Thursday, May 16, 2024

Inflation - Can You Beat It?

 Happy Thursday - hope this finds you well.  Missing some of you!  Check in so we know you are A-OK!
This morning is sunshine here, a little fog and nice temperatures.  Most of all NO rain!

Well, yes - we still have to do it.  We still have to live and shop!  But can we fudge a little?  Sure.

Can you beat inflation?  Well, I don't know about beating it - but we can play the game too!  I realize that everything is up in cost and that makes goods cost more.  BUT not all of it is cost of living - some is just greed.

Not much we can do about gasoline prices, except be mindful of our trips and makes them as useful as can be.  Do your errands all at once in one day, instead of going out driving more than necessary.  If you work, well you can maybe carpool or take public transportation (if available), but otherwise you are kind of stuck.  Do any errands on the way home and not extra trips if necessary. Take care of your vehicle so it is as efficient as possible.

Your home - just stay where you are if you can.  Housing is so expensive now - it is for sure a seller's market and rent can be so expensive.  If your home is sound, safe and stable - stay there and improve little things as you can afford.  Love what you have!!!!  Embrace it. 
We don't have to have the fanciest or the biggest or the newest or the best address - we just need to love what we have and take care of it.

Groceries - well, play the game!  Buy only those lost leaders in ads.  Look for the clearance goods.  Shop the cheaper stores.  USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  Stay home more often and be ever so mindful of what you buy and what you spend.  Grow some things if you can.  Cook from scratch.  We give ideas all the time on ways to save on food - so use them.  Go back and read posts and learn as much as you can.  Use alternatives if you are out of something.  Use your leftovers.  We can make a difference in our spending - so we can play the game too.

Utilities - well they cost what they cost.  We can use less.  Use less water - don't leave faucets run needlessly.  Wet and soap up - shower off - wash your body - the rinse off.  Catch that extra water from faucets to water plants or mop the floors or flush the toilet.  Catch rainwater if you are permitted to in your area.  It is great for plants and animals.
Turn off lights when not in need.  During this time of the year, I do not even turn on house lights.  I have a small night light for over night, and I have a dusk to dawn light outside for safely.  That is it.  You can use your TV for light or light a candle or use those battery candles. 
Turn heat down or AC up. Use fresh air if possible and maybe a ceiling fan or small fan.
Rethink cable, internet, phones etc.  Check prices for cheaper versions.  If you have $ troubles - just get rid of something.  It isn't a HAVE to have.

Insurances - shop around.  If you are paying super high prices, look around for a better price.  Insurance encompasses all areas of life - they get us coming and going.  House, health, car, other vehicles, etc.  Do your research.

Clothes - try to get by with what you have.  Repair and mend.  If you need new - shop thrift stores or yard sales.  You can get brand new items at times for pennies on the dollar.  Watch your freecycle groups for all things you may need.

FUN - have staycations. If you are having money troubles - just figure out ways to have fun at home.  Parks, local free events, walking festivals, having picnics, sprinklers, music in the parks, games at home.  Maybe make it a neighborhood thing - families all pitch-in.  You can still have fun and not spend.

There are ways to fight inflation and the cost of living.  You just have to think a little.  Do a little research and footwork and you can stay ahead of the game.
Most of all remember the HUGE difference between wants and needs.

You can do this - just put in a little effort.
Have a lovely day everyone!
I am off to enjoy this beautiful day.

** I understand not everyone can do all of these - but we can all try something.


  1. Hi, Cheryl. I do believe it can be done. Everyone goes on about the price of food& everything. Do the math & track spending. And yet the grocery spending here has ranged from $391-445 in the past 5 yrs with 2019 being the highest. Granted, I do live alone but I trust that I could make the numbers work with more in the household. This works b/c of my commitment to scratch cooking w/ menu planning, limited "junk" food & eating out, grow-ceries & preserving. I've investigated cheaper insurance rates; only buy what you need, just like food & clothing. Shop for lower utility rates & be mindful of usage, i.e. dress up vs turning the thermostat up. I could go on & on.

    1. I think so too. Same here - just me, but people probably wouldn't believe what I live on. My grocery budget has actually gotten smaller for the past 3 years - not larger. I wish we could shop for utilities - but we have only one choice and that is it.
      I think many changes can be done for the average home, and people can get by on far less than they think.

  2. I'm with Mona. Our grocery bill has been stable although the CSA has gone up as they pay fair market wage so they team can survive-and I'm happy to continue supporting them (our spring shares have been outrageously huge so far having not consumed even 1/3 of last week's yet so freezer blanching is on the afternoon agenda!).

    And YES! to all your suggestions. We've lived this way for decades, saved $ and now? Well, we can travel out of our usual staycation mode when we want to!

    Happy Thursday everyone! It will be our first day at 86F this year up here in the NW mountains. And of course, back to 60 on Monday ;-)

    1. Glad to hear you agree as well. I wish there was a closer CSA available her. That really is a deal. Heck yes, freeze what is left. Saves later on.
      We lived that way too. Did it all and paid off things and saved. I can do what I want now, I just don't really have many wants.
      The weather is a bit of a see-saw isn't it?

  3. I think all are great reminders even if people have oodles of money. Why waste resources like water, energy, gasoline that hurts our environment. Why have more and more stuff that will end up in landfills. Why fuel corporate greed and marketers by paying double a products value because some athlete or celebrity endorses it. I need to be more attentive to all- especially food and fuel waste.

    1. I agree. Great questions - each one!!!!!! We all need to be more mindful - no sense wasting anything if we can avoid it.

    2. I have a retired cousin living on a small SSDI. She constantly whines about gas prices. "But I NEED to go for a long drive". Um, that's a choice girl. Buy the gas or don't. It is a WANT not a need!

    3. Gets your goat doesn't it? LOL
      It does me, when I hear that stuff. Some people will just ever get IT!

  4. Yesterday DS (Dear Son) said that they don't go to Olive Garden often any longer because they discovered they could fix that food at home. They have a history of going out to eat most evenings, two adults and two kids, because they both work and are exhausted by suppertime. Daughter-in-law's job is extremely stressful so I understand her point of view, but DS is saying the money situation has become quite tight and daily living is eating into his savings. :(
    I hope they can figure out how to make things work. There are fixed expenses they cannot avoid - mortgage, daycare (which is almost a fulltime salary all by itself), insurances.
    I keep telling myself: "Not my circus, not my monkeys". Need to keep my nose out of their business, so I'm left with prayer.

    1. Tell those kids to get a crockpot!!!! That sure saves money and there is a nice meal when you get home from a busy and stressful day! at least your son is aware and trying to think ahead. Sometimes when folks have daycare costs, it is more economical to give up that second job! Sounds crazy I know, but you figure clothes, gas, wear & tear on vehicle, meals, daycare, etc. staying home can be the most advantageous. Most people don't want to hear that though.
      Hope they get it figured out and stay on top of it.

  5. There truly ARE ways to conserve, and you've listed so many of them. My grocery bill has increased, but through thriftiness and careful spending, I am able to make do and still enjoy life. Yes, I do like to eat well. But I'm not going out anywhere near as often as in the past. My "girls group" has changed from dinner to late lunch -- cheaper off the lunchtime menu. My book club has switched from the host providing the meal to everyone contributing a side dish, dessert, or beverages. I shop the loss leaders and stock up on meats when I find a good sale, and I cook from scratch most often, which is far cheaper than using pre-packaged convenience food. I'm a household of one and do NOT enjoy eating the same food for nights on end, so I cut my recipes in half, making 2 servings rather than 4. I menu-plan, and build leftovers into my plan for lunch or to make something repurposed (cook a small meatloaf for 2 servings, use the leftover serving crumbled into sloppy joes or chili). And I buy in quantities that I'll use -- half-loaf size of breads (or I'll make my own, if I can't find a price I like), 4 packs of buns, when I can find them, 2-3 apples rather than a bag, single lemon rather than a bag, 2-3 carrots from the bulk bin rather than a 1# package, 1 chicken breast or 1/2# ground beef unless there is a super deal on the family pack, 1/4# ground Italian sausage for my lasagna at the meat counter rather than already packaged 1# packs, 1/2 # deli meat or cheese, one scoop of 4-bean salad ... Lights off, TV off during the day, windows open in the early morning to avoid AC, home brewed iced tea, rather than bottled tea or soda pop. My book club books come from a used book-seller (our library has only a couple of copies, and there are women in the group who are far less financially stable than me, so I purchase used and in a batch to get the free shipping). And, lastly, watch your bills for extra charges and/or late fees and question any charges you can not substantiate, as well as unexpected increases. Also learn if there is a "minimum charge" on your utilities. If I'm being billed for 500 gallons of water (hypothetical, for example) and am only using 250 gallons, perhaps there is a lower plan? If not, I just may make sure to do extra laundry to use what I'm paying for. It is, in part, about educating yourself to be a savy consumer.

    1. Gal you got this food thing going on!!! You have listed all the ways to save on food - so many that I missed. I like cooking and putting food back in the freezer for another time.
      My friends and groups that get together also do lunches or just get appetizers instead of paying dinner prices. Amazing how much you can save by going a little bit earlier!!! YES. stretch that meat and repackage.
      You mentioned home brewed tea - great! People need to do coffee at home as well - jazz it up there not at the shop for $6 up a cup!
      I have what is called a budget plan for utilities - pay same dollars every month vs. high some months and low others. At the end of season you get either a refund or pay difference.
      The library - thanks for listing that. Great tip!

    2. Cheryl,
      Buying items in a fewer quantity is always more expensive per serving than buying a regular pack of hotdog buns.

    3. It may cost a few cents more - but if it were to waste that would be costly as well. I buy many fruits and veggies in the .99 bin at grocer - there are fewer in the bag, but still a great price.

  6. You make great points about everything! There's almost always a cheaper way to do something, cut costs or even go without if necessary. So many people today consider wants and luxuries as needs. Not true! I remember the inflation of the 1970s and I think it was much worse than what we're experiencing now. There's so much entitlement nowadays and even tiny amounts of deprivation seems to send people over the edge. Believe it or not, you can live without a daily, barista-prepared cup of coffee. It is not a need!
    On a side note, one of the recipes I still have that I cut out of a newspaper in the '70s was Inflation Fudge, made with water instead of milk. Like you said, you can beat inflation. The key is you have to want to.

    1. Indeedy do! People need to realize ants and needs are not the same!!! That fancy coffee is a want. Entitlement is crazy today. You are right - there is complete meltdown if something is not had or doesn't make someone 'happy'. Sigh!
      I sure remember the 70's and even the big crash in the 80's - got by on so little money and lived to tell about it. Learned how to do things cheaply. We did without. Listened to how our parents survived the depression. Yep, it has been worse - and we all survived.
      We all need to be happy with ENOUGH!!!

  7. It is easier to be frugal if you can stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop looking for approval. When you feel free to indulge your own whims and make yourself happy because of it, folks will come to you looking for advice!
    Our personal values should be reflected in how we consume; if you care about the planet, you use as little fossil fuels as possible, you avoid pesticides and fertilizers. It is a happy accident that frugality happens to be very good for the planet as well as for your pocketbook.
    With blogs such as this and you tube and instagram videos, there are so many things to learn. I made lasagna noodles for the first time and they were easy and delicious. Leftover dough went to noodles in chicken noodle soup and they were so tender and flavorful.
    Say no to rip off prices and do it for yourself.
    For your nightlight, Cheryl, have you ever brought in a solar light? When I had them, I would do in the bathroom and one in the kitchen, wherever you need it. I never replaced them when they died but I do use a little star that glows perpetually to mark the switch for the bathroom light.
    In keeping with use what you have; fish and asparagus for supper.

    1. YES, YES, YES! Never compare yourself or your accomplishments to others. I have known this my whole life - but haven't always practiced. Now that I am alone, I am more that way. I do what I want the way I want - and if others don't like it - don't care.
      I love that you have tried something new with the noodles! Cool. I bet they were good. Love the do it yourself mentality.
      Yes, I do have lights outside that our solar, and my plan is to have more.
      I have one indoors that is, and I plan on changing the kitchen one to solar. Trying new things myself!

  8. Food prices have gone up but I’ve been able to keep my grocery budget in check by doing what I’ve done my whole life - shop store brands, shop loss leaders, eat almost no red meat, use coupons and comparison shop various stores. Gas prices don’t bother me because I’m retired. I have felt the pinch with insurance cost increases. But as a saver all my life the silver lining is that I’m now getting 5% on my savings vs. 0.5% for at least the past decade. I love it! I’m sorry for those who have debt and credit card interest is obscene but I’m finally getting a reward for my savings.

    1. Sounds like you have the food shopping down right! You have all the right ways down.
      I use about 1/4 to 1/2 tank of gas a month - and then I get gas with a discount using my points. So I understand the not worrying!
      Insurance has gone up in all places it seems. Good job on getting better interest on your money. That is great.
      I really don't know how many do it with CC and debt interest. It is sad.

  9. A little late to the party today. We are on the same page(s) with everything you wrote. Want, need...There are things we need and I try to ignore the wants. We don't drive very far so our gasoline expenses are less than those who work, have to drive a long day to work, or shop.

    Procedure went well today, no problems!

    Hope your day and the bitty kitties was splendid!

    1. Glad all went well with the procedures!!!!
      It seems most here are on the same page. I sure hope we can all encourage others that it can be done and it really isn't a sacrifice.

  10. I must be doing something wrong because my food bill has increased dramatically. I feed a family of four adults ( two big eating men, two small eating women) then I feed two small eating men lunches six days a week. In the last six months things have been difficult to remain under my grocery budget. I like to think I’m a savvy shopper, but it has been noticeable that my money just doesn’t go as far as it used to. I am still providing, but definitely not adding to my pantry and stores like I used to.
    Cheryl that’s why this place that you have created is so helpful. I am weekly reminded of things to do/try that I have gotten out of the habit of doing or discovering something totally new to try.
    You are fantastic.
    Have a great weekend, Louise

    1. First thank you so much. That is my hope. I want us all to encourage and help others, even if it is just a reminder.
      That is a lot of adults to feed. I think I would be feeding a lot more basic meals than before, if the prices are getting worse for you.
      It may depend on your location as well. Rural areas may be harder, places w/no major grocery chains, just have small shops. There are many variables. Wishing you luck on feeding all those folks - know that it is very kind of you to feed the workers. I know they have to appreciate it.

  11. I would bet there isn't a woman in America who couldn't go for a year without buying ANY clothes. Ditto many men, and many other countries. Buy children's clothes only when they outgrow or wear out what they currently have. Of course, it's OK to buy shoes for kids if they only have one pair and outgrow them. Accept hand-me-downs and shop thrift stores and yard sales when a clothing item truly is needed. I know this sounds harsh, but let's face it--most clothing is a want, not a need. And these are harsh times.

    Tip: go through your wardrobe, mend what needs mending and discard the truly awful stuff. (If it's cotton, cut it up for rags and quit buying paper towels). Then make up outfits from what is left. You will be AMAZED how many looks you can create without buying a thing.
    --Maxine, aka mikemax
    Yes, that's me in the cartoon, LOL!

    1. You are so right. Just a few weeks ago, I started going through things that I haven't worn in ages! Isn't that pitiful - we have clothes we don't even wear? I found new things for my wardrobe now, and I will be 'gifting' the rest to donation to bless someone else.
      Being at home now, it is much easier to dress. I keep it very simple. Mending is so important.
      Kids grow - but gosh people could have clothes exchanges in neighborhoods or families to share.
      If you have little money, there are so many ways to stretch it - you just have to be willing to do new things!

  12. We've had rain off and on here this week, it is helping to wash things off, which I like. I agree with you that some of the inflation is greed, unfortunately. Companies are noticing though that people are not buying as much. Aldi and McDonalds are both supposed to lower prices as a result, which is good. This is an excellent blog post, Cheryl. Save where we can and reread what is already here, there is so much information to learn.

    1. We had a ton more rain overnight again!
      Yes, Aldi is supposed to be lowering prices on over 250 items. Mc D is to have a $5 meal deal. Not sure that is good, food there is not good for anyone - but it is what it is.
      Thanks, we all need reminders now and then.

  13. Love Maxine! And that is so true - we still have to get through it.

    I live in a rental apt. and pay about half the going market rate as I have lived here so long (Govt. rules are that the rent for this type of building can only go up about 2% per year) so I won't be going anywhere else!

    I don't drive but living in the city means that I have access to all sorts of public transit so that's what I use. I work from home at least 2 days per week which helps and because I am a Sr. I get a reduced rate on my pass and I get a 2hr cycle for each fare. So some days I can go in a couple of different directions on the subway and do all sorts of errands and as long as I go through the gate just before the 2 hours is up I can still come home on that one fare.

    Utilities like heat, water and garbage disposal are included in my rent. My phone bill is a set rate and my hydro bill only goes up a bit in the Summer when I use the A/C in the bedroom for sleeping. A lot of that bill is "carrying charges" and they are the base amount for hydro delivery so I can't do anything about that.

    Food prices are high and still projected to go up in 2024. I had always kept a bit of a pantry but upped that during the pandemic and that now means that I shop for fresh produce and dairy and some bread items each month but everything else is bought on sale or as loss leaders or because I can earn Loyalty Points. For the month of May I reduced my grocery budget to one third of my normal amount as I had some extra bills to deal with plus I wanted to cycle through some of my pantry items - wasn't sure I could manage - but I will make it!

    I don't comment often Cheryl but I do read all your posts and always enjoy them.

    1. Rent control is the best. Good for you! Wow, on your transportation costs - neat. I have never been on a subway nor on a bus since I was a kid.
      Rent control and utilities - gal I wouldn't move either. Fantastic.
      Those pantries sure can make a difference. If you need funds elsewhere - all is good with food and supplies!!
      I am glad to have you here - and thanks for sharing. It is nice to have folks from all over - neat to see how it is in different locations. Thank you!!!

  14. I wasn't really frugal until I moved here 25 years ago, and became close friends with three very frugal women! It was like reverse "keeping up with the Jonses"! I learned so much from them . I'm doing ok with inflation now. I'm almost retired, one more week!

    1. Celie you managed to find the best friends ever!!! What a wonderful thing to happen. I bet there were many lessons learned.
      Congratulations on your soon to be retirement! ENJOY

  15. I have been working like a mad woman trying to get things completed by the time my loom arrived (yes it arrived today). I still have a few things to do before I can set it up and warp it. Wish me luck.

    I have been trying to save as much as possible by using appliances for cooking, watering from the rain barrel (and hoping for a good rain). While we really can't beat inflation, we can definitely hold it at bay with judicial shopping, watching our usages, and just making sure our money stretches even further than before.

    God bless.

    1. Glad you got the loom. That will provide hours of entertainment and beautiful objects.
      Yes, we can do our part to make it not hurt as bad. I think we have all had some great tips.

  16. I agree with this whole post, but on some counts, having a disability limits what I can do to cut down costs. AC and lights are a necessity, not selfishness.
    When my children were little, I bought from a ritzy place called Parisians for my children, along with a pricey children's shop, and I made most of my girl's clothing. People were surprised I then bought from yard sales. The few things I wanted and could not make, liked smocked dresses were offset my $1 Sunday pants for my son. I even bought my infants outfit to come home from the hospital for 75 cents.
    I cannot carry a bottle of water from kitchen safely, so cannot carry water even though I used water from dehumidifier and ac to water things and caught water to water garden plants. Age and disability changes things.
    Bogo and loss leaders are mostly what I buy except for this week when I bought expensive ingredients for a favorite dish. I probably won't buy these for another two years!
    I do have pantry and freezer. One day, Tommy said he was eating a can of food because it expired soon. Yes, I taught him and he learned well.
    Keeping cars in good repair and having oil changed is another thrifty tip that was not mentioned, or I don't remember.

    1. Yes, we are all getting older and have some limitations. Even as I age, I try to keep AC at a minimum. I don't like being chilled in my house. Of course, when I use it, it is because I don't want to sweat! LOL
      Nice that you could afford the fancy shop.
      Good tips. Thanks

  17. I've added to the inflation savings of others this morning. I've been walking off the pounds...slowly but successfully as I really love food (started Jan 2022). I try on clothes each May. Out going to Buy-Nothing ladies: swimsuit, 2 sleepshirts and 5 tank tops. I use organic detergent and don't use a dryer so they all look brand new even though worn a lot through last year. Another 5-7 # before the next size bottoms fit comfy so another purge is coming. I'm not a clothes crazy girl. I have enough to get through to a full load of laundry ;-)

    Hub gifted away his "shop" TV/VCR combo. A young Mom was so happy to take it.

    And a young lady who just moved from out of state/started a new job is leaving for a national conference. Day before flight was informed she would need evening attire. I loaned her 4 gowns and saved her a bundle. We NEED a sharing economy for those low-use items. I need evening attire less than once a year and I will keep these gowns forever.

    And I didn't get rid of much clothing as I gained weight so I'm not spending either !!! The optimistic corner of my brain is paying off now! It's a good thing as I am walking through walking shoes every 3 months or so. I've lucked out at Ross/TJ Maxx and picked up ASCICS, New Balance for under $50 so I'm covered until August. As an OR RN specializing in Ortho, I can say there is nothing more important than taking good care of our feet with supportive footwear!

    Happy Saturday everyone!

    1. First, congrats on losing. I am trying to lose a little in the mid-section! 5lbs. so far.
      You guys are really helping others in a great way. Blessing others is wonderful. I love the clothes sharing idea. I think that should happen more often. I like when folks have clothes swaps - kids or adults. Maybe even tool swaps.
      You are doing great.
      Thanks for some great ideas.

  18. I have come to love our home just like you said. So glad I have some where warm (and cool) to stay in and a place to garden. Now if I win the lottery I'll move. I'll just have to start playing it!

    1. Good for you - as it should be. I love my little home too. We have lovely shelter and a place to grow food.
      LOL - I haven't played the lottery in years - guess it would help if one wants to win!!!

  19. It is every where - but there are ways, just as you stated. Having no mortgage or rent is wonderful. My home is oaid for and my vehicle is paid for, and I have just basic utilities and taxes. It is a wonderful feeling.
    Smart on getting gasoline where it is cheapest. I don't vacation, but admire those that do. Staying in country is saving and not traveling abroad.
    There are many ways to save and hedge the expenses. Thanks