Friday, May 06, 2011

The Beginnings of Austerity?


I live alone. I am fortunate in that I no longer feed a family. I am watching the economy carefully as the prices on the grocery shelves continue to climb and wonder, albeit fleetingly, what accommodations I will have to make to my food budget in the coming years vs the ones I have started to make now.

My daughter finds it shameful I have to continue to work to maintain what we won't call a lifestyle but living. She knows I would prefer to be writing fulltime but I can't afford to do so. I do apply for grants (none achieved to date) and I am paid a little for the writing commissions I am getting. But this does not sustain me. I track all my expenses meticulously so that in any given year I can tell what I have spent on haircuts, or shoes, or lipstick (very, very little)and groceries. My savings erode a little every month in spite of all the efforts I make to supplement my government pension and earnings. Many in my age group here do not have savings. Of any kind. I wonder how they feel when they face the grocery shelves.

I made my first shopping accommodation this week as I looked at the price of my favourite coffee. It had gone from $9.99 a lb to $10.99 in a month. A 10% increase. My intention was to stock up about a 3 month supply (I freeze whole beans) due to commodity price escalation forecasts. My eye dropped to the shelf below, to Melitta Dark Roast which was retailing for $16.99 for a 2/lb bag of beans.

Regretfully, I chose the cheaper. I saved $10.00.

13 comments:

  1. That's the way I'm living too, WWW, as cheaply as I can. Every penny gets turned over and over. Nothing gets wasted. There's nothing much left for fun and games.

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  2. Nora:
    I wonder if the males of our species take the same penny rolling actions? None of the men in my immediate circle do.
    All research/statistics show that it is single women who suffer the most in the economic downslide.
    XO
    WWW

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  3. I am glad I am not the only one to notice how prices are soaring. Cooking for one needs to be inventive these days.

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  4. GM:
    Yes I always make several meals and freeze the extras.
    Creative and inventive.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Himself is much more of a price-watcher than I am - he must be the exception to prove the rule, WWW!

    I've never been particularly "flush" financially at any time in my life, always had "just enough" and a bit left "to by a hyacinth" as some Chinese philosopher once said.
    It'll be hard to have to give up the hyacinth - but ya can't eat 'em so.....

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  6. I meant to type "to BUY a hyacinth"

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  7. I knew what you meant, T! I will be buying outside flowers for the garden and growing some more of my own veggies - and this for a combination of pleasure and sustainability though economics will surely come into play as well!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. I will not be able to manage on my pension which was fixed in 1999. I have to supplement it with other income and I have a small agency that just about helps me to keep my head above water. My assets are my retirement plan but I am unable to encash them for reasons that you know well. So, I plod along and like you settle for the second best in most cases. For you it was coffee, for me, this season, it was mangoes!

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  9. Thank goodness I'm not a coffee drinker. However, I refuse to think about what my Diet Cokes cost me per month.

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  10. Ramana:
    Yes the 'cushy old age' number envisioned by our youth seems to be merely an ephemera at this stage.
    Frugality. Who'd have thunk it?
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Marcia:
    "Sugar water" though I have a leaning towards Fresca, another form of poison, myself. I have resisted this month so far.
    I never ever look at the ingredients, thus remaining in a firm state of denial!
    XO
    WWW

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  12. I doubt if the wealthier classes ever realise how privileged they are that they can buy virtually anything without considering the cost. They'll snap up some rare delicacy like Tuscan truffles without a thought for those who're buying the cheapest white loaf they can find.

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  13. Frugal has become my first name. I'm always on the look out for ways to reduce my expenses. A garden, a few hens, and family meat keeps me in good basic food.
    No one every said it would be easy, and some times it isn't. Still, I have much to be thankful for.

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