Thursday, August 17, 2017
Prices Keep Climbing and More Cost Cutting Needs to Be Done
My husband was listening to the news on the radio the other night and the radio host said that according to the news sources, prices on gas are going to climb at least through Labor Day. We have noticed a jump in gas prices over the Summer and we are hoping that prices will go down a bit after Labor Day so that our trip to Montana this Fall does not cost so much. Prices on cheese in this area have jumped a whole $2 per 2 pound brick over what they were earlier this Summer. My premium for my health insurance jumped yet again, as did our copay for office visits to our doctor (which now cost us $45 instead of $25). Produce prices are higher in the area than they normally are for this time of year. Our water, sewer, garbage bill is higher as is our internet and phone bill. The price for tickets to see a movie jumped up too so even going to a matinee is now something that we really have to think long and hard about. Sometimes it is cheaper for us to wait for a few months and then we can actually buy the dvd of it (brand new) for cheaper than paying for 2 matinee tickets. Even better is waiting for it to come on Netflix! While looking at the ads for back to school sales and shopping in the stores, I have seen a huge jump in the cost of clothing, especially on underwear and socks which is what Jeff and I were there to purchase while it was on sale. Our property taxes, which we just got paid off today, went up substantially this year and we are being told they will be going up again next year. Meanwhile, my husband's income stays the same, as does the small amount I bring in. Luckily for me, the amount that my health insurance premium went up will be covered by the income that I bring in during the months that I am working, but that leaves no money from that source to put away as planned and leaves us having less money after paying bills in the months that I am not working. Time to find ways to cut costs yet again.
~With dairy prices going up, I am going to stock up on cheese when the price is $5.99 or lower for 2 pound blocks and freeze it. This week one of the grocery stores has it at $5.99 for 2 pounds. I am going to buy 3 packages of it since my hubby goes through cheese like water. He likes to have cheese sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches for his dinner while he is working the overnight shift and takes 2-3 sandwiches per night with him. Cheese can last a long time in your refrigerator and you can also freeze it. If I freeze it, I will shred it first. I know you can buy pre shredded cheese for that price but I don't want to be eating the wood sawdust they put in it to keep the cheese from clumping up.
~I'm going to spend more time looking for sales and combining those sales with coupons if at all possible on things that we need. When I do find a sale that is at rock bottom price, I will stock up on those items as long as they are non perishable. I recently did this with 3 packs of Dial Basic bar soap for .79 a package and Secret antiperspirant for $1 each. I also found the hairspray I like at the Dollar Tree for $1 a bottle so I bought 5 of them since I never know if they will have it or not. I should not have to buy any more of these products now for months!
~Menu planning has become an even bigger priority trying to use what we have in our pantry and freezer and not let things go to waste. This will help clear out the freezer for hunting season and I can use more of the grocery budget to stock up on sale prices items and not as much on our immediate needs.
~We are going to have to limit our eating out even more. This is our guilty pleasure and we do eat out way more often than we should. I am trying hard to recreate some of our favorite dishes that we enjoy in restaurants here at home now and had already started doing that more this Summer before we were hit in the face with the latest round of price hikes,
~I'm going to try and sell a few more items that we have here at home that we are not using and use that money to finance our trip to Montana. Our trip is not something we can cancel because we are meeting our son Josh there, who will be home on leave. We will be staying at my parents' home so there is no cost for lodging. I do plan on bringing food to make a dinner for the whole family since Jaysn, Rachel and Steven are also coming so that is 5 more adults to feed while we are there. I'll most likely do some sort of pasta dish since my brother is a vegetarian. I've done this in the past making 2 or 3 different sauces so people can pick what they want to go over the pasta and it was a huge hit. I can also make the sauces up ahead of time. I'm going to make some blueberry muffins and I have already bought a smaller container of coffee creamer to take with us too.
~Jeff and I have debated about whether to continue with our volunteer work but decided to go ahead and continue to do it. We still feel strongly about helping others in our community and we also get free groceries ourselves. This program may not last much longer so we are going to do it for as long as possible.
~I'm going to buckle down and do more on my points programs that involve surveys. I know they can be a royal pain in the rear to do, but they do pay and every little bit helps.
~I'm planning on putting in a Fall garden. I need to get out there and get some lettuce and spinach planted. I am not putting in broccoli because the aphids are horrible right now.
~Our Summer Apple tree is giving us a bunch of apples right now. I want to make applesauce and freeze it for future meals.
~We will try to hold off as long as we can to use our pellet stove this Fall to heat the house. The stove will also be given a through cleaning before the heating season starts to make it more efficient. Luckily we still have some leftover pellets from last heating season to start us off.
~Chris and Josh have their birthday coming up at the end of this month. Josh will get his gift when he comes home at the end of September since it is breakable and I don't want to ship it through the mail, and I will be giving Chris some money towards a more breathable (and yet provides even better protection) police vest that is not as heavy as the one he is currently wearing. under his uniform each day.
~Jeff already got his big birthday present early so I will just get him something small for him on his actual birthday.
~Since I will start working here again soon, I will try to combine my errands with my work days since I will already be in town. This should save on gas costs.
~With Fall coming soon, I will once again be making more soups which is also a huge money saver for us. We usually have some for a few days and I also freeze some for future meals.
Those are the plans for now and I am sure I will find even more ways to save. :) Having a positive and can do attitude will help me win this budget battle I'm sure.
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I thought it was just here in Canada that food prices have gone through the roof. My apartment rent goes up each August - just under 5% every year that I've been here. That's crazy that your property taxes are rising so much year over year.ReplyDelete
I haven't been to the movie theater in at least 3 years. I, too, just wait. Our local cinema had a senior's matinee rate one day a week --and you only had to be 55. But even that was an area I've cut out.
I do tend to go to fast food more then I should - both for the money and health. I do make use of Wendy's free senior drinks (soda, coffee or tea) when I go there. McDonald's has free coffee but I hardly ever go there.
Truth - on my to do list for this Fall is to look into the food bank. Ours lets those over 60 in early so I wouldn't have to stand in too long a line. I'm at the point where every little bit saved would be a help.
I'm looking forward to soup weather as well.
Does your vegetarian brother like lentils? When I had to cook for vegetarian houseguests, I'd make spaghetti sauce with lentils (cooked) rather then hamburger. My meat-eaters never noticed. Might save you some cooking and some $$$.
Great post, can't wait to read the comments.
I'm getting ready to plant a Fall garden as well. First time trying one but also need to save money. I'm going to plant pac choi, beets, a winter lettuce blend and cilantro.
Take care, SJ
Hi my friend. :)Delete
That is interesting that your Wendy's offer free senior drinks. I don't think they do that here or at least I have never heard of it if they do. I hear you about having to stand in line (and know that can take it out of you) and how every little bit helps. I'm not sure if my brother likes lentils other than lentil soup. I really should ask because I have tons of lentils in my food storage and I am the only one that likes them here. I would be more than happy to take a bunch over to him and my mom who also loves lentil soup. :)
I had planned on getting out and planting the Fall garden today but overdid it earlier and am resting now. Maybe tomorrow.
it is crazy isn't it? gas prices are going up here - we lucked out all summer, but now they are on the rise.ReplyDelete
I haven't been to a movie theater but once in 32 years! It's either watch on TV or Netflix.
Cheese and milk are still very cheap here. I buy cheese and keep it in a crisper for months and months. hard cheese keeps so well. I agree on not buying the shredded.
I love growing as much as possible and putting back all we can.
Insurance prices for me have sky rocketed in the past 3-4 years. I still have 2 years before Medicare. Not only is the policy high - the benefits suck! Huge deductible, only in network pay, and only one hospital that is accepted. It is crazy - just betting against myself.
All we can do is just grow what we can, check and double check clearance and mark-downs, and consider what you can actually live without.
Good Morning Cheryl :)Delete
It is crazy! I would love to be able to grow and process more here at home. Unfortunately my health is not allowing me to do that. I mean, I might be able to grow it, but processing it all just takes energy that I unfortunately do not have. I finally realized a pattern over the years that the heat takes a huge toll on me. Now that we have cooler mornings, I am able to do a bit more though so that is making me happier. ;)
I hear you on the health insurance. Our last policy was not that great to be perfectly honest and although this new one costs more, at least I can see doctors in other states and towns as long as they are Kaiser approved and since we spend time in Montana with my parents and brother, I was glad to know I could see a doctor there or go to the hospital if needed and still pay the in network prices.
Our area added a 10 cent tax to gas recently. Ugh. Milk is reasonable as one store has been offering it for 99 cent a gallon. I'm trying to squeeze more out of the budget. It's getting harder and harder. I just do the best I can.ReplyDelete
Wow Wendi, 99 a gallon for milk? That is an incredible price. Do you freeze any of it? Have you ever tried to make homemade cheese with it? I used to do that. Nothing like freshly made ricotta cheese. :)Delete
It's much the same here in the UK - prices go up, but wages don't and I an always looking for new ways to trim costs. I have a couple of neighbours who give me spare garden produce or baked goods and I give them magazines that I have read or chutney and jam that I have made. We also swap books bought from thrift stores. Everyone gains and it brings us closer as neighbours. Tracy XReplyDelete
HI Tracy, it sounds like you have some very nice neighbors. That is a huge blessing. :)Delete
Yes,I have noticed the prices are going up too. I'll check out the cheese prices this week. I didn't know about the sawdust thing in the cheese. yuk What kind of work do you do? I'm a retired nurse but think I would like to find something 'non nursing' to do, just to get out a couple days a week.ReplyDelete
I have an on-call position with the local schools as a crossing guard. In our district, the work comes as one hour shifts. I can take as many or as few shifts as I want. I didn't work much last year due to health issues but am looking forward to working this fall. SJDelete
Hi Penny, I work with the local Mothers of Preschoolers program. I'm going to be the lead teacher for the 3-5 year olds this year. Since I used to be a public school teacher, this is perfect for me because I can use my skills, get to be with some wonderful kiddos and I only work a few hours at a time 2-3 times a month.Delete
SJ, I hope you are able to work more this year.
I'm having a rest day as well. Seems I may have done too much this week.ReplyDelete
About the lentils - I used to sneak in lentils to cooked hamburger for things like a meat sauce. I couldn't quite do half and half but came close. It stretched the meat. No one liked them in meatloaf unfortunately.
Our grocery ads come out on Thursdays and I was thinking of this post while reading the ads. I read them very very closely and then figure out what I'm going to buy in the store, if anything. The ads were more proof of increased prices here - in the past I could get pickling vinegar on sale for $2.99. The sale price this year is $3.99 so I'm buying some this week. Normal price has skyrocketed to 5.99/gallon. Crazy increases on such a basic product.
You also gave me a chuckle about buying undies/socks. I do the same in the fall. Probably left over from being a kid and back to school shopping. Got a great price at WalMart last week on a pair of cuffed jammy pants - $9 for Plus, $7 for regular. I was skeptical but they washed really well. I've also been collecting sewing patterns at the thrift and need to haul out my very ancient sewing machine. I can't find a simple button down cotton short sleeve blouse in my price range. Finally found a pattern at the thrift. Will see how that turns out..hahaha. It's been since hs that I've tried to sew anything but have hauled around the sewing machine..
Have a good day and take care. Praying for you and yours!! SJ
Hi again my friend. :)Delete
Prices really have risen haven't they? I'm glad you were able to find a pair of jammy pants. I have been lucky to find soft jammy pants at the thrift stores that fit me. I need the extra large sizes too. Yesterday found me in the softest jammy pants and a really soft shirt for Eddie Bauer. One days when I am having a flare I can only handle really soft things against my body and it can't be tight at all. As for you sewing machine, I will bet that it holds up way better than the newer ones on the market today. I used to have an old Singer sewing machine that I bought used while I was in college. It was made of really heavy metal and I loved it. I eventually sold it when I was not using it anymore to a mother and her young daughter who was just learning to sew. I do have a newer sewing machine that my mother bought for me which is much lighter weight. So far a friend has borrowed and used it but I have not yet. ;)
I want the to apologize for not responding to your nice welcome and the suggestions about raspberry sauce. Unfortunately, my pathetic immune system has received a blow, the dreaded virus that we old timers get. That seems to be clearing and I pray that some energy comes with it! Yes, I have been aware of the increasing prices. This is really felt by we pensioners. I have begun as many measures as possible to stay on an even keel, but it is very difficult when something like a powerful virus hits. Stockpiling and careful planning are a neccessity these days. You seem to be a genius at it! Keep up your blogging as the younger generation need the example. God Bless!
(((((HUGS)))) Bonnie and I am so sorry that you have not been feeling well. Praying for total healing from it for you. There is a nasty stomach virus going around here now, but from what I am hearing, it is short lived. We now have all the college students returning to the towns near us that I shop in and every year they seem to bring back all kinds of crud. Bracing myself for that too.Delete
I'm a huge advocate for my friends that are on pensions here in our community and have worked with our former mayor to find a compromise when they tried to raise all the costs of our sewer, water and garbage rates to levels that were higher than needed to meet the town's financial needs. Thankfully there were other people who also felt as strongly as I did and we were able to get them to agree to a smaller increase than they originally wanted to push through. I was still able to work more at that time and was the town's branch manager for our library and did that along with homeschooling my then teenaged boys. I was doing volunteer work (which we still do) with our Council on Ageing for food commodities distribution so I knew the struggles that my friends and neighbors were having and still do. You are right about how one illness can really take a toll on your right budget. We are still paying off medical bills for me and will be for years to come.
Me again. Just in from the grocery store. $48 for **one**bag of groceries and a 1/2 gallon of milk. Yikes - although I did buy 5 pkg of canning lids. But still, cheese, lunch meat, cottage cheese and a splurge for frozen eggrolls.ReplyDelete
And don't get me started on the thrift store prices! Something is really off when new at WalMart is cheaper then the thrift store..praying your flare ends quickly. SJ
I hear you my friend. Jeff and I did a bit of shopping today and only bought things that were on sale or were on the "it can't wait" list. I did however forget to get more milk. Looks like I will have to pick that up when I am in town next Tuesday for my meeting.Delete
My flare has calmed way down. I am feeling so much better today but took it easy this morning since I knew we had to do the shopping in the afternoon. I even had enough energy after doing the shopping to go for a walk with Caesar and Jeff. That is a good day in my book. ;)
Sorry to hear the prices are going up in your area, Debbie. I haven't noticed much of a price increase here, except on beef. My usual response to that is to not buy any until/unless I really crave it. Love your can do attitude though, and all the ways you have planned to cut down on expenses.ReplyDelete