How Often do you Stop and Think, “Wow, that’s Expensive”

A woman grocery shopping.
A woman grocery shopping. She's probably thinking, "Wow, that's expensive."

“Wow, that’s expensive.”  I see it in the face of other shoppers.  I also think it. Sometimes I say it out loud. That usually leads to a conversation with a stranger as we express our mutual outrage.

How often do you find yourself saying that? It used to happen to me be at the gas pump or the grocery store, but I find it happening more and more. Only sometimes, “wow” isn’t the word I use. If the item has seen a serious price jump, I find a curse word works its way in there.

Today I went to a website that specializes in selling certain goods. I’d been there before, but not for some time. I looked at a few items, and I thought, “$38.99 for that? Wow, that’s expensive.”

So I went to an online store in the industry I use to work in and things that used to cost me $28 or $30 in 2020 were $40 or $45. Wow, that’s expensive. Everywhere you look, prices are increasing.

Many of my recent beehive-related purchases had also gone up. Our property taxes increase significantly. Our homeowner’s insurance bumped up, too. Dog food is outrageous. Inflation is continuing to rise; don’t believe government attempts to tell you otherwise. Believe your wallet.

Gasoline Surges

Gasoline has jumped 30 cents since I last filled my tank 10 days ago. It’s 20 cents higher in the state where my daughter lives. We’ll be looking at $5 before long. (Wow, that’s expensive.) Makes me glad I don’t plan to drive anywhere until Saturday.

It’s time to rotate out one of my gas cans, so I’ll be pouring it into my truck soon. Only problem is, then I have to refill the can. Because I buy the no-ethanol version for fuel storage, it’s more expensive than regular gas.

During the winter, I filled our generator, tested it out, and positioned it in my carport so it would be ready to plug in if we had a lengthy power outage. We never needed it. I’m planning to use my transfer pump to take the fuel out of the generator and use it in my vehicle. I won’t refill the generator until I need to. No reason to let the gas in there get stale.

To Buy or Not to Buy

When I face a big jump in the price, it causes me to reconsider my purchase. I think, “Do I really need that?” Sometimes I look for an alternative or just forget buying it.

I also am changing my habits. I eat bacon almost every day with my eggs. After my favorite bacon exceeded $7 per pound, I cut back. I am eating one less piece of bacon with every meal and opening a can of Spam between each package of bacon. The Spam is about half the price of the bacon on a per-pound basis. The cans I’m eating today have a “best by” date of 2019, so it is also giving me an opportunity to rotate my older canned meats. I am also skipping eggs occasionally and having pancakes, which are quite inexpensive.  Sometimes I skip meat at breakfast have have grits with my eggs.  Grits are a bargain at Sam’s club, although that might change as corn gets more expensive.

I’m trying to use my credit card bill as a way to keep my costs down, limiting myself to spending less than $2,000 per month. Some months that is doable. Other months, it’s impossible because I bought new prescription glasses and paid my accountant in the same month. I find myself holding off on purchases and then buying them after my credit card billing period ends. That just front-loads my bill which can become an endless cycle. Still, aiming for a budget makes me hyper-aware of what I am spending.

While budgeting is good, lurking in the back of my mind is the question: What if it costs more next month? Maybe we should buy it now so we can save money.

Food for storage, garden supplies, bee equipment, pet and livestock foods, and firewood are some of the things I am not rationing. I consider these necessities. I’m trying to get ahead or stay ahead.

Figure out what you consider necessary and stock up.