While at the hardware store the other day, I picked up two creosote removers. These are small tubes you toss into your fireplace or woodstove when it is burning well. The chemicals are supposed to help keep your stovepipe and chimney free of creosote. My experience is that they work. The first year we had the chimney swept, the guy said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.” The second year, a different chimney sweep inspected it and said we didn’t even need it to be swept. That’s after burning more than four cords of wood per year.
So I make it a practice to stock up on the creosote removers. When I first bought them, they were $1.99. In February of this year, they went up to $2.39. Last week, the same product at the same store was $3.59. That’s a 50 percent increase.
I checked my receipts, and on January 22, 2022, I paid $7.17 for three of them. Last week, it cost $7.18 for just two.
I have 10 in my personal inventory. Not enough for an entire burning season. After a quick checked online, I determined can buy them on Amazon.com for $2.77, but I’d have to buy a case of 36 to do it. They are $2.99 each at Tractor Supply. That’s a good compromise.
Whether you compare it to $1.99 or $2.39, inflation has driven the cost up.
I’ve been known to get a couple boxes of cookies at Dollar General. Among my favorites are the ones that seem very similar to Girl Scout Cookies. I can remember when they were $1 a box, probably to compete with the Dollar Tree. Over the past year, I have watched them climb to $1.85. Last week, they were $2.25. I didn’t buy any. While I can afford $2.25 for cookies, but it’s the principal. The price has gone from being competitive with a candy bar to being more than I want to pay for 15 cookies. I’d rather spend a little more of my hard-earned money and get something from Entenmann’s or Pepperidge Farm.
It appears to me that the various dollar stores are no longer offering the deals they once did.
While the creosote remover was up 80 percent, the cookies were up 125 percent. And we’re supposed to believe inflation is up 8.6 percent.
There is some good news about pricing from the Wall Street Journal, but it only applies to things that are out of season or over stocked. Because of the shipping delays, many items came into the ports after the season. As a result, there is a glut of kitchen appliances, televisions, outdoor furniture and apparel that major chains are trying to clear out. Companies are selling the goods to stores like Ross and TJ Maxx as well as clearance chains and online sellers.
What makes these deals unusual is that the products are not shelf pulls or the leftovers in very small or very large sizes. They are first-rate goods that took too long to ship from China because of the pandemic or waited too long on the cargo ship because of the supply chain backlog. As long as they have no water damage, there should be nothing wrong with these products.
My wife has already expressed an interest in getting a new refrigerator. I‘m not a fan of replacing something that isn’t broken, but she’s never liked the model that came with our house.
Gas Prices Drop Again
Gas at our local pumps dropped again. Likely because crude oil fell below $100 per barrel. The drop in oil prices is because markets expect a recession.
In any case, I’m just glad prices are going down as fast as they went up. Gas is 25 cents less per gallon than it was 10 days ago, and I could save more if I drove to a cheaper station. It’s almost enough to make me wish I needed to fill my tank.
Inflation and Deflation
So how can we have inflation and deflation at the same time? First, because they screwed our economy up. Second, if the cost of fuel and commodities does drop, it will take some time to trickle down to the markets.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the supposed financial gurus at the Fed have a grip on the situation. I expect we’re going to see more inflation, a recession, and some examples of deflation for the next two or three years. The best we can do it buy things when they are low. Look for a deal, they are out there, and then stock up.