Saturday, May 14, 2022

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Getting ahead of inflation

This past year or so has brought on a constant deja vu of the late 1970s and 1980s as prices continue to skyrocket.  Only, I have read that the rate of inflation for many items is now higher than in those decades.

A news story about the increasing costs of food mentioned recently that some restaurants are now using stickers on their menus to indicate prices since they were having to raise them so often.  It was getting too expensive to reprint menus.

In just the past few days here in the U.S., the price of gas jumped twice where I live and now there has been a warning that diesel fuel may rise to $10.00 a gallon, which would definitely put it in the range of hyperinflation.  

Since so much of our food and essentials are transported by trucks, it could only mean higher prices than we are seeing now.   What will be the most likely outcome is the trucks will stop running as it becomes impossible for truck owners to make a profit.

I have been surprised at how much produce keeps going up when I go to the grocery store.  If this happens with diesel fuel, it would put the price of produce from California out of reach of most of us who do not live near that state.

I was talking with a family member recently about unexpected repairs they have to make to their home and they were wondering if they should have more needed work done while the house is already torn up.  Normally, I may have told them they should wait until we see what happens with the economy but with inflation being what it is, my recommendation was to get the other work done now.

Most likely, our money will continue to reduce in value as costs will continue to rise.  So, our money next year this time will not buy what it can today.  If we have the money available now to purchase something we plan to buy in the near future, then in an inflationary cycle it is wise to purchase now.

That is not even taking into account something we did not have in the Jimmy Carter administration... the fact that most of our products are now made in China and other countries.  Most of our products were still made in this country and there were few supply chain problems.  Except those caused by escalating fuel costs for the trucking industry, which we are seeing today.

The one thing I would not do and will not do, even with inflation destroying the dollar, is to take on a loan right now.  Unless it is something safe and there are safe loans available.  Of course, one thing I hope everyone learned in 2008 is to avoid variable interest loans as the proverbial plague.

My husband and I have had a few conversations about what we can afford to buy right now that we know we need within a year.  One thing we received an estimate on was for a new water heater because ours is old and while it works, it takes longer to heat up the water.  So, we had someone come out and give us an estimate.

This is a company we have done business with numerous times since we lived in this house and they promised to get back to us when they could locate one the smaller size we need for our garage.  That was a couple months ago.  I wonder what it would be like if we waited until it had stopped working?  

We will follow up soon to see how the search is going but if you live in a house that is not brand new, be aware that it may take longer to find some items you need because of changes in energy efficiency requirements.  In this case, it made water heaters larger today than the foot print our old one takes up in the garage.

So... what did I do for my pantry this week?  

I needed a few items of clothing for my warm weather wardrobe so I have been stopping by Goodwill once a week.  Over about a month's time, I was able to find a couple pairs of slacks and two pairs of shorts that were perfect for my needs.  All of them together for less than what one of the items full price would have cost. Not to mention they no longer carried the brands I usually purchase.

I am blessed to have a Goodwill that usually has brand name clothing in great condition.  I have wondered if that will change as inflation causes people who purchase a new wardrobe each season to hang on to their "old clothes" longer.

I need to remember to take my winter cost to the dry cleaners.  It will not get any cheaper and it hasn't been cleaned in a few years.  My coat was purchased in the 1990s and it wasn't cheap, even when purchased half price.  But it has lasted for over two decades now and I know keeping it clean helps the cloth to last longer.  

I consider making certain we have enough clothing for upcoming seasons to be part of the pantry lifestyle.  Especially when we can buy on sale (or at thrift stores) and not have to pay the full amount.  I think you get used to thinking ahead after awhile.  For instance, like watching for prom dresses to go on clearance right now when you know your daughter will need one next year. For her to pick out, of course.

So, what about food and water?  I have been brainstorming ways to stock up more with limited space.  I already wrote about purchasing cans of both Italian Style tomato paste and the plain tomato space.  They make an excellent pasta sauce when water is added (and other items we like in our pasta sauce if we have them available) and take up far less room than jars of sauce.

I am always looking for information from the people online that I follow, whether in articles or on YouTube.  It was either Alaska Grannie or Homestead Corner that mentioned they like to keep packets of pizza crust in their pantries.  I have King Arthur flour that is especially made for pizza dough but I thought those packets would be an excellent idea to have on hand.

I bought three packages of Pillsbury Thin & Crispy Pizza Crust Mix that only need water and oil added.  They don't take up much room at all in my kitchen shelves.  These packets were not on my radar at all.  I have a pizza pan that was purchased at Aldi for less than $10.00 so I will give one of these packages a try soon.

I purchased one small package of vegan bouillon cubes last week to see how I like them.  I am not a vegan but I have heard (from cooking shows) that these are good to use when you cannot have the MSG found in other bouillon cubes. They are supposed to have a long shelf life and they take up little space.  I tried one in a cream sauce already and thought it was pretty good.

My friends, the world the way it is now doesn't even resemble my old normal.  Did you ever think you would hear of parents not able to locate baby formula?  A friend told of being at a store last week talking to a young father who was in tears because his baby could only use one type of baby formula and he could not find it in stock, anywhere.

I had to switch to baby formula with both of my children even though I had wanted to nurse my babies.  My son had digestive problems as an infant and like that father's baby, was on a special formula.  

We need to be thinking ahead and asking God for wisdom.  That will vary with each person, of course.  Under different circumstances, I would be doubling the size of our garden right now but instead I have come to realize I cannot even grow an herb garden on the deck.

God knows where we are, what we can do, what we can afford, where we live, etc.  He doesn't say that He is only going to take care of those who can move to the country and grow their own food.  He will move greatly to get you what you need when you trust Him.

I ask Him for wisdom each day.


Ann said...

Your last two paragraphs are the most important for peace of mind. We keep a large pantry and have for years with the idea that we're going to need it in the future BUT it is sometimes overwhelming to think of that and all the other things that are not food that one needs to have or do in preparation for tough times. Quite some time ago I realized that God does not expect me to do everything myself -- He's God and He is in charge of everything that concerns me and my family. I do what I can to the best of my ability and trust He will fill in the blanks when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been following your blog for several years, although not reading every post. But I sure appreciate your info! And it’s more relevant now than ever. I can’t imagine the stress of parents looking for formula for their babies. Having a supportive community of family and friends is of utmost importance in helping find solutions to pressing needs.

Vee said...

The heartache and panic of young couples trying to find the formula their infants' needs is unbelievable. I can't think about it...way beyond my pay grade, but I can pray. I sure am sorry that you need a new hot water heater. I needed one last year...ugh. My daughter tells me that it's time to move. That just makes my head hurt. Thank you for your instructive and encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

Very wise and needed words today.
Only God can help us in this transition
in our country today. Blessings, Sharon D.

Anna Gartin said...

I am thankful though it killed our wallet that our water tank went back several years ago now along with the washing machine right behind it.. 2018. It cost a lot for that water tank over $2000 I cringe to think what it would cost today. I am seeing the panic daily here in my city and state on the baby formula my friend just had a baby last week and as far as I know she is breast feeding o.k. and I pray that continues for her. Things are moving so swiftly in the wrong direction I just can't even keep up with it all but God is in the house and is providing for our needs and I am thankful. A friend who works for a company sort of like Meals on Wheels stopped by the other day and gave us 3 boxes of one week of frozen dinner meals one of which I gave to a senior neighbor. These boxes were ones that got cancelled I don't know what she does with them normally but she happened to have them at the end of her work week. Each meal is $6.99 these are not government funded. So we have some single serve meals in the deep freezer that God blessed us with, I never say No to free food if we can't use it we can always find someone in our neighborhood who can.