Inflation on the Rise Across Multiple Segments

As costs rise at the cash register, your money becomes worth less and less. Inflation is rising for multiple reasons and you need to act quickly to beat it.

My wife came home from grocery shopping last week and informed me that prices are rising. I agreed and told her that food inflation was hitting 10 percent in some categories.

For the past few months, I’ve been warning you about inflation: Food inflation, fuel inflation, ammo inflation, and inflation because of shortages caused by supply chain problems. An article in the Wall Street Journal adds yet another cause of inflation: Chinese companies are raising their prices in part because of higher commodity and shipping costs.

If you are not seeing inflation in your grocery shopping, you will see in in goods made from China. Chances are, you will see it in both, and in many other goods and services as well.

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All About Inflation and How to Protect Yourself

The main stream media doesn’t cover it outside the financial pages, but inflation is coming. Here’s what it means to you and how preppers have a leg up when it comes to surviving inflation.

Inflation is closing in on us slowly but surely. Here are some examples from recent media coverage:

Inflation Math

Let’s look at a fictional blue-collar worker we’ll call Mark. Mark worked all sorts of overtime in 2020, who paid a bonus at year-end, combined it with his family’s Stimulus checks, and by the time he got his tax refund, he was thrilled to see that he had $20,000 in the bank. He and his wife talk about investing it, but they know little about investing, and neither of them trust the ups and downs of the stock market. They decide to put their $20,000 in a money market account and hold on to it for a rainy day.

They are lucky to be in a credit union and can earn 0.5 percent interest. That means at the end of 2021, their savings have grown to $20,100. They just made an extra $100. Mark feels pretty good about that until early in 2022 he goes to Bass Pro Shops to pick up a box of 9mm shells and notices that the boat his buddy bought last year for $19,999 now costs $20,989. A year ago, he could have taken the money from his bank account and bought a new boat. Now he can’t afford to buy the boat. To make matters worse, the ammo he bought a couple years ago for $15 a box now costs $79 and they limit him to buying two boxes.

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The Check is in the Mail: More COVID-19 Stimulus and Mask in the Great Outdoors

The house passed yet another COVID-19 Stimulus bill which President Biden says he will sign on Friday. Think about how you will use your cash.

The new stimulus bill that passed Congress today puts a good bit of money in my pocket from actual cash to tax benefits. That’s money I can use to continue to improve our new home, build out our garden, and buy supplies, but that doesn’t mean I think the stimulus was a good idea. 

Simply put, the government needs to stop spending money it doesn’t have. We’ve been spending trillions of dollars that have to be borrowed, or created electronically by the Federal Reserve. With the national debt expected to reach $33 Trillion by the end of this year, that house of cards is going to come crashing down at some point. In the meantime, our fiat money will buy less and less. That kind of inflation is an insidious, invisible tax that nibbles away at the money in our wallets and accounts.

I’ve talked about inflation before, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but follow my advice and stock up on anything you might need or want before prices go higher. I also expect some desirable items to be in short supply as people use their stimulus checks and their tax returns to go on a spending spree. 

Don’t be like the government. Get as debt free as possible.

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Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report Shows Surprising Results

It’s been five weeks since we first noted the average online cost for key prepping items, so we check back in to see the results. They may surprise you.

We decided it was time to check in with our Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report to see if the prices of the 29 items, mostly food, that preppers would be likely to buy for their prepper pantry.  For specifics on our methodology, see the methodology subhead, below.

All prices were checked online on the morning of Sunday, February 28, and compared to prices checked five weeks ago on Sunday, January 24.

Overall, the cost of our basket of goods (not counting fuel) was up from $74.49 to $74.94, or 45 cents, a net increase of 0.6 percent.  While this does not sound like much, if we project the five-week increase over a 12 month period, we’d expects cost for our basket of goods to be up close to $80.  Time will tell if this first period is representative of what the rest of the year holds.

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Inflation Strikes Again and Energy Prices Spike due to Polar Vortex

Our market disruptions continue, resulting in more supply-and demand imbalances and rising inflation. Cold temps exacerbate the problem and send natural gas prices soaring

We wrote recently about COVID-19 causing shortages, which in turn cause prices to rise, giving us inflation.  About a year after COVID-19 hit these shores, it is still interfering with the supply side of the supply-and-demand equation.

As this story reports, container ships are piling up at sea off Los Angeles and Long beach due to logistics issues on shore, many of which are caused by the coronavirus, including more than 800 members of the Longshore and Warehouse Union who have tested positive.  The slow unloading has repercussions down the line because it ties up ships. Ships at anchor waiting to unload are not delivering goods to the next port or available for another sailing.  As a result, imports slow and store shelves don’t get replenished. 

To put this in perspective, if all the boats could be unloaded, it would represent 190,000 truckloads of goods. 

In addition to finished goods, many of the containers have parts destined for U.S. manufacturers.  The global connectivity of means U.S. manufacturing is slowing down thanks to things happening off our shores.

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Shortages and Inflation Grow; New Policies not Helping

First it was guns and ammo in short supply. Now its computer chips. This is causing inflation and Biden’s policies are making it worse.

We’ve talked about shortages before. We’ve talked about inflation before.  And we’ve talked about how the ammunition shortage is driving up prices.  Now we learn that computer ship shortages are causing prices to increase.  For example, components from smartphones, for example, are up 15 percent in the past six months.

The chip shortage is causing repercussions in the automotive industry where ship shortages shutting down automotive production for companies liek GM, Ford and Nissan.  When production shuts down, the economy takes a hit, both on a national level and on a local leave as people get paid for fewer hours worked.

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Ammo Price Inflation and Revisiting How Many Rounds You Should Store

Ammunition prices have jumped 300 to 500 percent in the past 18 or 24 months, making it harder to stock up. Here’s the best way for new preppers to proceed.

Basic 9mm ball ammo is currently selling for roughly $1 per round, or $45 to $50 a box on places like ammoman.com.  But at least it’s available (or was at the time of this writing).  What hurts is that I used to buy bulk ammo for about a fourth of that, 28 cents per round, less when it was on sale.

Similarly, basic Winchester white box 5.56 is going for $1.20 a round, up fourfold from what I used to pay.  A couple years ago, it was easy to find a case of 1,000 rounds for about $300, or 30 cents per round.

Today, the tiny .22LR is selling more than that, about 36 cents per round.  I have receipts showing that I purchased the same ammo on sale for 6 cents a round.  In other words, a box of 325 rounds I bought in 2017 on sale for $19.95 is now $120.  That’s a six-fold increase.  And many of us remember when a brick of 500 rounds was $10 or $12, although that was around the turn of the century.

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Prepper Diary January 27: All Roads Lead to Inflation

We hit the road for a brief journey and found gas has risen 36 cents a gallon in the past 4 weeks. That’s about 20 percent.

We took a few days to travel down to the northern portion of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and crossed back and forth from North Carolina into Tennessee a few times.  Wow, what beautiful country.  We got lucky with a burst of unseasonably warm weather and decent sunshine.

There is a road in N.C. called 25 that goes through the Bald Mountains, past Hot Springs, following along the French Broad River and into Tennessee.  Driving along it reminded me of driving in parts of Montana, following broad rivers at the feet of mountains.  OK, so maybe these mountains are not quite as tall and they don’t have glaciers, but it was still beautiful and largely unspoiled.  Tennessee even had lots of signs for “river access,” something we also saw often in Montana.  We may have to go back when it is warmer and we can take advantage of some of the recreational activities the river offers.

Since we were not too far away, we made a side trip and visited Carolina Readiness Supply in Waynesville, N.C., which is worth visiting if you are in the general area.  There are not too many places in the East Coast where you can find a well-rounded prepper store like that.

The purpose of our trip was to visit a dog breeder in our search for a puppy.  On the way home, we stopped in did some shopping.  My wife was pleased to go to a Target.  (Apparently I am a Walmart guy and she is a Target gal.)  We also stopped by Lowes to get some lumber and Tractor supply for some tarps and other supplies.

No Ammo

We did not make as many stops at gun stores as I would have liked, but we saw little or no ammo for sale.  In some places, you need to buy a gun to get ammo.  I was surprised to see a decent amount of long guns on sale.  It seems that pistol are selling more.  Apparently, people are looking for self-defense when they are out and about rather than self-defense at their house.  I would also guess that many people in that area already have at least a deer rifle and a 12 gauge, and probably a .22 as well.

I have been reviewing the reloading powders and other components I have on hand and visiting the manufacture’s web sites to download the latest reloading data.  I’m even downloading data for calibers I don’t have, like the 6x57mm Mauser, just in case.

Growing Concerned

I have to admit that I am growing increasingly concerned about what the future holds in 2021 – just a general unsettled feeling seeing what is going on in Washington and the attempt to make anyone who is not a liberal into a “domestic terrorist.”  The net result is making me want to prep, even though I am pretty well prepared. 

In the past week, I have ordered heirloom vegetable seeds and suggested to my wife that we stock up on top soil and any other bagged soil, soil amendments, or agricultural products we might need. 

I have been doing research and apparently the only way to keep bears out of your apiary (bee hives) is to get a fairly powerful electric fence.  I am drawing up plans for fencing in a portion of our property that will include a chicken coop, a chicken run, and a garden which will have the bee hives in the center.  The interior will be securely fenced to keep out small varmints and an interior fence will keep the chickens out of the garden when we don’t want them in there.  The exterior will be protected by a heavy-duty solar powered electric fence. 

The great thing about an electric fence is that once you have the hardware, it is easy to expand, even if you have to cut new poles yourself.  That will be useful if we have to expand our garden at some future point.

Inflation

As I have written about previously, I think we’ll see inflation raise its ugly head this year.  I may be wrong, but I’m going to prepare for it in any case, and I cannot see a better way to do so than to become more food independent. 

In the past four weeks, I’ve seen gasoline prices jump 36 cents.  It was 10 cents a week for three weeks and then “just” six cents this past week.  Two weeks ago I filled some gas cans we had emptied for our move, using “fuel points” from my wife’s grocery shopping to get the biggest discount possible.  Despite the recent road trip, we definitely aren’t driving much these days.

I am going to be looking into making some more home improvements this spring, before prices for lumber and other building supplies rise even further.  I want to get all the maintenance caught up and I’d rather spend funds now than later when they are worth even less.

The Calm Before the Storm

We may well be in a calm before the storm.  The liberals and socialists are happy because they won the election.  Conservatives are holding their breath to see what happens. The real political battles have yet to start. But when they do, expect it to get ugly.

The COVID-19 cases are dropping and the vaccine seems to be working.  They can’t get them into people’s arms fast enough. Hopefully, things will re-open and the economy will get back on its feet. But what happens if the immunity granted by the vaccine doesn’t last or if new mutations render the vaccine less effective? Right now, everyone is holding their breath that things will improve the the summer, but what if they get worse in the fall?

We are using this period of calm to make sure we are prepped up.  I recommend you do the same.

Introducing the Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report

We can all feel the pinch of inflation in our pocketbooks, but how can we measure it? The Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report will track inflation for goods preppers buy.

To track inflation and its impact on preppers, we have developed a price-tracking spreadsheet that we will use to track the cost of a basic shopping cart of goods a prepper might buy to prepare their prepper pantry.  Based on this data, we will produce a report that reflects the changes in item cost and total shopping cart cost over time.  The time period will vary based on the velocity of change.  For example, if prices remain steady, we won’t need to update the report very often.  If prices change frequently, we will produce the report more often.

The products chosen for the basket include traditional grocery items.  These are consumables an include canned goods, dry goods, baking goods, and paper products.  The list is based in part on the Pickled Prepper’s 30-Day Shopping List which is designed to help you buy a 30-day supply of foods with a shelf life of at least 18 months.  Separately, we will be reporting on the average cost of a gallon of gasoline, diesel, propane and heating oil as reported by the EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Rising Prices Show Inflation is Already Here and How to Protect Yourself

Meat prices were up significantly in 2020, possibly an early indicator that inflation lies ahead. Take steps now to prepare yourself and your wallet.

This article on why seniors need a bigger Social Security cost of living increase points out some very real price increase from 202 that affect everyone, not just seniors.  While these rising prices no doubt make it difficult for senior citizens who rely on Social Security for their retirement income to continue to put food on their tables and keep their standard of living, the rising costs affect everyone.

For those who cannot read the tiny chart in the linked article, let me reproduce some of the data.  This is how much these items rose in cost for the first 11 months of 2020:

  • Beef Roasts: 11.3%
  • Pork Chops: 9.9%
  • Poultry: 7%
  • Tomatoes: 6.5%
  • Canned Tuna: 6%
  • Household Paper Products: 7.3%
  • Used Cars & Trucks: 10.9%

In other words, if you felt that food prices were rising, you were right.  And clearly, this is a side effect of the government’s response to Coronavirus.

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