On Saturday, we took my daughter out to dinner at a gastro pub in one of the nearby towns. Dinner for the three of us with a tip was more than $80. I thought that was outrageous. It also reminded me why we don’t eat out very often.
All I had was a bacon cheeseburger and ice tea. It came with a side of fries. My wife had three tacos with a side of vegetables and a glass of wine. My daughter had a bowl of fettuccini and ice tea. It seems atrocious to charge $80 for that at a casual restaurant. I guess we were lucky not to be at a fancier place or in a city.
A year ago the same meal would have cost us less than $60.
When I lived in the south, I used to start the day with a bacon egg and cheese biscuit and a large unsweet tea at Bojangles. It cost me less than $4. On my last road trip that included a Bojangles, the tea alone was $2.39. My old breakfast is now more than $6. Worst of all, I doubt these prices will ever come down.
Food and dining out are one of the areas where inflation is most visible.
Shop as Little as Possible
We are living on the proceeds of the sale of our old house and some savings until we are old enough to tap into our retirement accounts. (Doing so before 59-1/2 incurs stiff penalties.) Inflation is squeezing us at the same time the stock market hurts our retirement accounts. If inflation keeps ongoing for a few more years, it will definitely affect our retirement plans. Makes me feel for the 80-year-olds who have been living on social security for 15 or more years.
I’ve found a great way to save money is not to shop. Even better, don’t leave the house. We got used to this during COVID, so why not stay home? I still have a pile of unread books to get to, and a list of chores. I’m mowing and weed whacking tomorrow, for example.
Luckily, I am not a very social person and am perfectly happy staying at home. After all, I moved to the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere because I wanted to be left alone. I generally leave the house about once a week and I try to run all my errands in a single day. It cuts down on spending. But then we get an enormous expense like burying the waterline and it eats away at our savings. I’ve set myself a budget, and while I was over it in July, I’m under in August.
It will be interesting to see if people who are allowed to continue to work at home will end up being less social and leaving the house less.
After checking three different sources, I found a great supplier for the black polyethylene pipe we will be using to carry water down from the spring. I bought two 400-foot rolls and a 100-foot roll, just in case I needed some extra. It worked out to about 35 cents per foot. That’s less for pipe that is rated for 160 PSI than the 100 PSI pipe was in other places. The higher PSI means a thicker wall, so less chance it will spring a leak while buried. I also picked up all the pieces needed to join the pipe together.
Best yet, it was less than half the cost Lowes wanted to charge me, and Lowes was less than our local hardware store. Clearly, it pays to shop around. This is the same store where I bought my electric fence 18 months ago, and their fencing prices remain good, so I bought eight more T-posts. This will allow me to extend my bee yard if I decide to do so next month.
The store is a small farm supply store in the next county over. The first time I went there, I turned around and headed back, thinking, “I must have passed it because it can’t be this far.” That’s the problem with remote areas. If you can’t get a cell signal, you can’t have your phone give you directions. Once I got back to the main road, I punched up the address and had Google give me directions from my current position. Sure enough, I’d been on the right track. I should have kept going and driven another four miles. It’s one of the few signs of life in a tiny village. In fact, I expect the village wouldn’t exist if the general store wasn’t there.
Boy, are the people who work there friendly. And at those prices, I’ll drive 45 minutes into the middle of nowhere. It’s like a land that inflation forgot. I’m tempted to go back and stock up on things before they raise prices.
Gas Prices Continue to Drop
Gasoline is now between $3.60 and 3.70 while diesel is $4.99 in our neck of the woods. When I bought my Chevy truck, I had considered a diesel engine, but there were none available within 250 miles. While there are advantages to a diesel engine, I am happy I have gas. I would really cringe every time I pulled up to the pump.
I know someone who has a pickup with a 34-gallon tank. Sure, you can drive a long way, but filling that up must cost a fortune.
I hear propane prices are not rising as fast as natural gas prices. It is possible heating with propane will be less expensive than heating with natural gas this year. I’m not sure that has ever happened for decades, if ever. Fill your tanks before the winter rush. I doubt prices will stay low for long.
Video of the Day
August 23, 2022, is the 30th anniversary of Ruby Ridge. Full documentary below. Remember, they could becoming after you or me one day.