Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Increasingly Costly Items

Of course we all know the cost of goods is increasing, and the amounts in the packaging is decreasing. (Actually, I do not believe the cost of goods is increasing, but rather the US Dollar is worth less and less all the time.) Some things are already (or soon will be) taking a bigger hit than others... here are some of my notes:

Expect the price of cane sugar to increase now that some manufacturers are (finally) switching from High Fructose Corn Syrup back to real sugar. Plus, most of our cane sugar is imported, and so far Monsanto hasn't broadcast GMO sugar cane although they are trying. They have already succeeded with sugar beets. Unless a package of sugar specifies cane sugar, it probably IS GMO beet sugar. Food products must be labeled as to contents, and sweet things may just say "sugar" although I have seen some that do specify "cane sugar". Thus far, labels saying "Non-GMO" are not allowed.

Most fruit and fruit juices are imported, either whole... or as concentrates. Expect prices to increase more than many other items due to transportation across an ocean, and cold-storage costs. Transportation costs are similar for coffee, although overall costs for coffee are worse now because world-wide weather problems have affected the coffee production yields.

Chocolate: same problems with chocolate as with coffee... weather, and transportation around the world. I'm not a big fan of chocolate but occasionally I like a bite. I buy the high percentage (84%) cocoa bars made by Lindt, since they are mostly chocolate rather than sugar, and less expensive so far than other brands. One bar can last a month or more for me, and they work well in baked goods or shaved on top of a dessert.

Stock up on whatever fruits and veggies are in season by dehydrating or canning them so there are no worries about power outages and a freezer full of food. Where you can, store winter veggies in a cool basement, in a crawl space, or in a root cellar if you are lucky enough to have one. Even the bottom of a cool, dark closet can extend the shelf life of winter produce much longer than a kitchen cabinet.
All building materials are increasing in price... particularly items like the wood used for framing because large-enough trees to mill are getting more scarce and thus more expensive to harvest (which makes paper goods made from wood pulp more expensive, too); also items like plastic plumbing parts and roofing shingles because they are petroleum-based products. 

Any household goods made from plastic, and most cleaning goods, will increase more than other items... again because of being petroleum-based. Take an hour a day away from the TV and learn to make your own laundry detergent and soap. Use vinegar for cleaning; it's antibacterial! Learn to ignore the seductive ads for products. Ask yourself how much an item will increase your quality of life, not your ego or taste buds. (That doesn't mean give up tasty foods!)

The insurance industry in the USA is taking a big hit from tornadoes and floods. Expect them to make it up by big jumps in policy costs for home and auto. Don't even think about health-care costs or health-care insurance!

Don't buy disposable batteries. Buy a solar multi-battery charger and good rechargeable batteries instead. My niece who lives here goes through 4-8 batteries a month for her iPod. In less than 1 year, she'll break even with a solar charger and rechargeable batteries. I know, I just helped her mother buy some.

Now, to offset what I said about buying frivolous items, let me encourage you to buy some fun things... one a month should not hurt the budget too much. Buy a set of Pick-Up Sticks and Tiddlywinks, a Chess-Checkers-Backgammon Set, a Scrabble Game Set (and be sure you have a real dictionary), a couple of decks of Playing Cards, and Hoyle's Book of Card Games. Maybe get a set of Jacks (remember them?) and a couple of yo-yo's and a Slinky if you have kids around. You'll be surprised how entertaining they can be when the power goes out!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.