Inflation In Real Life

There's so much talk about inflation that I decided to test how bad it really was. For all of November I saved my receipts, then I compared them to 2019, the last normal year we had in this country.

I could've checked 2020, but that was the year of isolation. It was a great year for us. We rarely went out plus we raised a fantastic garden. Staying put meant we spent very little money, so comparing the two years wasn't a fair test.

2021 wasn't much better because that's when prices started to climb. I had to go to 2019 for a fair comparison.

What an eyeful!

My grocery bill for the same month was a whopping $355 more than 2019. And this despite the fact that I greatly curtailed my food buying in November 2022 because prices were simply too high. In short, I bought less, yet spent $355 more.

I wish I had an answer for this dilemma. 

Despite the fact I keep a full pantry and freezer, I feel the pinch too. It's made me want to redouble my efforts to grow a bigger garden next year.

Because of Greg's diabetes, I especially want to grow fruits and vegetables that are friendly to diabetics because they're not always easy to find or are too expensive. Okra, broccoli, peas, jicama, bok choy, and spaghetti squash are high on my list for next year.

I also want to raise produce that stores well. It's nice to have fresh vegetables during the midst of winter.

In the past I would've encouraged you to stock up on pantry items that normally go on sale this time of year, but those sales never happened.

Instead, milk, butter, eggs, flour, and oil went sky high. And I don't even want to bring up meats.


What I can tell you is that you should build up a stockpile slowly and patiently. Prices will not be coming down any time soon. Whenever you can snag a sale, do so, even if you don't need the item just yet.

I've been very grateful for that strategy. It probably seemed dumb to a lot of people, but while prices were going up, I was still using butter that was $2 less than it is now.

King Arthur flour which generally runs $7 for a 5lb bag, was bought on clearance last year for $1.50 a bag. There was nothing wrong with it. The store just wanted to move them for fresh stock. I bought 25lbs for $7.50. Once home, they went into containers with oxygen absorbers and then vacuum sealed. 

I know some people just roll with the punches and pay the higher prices but I hate letting big business get away with highway robbery.

Do what you can, save what you can, and plant a garden. 

Are you shopping any differently this year? Is there anything you're cutting back or eliminating?


Mike Keyton said…
Food bills are bad enough, with us it is also energy. Despite having our thermostat on a modest 17.5 (below zero outside] our smart meter recorded we’d spent over £16 by the end of the day. Outside the home we face rail strikes. Postal strikes, ambulance strikes and nurses strikes. Interesting times
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Weird as it sounds, our Congress voted to make the impending rail strike illegal. I've heard of the government forcing people not to strike, but not in recent memory.

We seem to be okay energy wise. We'll see if that remains so if we have a freeze in the south. There are so many layers of bureaucracy. It's a house of cards.

I'd be curious to know if all the strikes are related. Do you think the labor force has had enough? We've certainly put nurses through the wringers. They deserve more than they get.
Angela Brown said…
The short answer to skyrocketing inflation isn't pretty and the long answer is less palletable.

My situation is a bit different now than it was in 2019. I now have a kid in college and am having to adjust my plans to prepare for retirement. I don't have to pay for private school, but college is still expensive given I don't want her to end up with thousands in debt, especially with her going into STEM studies

I wish that what could be learned from this is what is emphasized, but as has been is what it is. Also, given trying to "make a dime stretch out to a dollar" isn't anything new for me, this is oddly familiar territory.

Thank your for sharing your findings.
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I can't impress upon you enough about prepping for retirement. Get all your ducks in a row before you retire.

Have a medical plan in place if you retire before Medicare age. Pay off your house and car.

You'll have enough debt after retirement so you want to start with a clean slate.

To put it in perspective, even though we did all these things, private medical insurance for me alone was astronomical. But the worst parts are the issues you can't foresee.

We replaced a roof, and two HVAC units. We had major surgeries for two dogs and one cat. We replaced a floor. Our truck, dishwasher, and refrigerator went out.

The list goes on and on. None of these things were expected and they all put a huge dent in our savings.

Inflation is the unpalatable icing on a debt cake.