Financial wizards are being very specific when they say our current inflationary period will NOT be like the hyperinflation of the 1970s. I personally say ‘bunk’. High inflation is high inflation and the high inflation we are all feeling right now is very reminiscent to me of the 1970s. I know this because I lived through it. I remember episodes where we didn’t have the money to buy even bread for the dinner table. Ordering oil for our furnace was near impossible. Affording said oil was another nightmare. We had to install a wood burning stove if we expected to survive the cold northeast winters.
Throw in that we’re older now and living on a fixed income and we have a near perfect scenario for a financial tsunami. To me, the only thing that is going to get us through this is my experience with super high inflation. You have to concentrate on affording your ‘four walls’ (housing, food, utilities and transportation) and just let the rest of it float away. If an expense pops up that isn’t directed towards those ‘four walls’ then that expense isn’t paid. Period.
Our gas budget used to be $100 a month. Now, we’re spending close to $225 a month and we are just driving around our town doing errands or grocery shopping. Any maintenance or housing repair has to be done by ourselves. We can’t afford to hire anyone anymore. This includes landscaping.
Our kitchen table, which is a hand-me-down from my MIL, needed some TLC as the top was pitting. After 18 years of use, you’d think we deserved a new set. Not possible. I personally sanded it down and polyurethaned the top as best as I could. It’ll have to keep on functioning for us for now.
Food is our largest bill. I try to keep it between $450 and $500 a month but it’s near impossible for me to accomplish that. Thankfully, I have some really great and healthy recipes dating back to the 1970s that I am reincarnating today. Two of the recipes I’m utilizing were passed down to me by my mother. I would imagine that she learned these recipes from her own mother dating back to The Great Depression of the 1930s.
The first one I’ll share with you uses a traditional Italian recipe for sauce but you add in cauliflower as the meat substitute. It’s a good, healthy dish that goes well with a hearty pasta. I like Ronzoni (or its generic sister) pasta during times like this because it’s a good, solid pasta that will fill you up and ‘stick to your ribs’.
The second dish I’ve been preparing lately is my famous zucchini bread. I used this recipe a lot back in the 1970s. Each loaf I bake has an entire shredded zucchini in it and gets its sweetness from raisins and currant jelly. Now that our veggie garden is starting to produce, I bake one of these loaves every few days. Hubby loves them!
Cherries are in season now and on sale. Still, I spent $6.88 for a bag of cherries from Aldi and I had a few left over. Rather than freeze them or (God forbid!) toss them, I made a cherry cobbler instead and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delish!
Meat deals are very hard to come by lately. I did score this 50% off a selection of uncured bacon for hubby (he can’t have nitrates in his food). Normally 12 ounces of uncured bacon sells for $7.25 and above. Aldi had this new brand priced at $5.99 but with the 50% off label I scored a few packs for only $3.00 each. When we do have ‘meat’ it’s usually chicken. A local grocery store in my neighborhood sells these small but good chickens for only $1.99 a pound. You have to buy the whole bird and thankfully the butcher cuts them up into 8ths. I save the neck part in the freezer for wintertime soups. I usually make my own salad dressing but Aldi had these fantastic Greek dressings on close out. This one is black garlic and fig dressing. How cool is that? I made a salad of romaine, chopped up feta cheese and some kalamata olives. Delish!
Lastly, the basil growing in my garden has been extra plentiful this year. Guess it is all the rain. I started the basil from seeds very early in the season and they’re doing quite well. Every summer I make a big batch of pesto. I freeze some for enjoyment in the winter. And then I make a few dishes of linguine with pesto throughout the summer months. I first started making this recipe back in 1984 (?) from an article I read in the NY Times. Over the years I’ve adjusted it a teeny tiny little bit. Nonetheless, it’s a traditional family pleaser.
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