I would never buy eggs for $6.99 a dozen. And yet, some people now are. I buy my eggs (which are rather quite good) from Aldi. Last week I paid $1.25 a dozen. This week the same dozen went down in price to only $1.15. So, when it comes to eggs, I’m not suffering from inflation. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m experiencing deflation. In this time of inflation fear mongering, I’m finding out that several of the constant things I buy have come down in price. That’s a very good thing.
The price of steaks may be sky high but I was able to harness this lower cost London Broil steak ($5.99 a pound as a Loss Leader for only $1.99 a pound) instead of the higher priced NY Strip or Porterhouse steak ($15.99 a pound). A bit of overnight marinade and this London Broil tastes just as good as the big guys do!
Gas prices may be up but I’ve been lucky enough to find gas stations selling a gallon of gas still under $3.00. I’ve even experienced propane prices for heating my home and hot water come down ever so slightly, but down they have come. My dishwasher is on the brink and my husband was able to find a refurbished replacement part for only $88 vs the new purchase price of $153. Refurbished is better, my husband says, because all the kinks have already been taken out of the part so the replacement will work just fine. Plus it comes with a 1 year guarantee. Ditto for my 15 year old hair dryer. It stopped working because the switch was defective. My husband, as expected, tried to fix it but to no avail. We were able to buy a brand new (and much lighter) one from Amazon for only $9.34.
Of course, timing is everything. This may not be a good time to buy a house right now but it may be a good time for you to sell. If you’re planning on buying another home however, buy it first before you sell. Trust me, your home will sell BUT you may not be able to buy another home and be forced to become a renter for the rest of your life. It is because of this particular inflation fear regarding home sales and purchases that hubby and I have decided we will remain in our home. For like forever. Or until the housing market settles down. I don’t however, see that happening anytime soon. I think high home prices are here to stay. That’s because large conglomerates are the ones buying up many of the homes in the United States right now. Corporations are finding out that rental incomes are very profitable. Yield-chasing pension funds are forcing many first-time home buyers, who don’t have the competing required cash needed for the bidding wars, completely out of the market (click here for more info). In retrospect, the time to buy a home was two years ago.
The same holds true for both new and used cars. Competition and a chip shortage have caused many car buyers to either overpay for a vehicle or not buy at all. In this department we were lucky to have purchased a new-to-us pick up truck just inches before the car market started to explode. We sold our used car $4,000 above the Blue Book recommended price and bought a 3 year old (2019) used vehicle for $2,000 less than the sticker price several months ago. Today? We wouldn’t be so lucky.
So far, our monthly income has been able to handle the current rises in prices. As long as we are able to make adjustments, changes and substitutions we should be able to continue to meet our current obligations. Should our home and vehicle insurance rates rise, we’ll seek out alternative, competing companies. So far, our electricity bills have risen (so we use less electricity and have replaced all light bulbs with L.E.D.s) but the new monthly budget plan is still manageable. Tolls are up, so we drive less over toll roads (our GPS finds us alternate, free routes). Real estate taxes are higher but we qualify for a Senior 65 discount which lowers our tax bill to a more affordable level.
Medical costs are destined to rise so we have made a conscious effort to get ourselves healthy. Hubby’s health insurance has added on dental and vision benefits at no additional charge so he has been busy having his teeth cleaned and his eyes checked. I still won’t venture out into a doctors office but have done more telemed visits, which is a reduced price over actual in-person visits.
Thanks to the pandemic, we have become accustomed to having ALL our meals at home. If however, we want to venture out to a restaurant, I’ve traded in my reward points for no-fee, no-expiration date gift cards to several of our favorite restaurants should the need arise (such as when we travel). We lowered our travel costs tremendously. By staying at state parks or longer stays at privately owned RV parks, we pay no more than $24 to $36 per night vs the $85 to $115 a night most other RV parks charge.
I very rarely buy a book. I use the free public library instead. I listen to free music from either Spotify or Amazon Music. Other than socks and underwear (and a bathing suit) we buy ALL our clothes from Goodwill or The Salvation Army thrift store. All recreation for us is either free or donation generated. I used to be a big proponent of attending the theater and seeing live, professional productions over the years. That era for me is long gone. Instead of seeing a different venue several times a year, we’ve narrowed it down to one annual show, off-broadway, in Sarasota Florida vs Broadway NYC for only $42 a seat vs $150 a seat (and rising!)
The government has a set way of rating inflation (CPI) vs how you and I would rate our own inflation rate. Our personal inflation rate can differ substantially. Government measures inflation so that they can control various government programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Our personal budgets and how we spend to live comfortably in retirement can be quite different from the numbers the government doles out. For instance, the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is based on the needs of the ‘average’ consumer. We may not consider ourselves ‘average’. If we own our own home or live frugally, we may not spend as much money on certain categories as the ‘average’ consumer does. Also, where we live in America has a big impact on our bottom line. Different regions throughout the country will experience different prices on food, fuel as well as housing. Your level of thriftiness, and the timing of your purchases directs your COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment). If you are frugal, hunt for bargains, and buy used, on sale, and out of season — you may not experience the same inflation rate as the average consumer. Click here for more information on understanding what your personal rate of inflation might be.
I’m not as worried about inflation as the fear mongers are hoping we’d be. Concerned yes but not afraid. First off, this isn’t my first rodeo with hyperinflation. I survived the 1970s-1980s bout with high inflation, so I’m certain I can weather it again. Granted yes I’m older but I am also wiser. We need to use our brain vs our brawn to deal with the higher prices coming our way. Inflation is a tax and it will erode our wealth and lower our standard of living. Most of us are going to become a lot poorer as the cost of almost everything goes up. If we’ve lived a frugal lifestyle, we’re sensitive to price variations. We know how to adjust. We know how to prioritize and downsize accordingly.
My frugal lifestyle and general wisdom concerning inflation will help our bottom line in the end. Taxes, gasoline prices and health care costs are just some of the rising prices we can not control. That is why we need to fine tune our expenses in the areas we can control. Hopefully the ying and the yang of inflation pricing will balance out each other. Technology and continued mass-production will, in the end, help our bottom line.
What is your personal inflation rate? Take a step back and focus on your spending. What can you change? What can you do without? What will make your life better in the end? We have more control over our lives that those financial pundits scare us in to believing.
Like this post? Sign up for free emails whenever I write a new post. You can also follow this blog, for free. Sign up links are posted on the upper right hand corner. I also accept donations when you buy me a cup of coffee and a croissant. Links are posted on the right hand side wall. Thanks for reading my blog!