombucha test run, we'll invest $50 and save $3/day.

A bread machine has a big upfront cost, but flour is cheaper than store-bought bread, and you control the sugar content!