Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inflation

How do you feel about the effects of inflation in your own life? Are there things you particularly notice? I know for most Americans, the cost of gas is in the forefront. As a New Yorker, that isn't especially noticeable to me, and doesn't directly affect my life on a regular basis, though it may contribute to a rise in other costs. However, here's a couple other things that struck me this past weekend.

  • Bagels: a bagel store I went to had just put up signs about their prices increasing from 80 cents to $1. (also noticed by Hedonic Adjustment)
  • Wine: one of my favorite wines just went up in price, from $12.99 to $15.99, and in general prices seem to be higher on average.
The wine thing was what really hit me. A $12.99 bottle can sort of seem like it's a $12 bottle (you know, if you happen to ignore the last two digits of the price), and that is within the price range I feel okay about these days. I certainly don't spend that much on every bottle I buy, and I used to try never to buy anything over $8 or 9, but I've definitely been drifting upward in that respect, in part due to what I find in the most convenient liquor stores, in part due to an overall increase in prices, and in part due to me just being a lush. But I'm not so much of a lush that I'll spend $15.99 on my everyday plonk! $12.99 was my absolute upper threshold for everyday wine. I'll spend $15 once in a while for some kind of special occasion, or $20 for something that is a gift, but otherwise, I'm a cheap lush.

How about you? Is there anything that is costing you noticeably more lately?

20 comments:

guinness416 said...

X, you might find this really good Macleans article (which also mentioned NY - well Long Island - bagel prices!) interesting; it suggests we could be in for even more increases in food prices in the near future. I feel like a lot of the foods I buy are creeping up recently, and keep meaning to have a chat with the farmers market vendors about it soon.

Bama Babe said...

Is it a European wine? I read an article in the NYT back in December called "Drink and Be Merry: Wine Prices to Rise."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/dining/05pour.html?_r=1&scp=22&sq=wine+%2B+Bordeaux&st=nyt&oref=login

frugal zeitgeist said...

Oh yeah. The cost of fricken' everything is going up except my booze costs - and that's only because some stomach problems a while back made me lose my taste for more than a glass every couple of weeks or so.

Having said that, three buck chuck ain't all that bad for everyday plonk..

TJ said...

Wine's a tough one to call just inflation. Recent research showed that people rated a wine as tasting better if it was more expensive, all else remaining the same. So the price increase could be the winery trying to make their stuff appear more upscale, rather than due to inflation, or components of both.

mOOm said...

Inflation is supposedly a little higher here in Aus than in the US. I try to buy wine for $A5 a bottle +/- There are one or two reasonable wines here for that price (probably like Two or Three Buck Chuck) or in boxes (not seen much in the US). Petrol is around $A1.35 a litre $US4.55 a gallon. It's been anything from $A1.25 to $A1.50 over the last few months. Fresh food prices are extremely variable by week and store, hard to know. So I don't really see any effects of inflation. 4% is hard to notice when you've lived through 100% plus inflation :)

SandyVoice said...

Well, of course, our public transit fares just went up here in New York City, and taxi fares went up last year (?). I now get up at 6:30, about 45 minutes earlier, on weekends, and travel two hours to work via subway and bus, rather than one hour via taxi and LIRR. Pretty much every item in my grocery bag is about 10% more than last year; I've stopped buying fish and frozen dinners. An inexpensive restaurant meal costs about $2 more this year than last; I'm not eating out by myself any more, I only go to restaurants for social reasons.

It's telling that Columbia University just announced that it is going to give out a lot more financial aid. Families with incomes of $50,000 or less used to qualify for "need based financial aid", now they've raised the limit to $60,000, and most of the aid will be grants rather than loans.

It seems to be clear to all that we're in trouble.

Beany said...

I didn't track money very diligently previously so its hard to say whether food cost for me has gone up. This year we've been making every single meal from scratch (as in rolling own torillas, baking bread, etc). So in that regard our food expenses have gone down. I've also been purchasing all food items that are either locally grown or organic and gmo free(if not locally grown). I recently found out that my husband and I were inadvertently living on a food stamp budget - which at $298/month is very generous. As for booze, we began making our own beer, so the price of alcohol has fallen. And I only buy wine that is less than $15 - usually from Chile.

deonne said...

Everything has gone up here in Taos, most notably restaurant meals and gas, natch. I've scaled way back on what I spend since I went full-time writer last year, so dinners out have pretty much been eliminated, and since I don't have the money to go out, I drive less. (Taos is not a walkable town - you have to drive everywhere, unfortunately. I can't wait to be in New York soon and leave my car here.)

I love the idea of making food/meals from scratch, and since I've got more time now I could. Lately, though, I've just been trying to eat what's in my cupboards, supplemented by fresh fruits/veg and chicken/tofu. My grocery bills are a third of what they were because of it. I guess I was overstocking the kitchen before!

Anonymous said...

Let's see . . .

[] Cable TV up $25 per month
[] Electricity up $10 per month
[] Nanny up $175 per month
[] GWB tolls up $65 per month
[] Natural gas up about $25
[] Food up $100 a month
[] Gas up about $30 a month
[] Income taxes, property taxes, insurance, water & sewer charges, memberships, subscriptions, toys, batteries, etc.

I'm lucky that my HH income has gone up by 13% this year.

msfrugal said...

Summer camp, after school care, and daycare/preschool -- all up about 10% this year.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Australia and inflation has caused interest rates to go up. My mortgage has increased by $100 a month since last July.

RacerX said...

I cannot let this line go by..." but otherwise, I'm a cheap lush"

Priceless

:)

On a more serious side fuel raises nearly everything as at some point is needs to be delivered or harvested or just taken home.

Farmwife said...

What hasn't gone up?

A bag of grain that cost me $8 last year is now $12. I go through a bag of grain every 1.5 days when milking.
Chicken feed that was already up to $9 a bag last year is now $15. It's to the point that I'm seriously wondering if it's worth having the hens any more. I am downsizing the dairy herd drastically as well....and so are a lot of other breeders. I've seen more herd dispersals in the last year than ever before.

I've heard that diesel in parts of the country has already topped $4. What do folks think tractors run on? :) That means our costs to have the hay put up is going to rise -- that means the hay costs are going to rise -- that means that meat is going to go sky-high.

A friend of ours drives truck and has been hauling potatoes cross country. Guess what? He's shutting down his business because he can't make enough over costs to stay afloat. Look for all your produce to cost more.

MetaMommy said...

Our local Trader Joe's stock the loveliest wines at the $4-5 price mark. It's one of the reasons we love them so much.

I definitely saw a painful increase in prices at our favorite Italian restaurant last week.

It's hard for me to see inflation in groceries because I shop at the farmers' market where prices fluctuate all the time. Eggs (usually constant) went up 15%, though. And I'm waiting for the bread to catch up. As for gas, I saw a place yesterday at $3.75/gallon for the cheap stuff and 4.10 for the pricey stuff.

skittlbrau said...

I've noticed fruits and vegetables have gone up dramatically. Makes me glad I signed up for a CSA this year and already paid - its like a summer of free (at the time) vegetables!

Anonymous said...

farmwife said:
Chicken feed that was already up to $9 a bag last year is now $15. It's to the point that I'm seriously wondering if it's worth having the hens any more.

Heh, you ain't the only one:
Pilgrim's Pride shuts 7 sites, blames cost of chicken feed
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2008-03-12-pilgrims-pride_N.htm

Farmwife said...

Interesting about Pilgrims. I don't doubt that you'll be seeing more of that. Food costs are going to go sky high.

We'll continue to produce as much of our own food as we can -- but I think the garden is going to get a lot bigger this year, and the animal population a bit smaller.

Anonymous said...

Cable up 10%
Saw a big jump in pet food prices from the week before.

This ouches even more because it is hitting at the same time my rent went up and car insurance (replacement care obtained in Jan.)

And...the sales tax in Maryland went up 1% as well - all at the same time.

Food in general has gone up; I havent been tracking it closely enough to be shocked, other than the pet food.

Anonymous said...

Here is Dallas inflation is a killer. Jobs had pay increases of about 2.9% in pay nationally last year. Inflation went up 4.9%. It seems that inflation has been higher that that. A car I bought 10 years ago is now 50% more. My house is 50% more that it was last year. Gas has increased by 240% in the last 5 years. Electricity has gone up 100% in 5 years. 5 years ago a 20 oz of soda was $0.99 now it is $1.50. Milk has gone from $0.79 per gallon to $3.50. About 25 percent of my food and entertainment has doubled in the last 5 years making for a 25% total inflation. I decided that the outlook for inflation over the next few years is verry bad so last year I took stepps to lock in prices on everything I could. I bought a house for $145,000.00 last april, the house down the street that is the same size sold last month for $170,000.00, money saved. I decided that my recently paid off Mustang would have to stay with me a few more years to cover the cost of gas. I plan on doing the same with my SUV when it pays off. I called my credit cards and asked for lower fixed APRs and they gave them to me. By getting my house and making other sacrafices I have been able to out save what inflation has caused me putting me about $35,000 closed to a zero net worth than if I had keep doing what I have been for the last 5 years. I am concerned that the next 5 years might be so bad that I will have taken stepps to late.

stephanie said...

I decided during my early college years that I will never be so poor that I need to substitute cheap alcohol for things I like. So, 'if I can't afford what I like, I can't afford to drink' has been my policy for a while now. (But I don't mind paying the extra money for something I know I will enjoy. . .) :)