Economic Peril is Definitely the Elephant in the Room
18 Sure Fire Tips to Help Manage the Rising Costs
You can’t get up in the morning or go to bed at night without having heard about this subject throughout the day. You can’t go anywhere and not feel the pinch in your wallet. From the grocery store to the gas pump the story is the same, and you say “what the heck is going on.”
And the really sad news is there seems to be little in the way of solutions being offered to bring down costs, at least anytime soon.
We drive a lot in California, that is just the bane of living here. Unfortunately, we have the highest gas prices in the nation, so that means filling up your car several times a week spending around $200 to do so, that’s $800 a month.
I’m also hearing it from people in the southern states and the Midwest. The Pacific Northwest is experiencing record prices.
If you’re a parent and/or grandparent you may be helping to secure baby formula for your family and watching prices soar due to a supply chain disruption. Again, how sad.
With all that doom and gloom, there are still some bright spots and I wanted to share several of my NEWLY FOUND tips on how to tame the elephant in the room. Frankly, I don’t care what your economic status is, everyone should be cautious about spending and conserving.
GROCERIES, MEDS AND WEEKLY STAPLES:
- The days of jumping in the car for any little thing are probably over. Bundle your trips and most important, MAKE A LIST of the things you need the most—groceries, meds, clothing and other staples.
- Shopping in bulk. The big box stores like Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club are a great solution because they offer such a wide variety that it’s almost like one-stop-shopping. They offer food, clothing, cosmetics and many now have pharmacies in-store for your convenience. After all, at our age we need our meds.
- Freezer space. Not everyone can manage this, but my BoomerGuy purchased an additional refrigerator/freezer and placed it in the garage. We can stock up on one of our runs to Costco and all of our overflow grocery items go in there for quick and easy access.
- Coupons, coupons, coupons. Whether you obtain them online or through your local newspaper advertising, this is a great way to save. Also, join your grocery’s digital savings program by entering your phone number into the key-pad just before check out for instant savings.
- Buy the store brands vs the name brands. We love to cook and have buying store brand foods for quite some time. Many are actually better in quality and quantity than the name brands and at a much lower cost.
- Your local market is a great place to buy your produce. They stock fresh all the time and their prices are quite a bit lower than your large grocery. We have a Filipino market that is just the ticket. Yes, it’s an extra stop but well worth it for the freshness and cost.
- On the west coast, we have a chain called Grocery Outlet Bargain Market that had its founding in San Francisco. It started as a military surplus store back in 1956, but now is a full-fledged shopping allure for foodies with low prices and hidden gems. I suggest you look in your neighborhood for similar outlets.
- Trader Joe’s is one of our favorites. They seem to have maintained their low prices while still offering the same high-quality products and services. It is a wonderfully quirky place selling everything from cookie butter to cooked lobster. They still sell greeting cards for 99 cents and their flower and orchid arrangements are the best prices around. Since 1976, they have played a scavenger hunt by hiding a plastic lobster somewhere in the store, designed to keep your grandchildren occupied while you finish your shopping. WHAT A KICK!
- TOTAL WINE AND BEV MO are two great places to buy your alcohol and trimmings. We just started shopping at TOTAL WINE and buy in bulk to reduce our per unit cost and maximize our savings.
- If you wish to conserve on fuel, don’t bother with the shopping cart and order online. InstaCart is one of the most notable sources for ordering your groceries from your favorite store. You may incur a slightly higher price due to the delivery, but you’re not burning expensive fossil fuels. This is a sure fire solution for those of you who may have physical disabilities that prevent you from venturing out.
- Again, if you decide not to pull out of the garage, there’s always Amazon and eBay for just about whatever you desire, saving the frustration for not finding what you’re looking for on the store shelves.
- Leftovers are a staple in our household. As mentioned, we do cook quite a bit and there is always a leftover lunch or dinner just waiting to be placed into our sealed plastic containers, refrigerated or frozen, only to be eaten in the next day or two with the same delight as when we prepared it. Plus they’re easy and fast. Nothing goes to waste. A truly great way to save.
- We always take a small ice chest on our outings. It not only provides us with cold drinks especially now that the summer months are here, but we will take crackers, cheese and the occasional sandwich to tide us over. It’s never a good idea to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
As mentioned, the big box stores are designed for one stop shopping. Places like Costco offer gasoline at prices normally lower than the brand-named stations. Get there early as the lines can start spilling into long wait times.
- Locate an Indian Reservation or Indian Casino where they likely will have a full-service gasoline station either on their property or close by. As a sovereign nation, they don’t have the added cost of taxes so often, as in our case here in southern California, we pay around $0.80/gallon less than the big guys are charging.
- Gasbuddy.com is a great app for finding the lowest gas prices in your neighborhood, usually within a radius of 1-15 miles.
- And you can always ride your motorcycle, bicycle or drive your drive your golf cart if you’re really brave for those short hop stores that are close to where you live. If you drive your golf cart on city streets, make certain you license it according to your local vehicle use laws.
- Of course, there’s always the option of going with an electric vehicle. I’m neither pro nor against. However, many of us simply cannot afford the high entry cost of a new EV, and you have to be very careful about purchasing a used one because at some point you may be responsible for replacing one or more of their batteries, which are quite expensive. Overall, I believe the true operating cost of an EV is less than a gasoline powered vehicle, so the decision you have to make is weighing the upfront purchase cost against the purported savings and determining what your break even might look like several years “down the road.” As for us, we have a love affair with our automobiles so we will most likely stay the course and simply limit our driving.
I sincerely hope these few suggestions help here and there. If we were time travelers, I would wave my magic wand and take us back to the days when gas was 25 cents a gallon and food was affordable. All of us Boomers remember those times.
In the meantime, stay healthy and watch your pennies.
Your BoomerGal, Connie.