Wednesday, May 07, 2008

the cost of ....everything

There was talk on the radio news of gas prices at 122 a barrel, headed to maybe 200 bucks a barrel by next year. I wonder how people, myself included, are gonna afford THAT. Gas at 5 bucks a gallon (I know, Europe and Canada already pays a fortune fo gas)? Bread at 5 bucks a loaf?
So, because my SSN is a certain number, I rec'd the first of W's bonus economic stimulus checks last week. You could say 'yippee!' and of couse I did. BUT, my wife and I are the bottom of the 'working families' payscale, basically we make doodley squat together, so we sure as heck didn't get 1200. We got the minimum, but, hey, happy to have it. As for splurging, what could I splurge on? I spent 170 at the grocery store yesterday. I have never spent anywhere close to that before. (no, that does NOT include beers) And because gas is at 3.77 a gallon, I prudently do ALL my errands together. Yesterday that was county dump, hardware store, UPS store to ship 4 boxes and the grocery. (my wife gets a free bus pass from work--worth a LOT of money all of a sudden, and I don't commute past the back end of the house)
But, OK, my gas and grocery prices are up, fair enough, we have it good as Americans. But postage goes up next week, like it did a year ago, and will probably do again next year. I shipped for Kate and Jim yesterday 2 boxes and 6 items, going only 100 miles. It was 24 bucks. I will ship one item to Texas this week, and if it is ten bucks I'll be surprised and call it a bargain. So, God forbid, what will happen to my income if people don't want to pay the same price to ship an item as the item's cost itself?
Frankly, the world needs to adjust to some realities, I understand, but it is easy to see that for people who are less than rich, there is gonna be a squeeze.


Lis Garrett said...

With my husband's job and our three children, we'll be getting back a bigger stimulus than you, I imagine. However, (and that's a BIG however) it's a drop-in-the-bucket compared to what we really need just to pay the bills these days. Suddenly all my kids are outgrowing their shoes and clothes, we have dental appts (my daughter is looking at necessary orthodontic work to expand her tiny mouth), and don't even get me started about the cost of groceries to feed my kids. It's gotten to the point where I am starting to deny us the little luxuries (like a bag of Oreo's). And I have stopped my grazing habits and eat ONLY when my tummy growls.

I suppose I shouldn't complain. After all, we have a house and two nice vehicles. My husband has a steady job. We are blessed with out health. We don't have to choose between food and shoes (at least not yet). There are still ways that we, as a family, could reduce our spending if absolutely necessary.

But we certainly aren't feeling as cushy these days . . .

And that's a big bummer.

I suppose one could question our decision to take a vacation this summer, but it has literally been in the works for over a year. We've put money aside just for that. The last time I saw my little sister was when she was 13 years old. She is now 23 and has a four-year-old daughter. I miss my extended family and don't want another 10 years to go by before I see them . . .

(sorry for the novel)

Greg said...

It's an eye opener all over the place and just as scarey. 3 weeks ago gas here did its spring time jump. It was one of those slap in the face ones and I think it scared a lot of people and the gas companies here as since then the gas has not gone any higher (but it WILL after people "get used to it" sadly enough). $2 a loaf for bread???

There was a news item about a week ago comparing earnings from 80's to now and comparable spending power. The richer segment has gotten like 16% richer. The low income sector has DROPPED in their spending power by about the same percentage! And the middle class is at zero.

I am glad Ontario has "repealed" the clothesline aesthetics silliness here. I think they should be mandating community gardens too!

hmmm an important and invigorating topic here gary; I don't think anyone's post will be short on this one! LOL

gr said...

talk on, folks, talk on.....

I am reminded, of course of the anarcho-punk bumper sticker I see around town
'Buck Fush!'
which although funny, doesn't help fill the tank either

Anonymous said...

I, too, stay home instead of running least until I absolutely HAVE to go shopping for food or something. My dh is glad he only drives 30 minutes to the train station for his commute; that is saving us gas money AND wear and tear on the car. He believes that until gas hits $5 per gallon, Americans won't really wake up to issues like conservation and alternate forms of energy.
Between now and then, I think harder about those "luxury" items in the grocery store (like Lis' Oreos). Our grocery bill is up this year. I've already committed to vacations this year and next. Nothing fancy--we're traveling to see family--but the kids see friends go other places and wonder why we don't take those trips. (I remind them how expensive it is to FEED the 4 of them!) And this time next year, we'll probably have to pick up a 3rd vehicle (2 teen drivers). Yikes!!

That all said, I can't blame the administration (past, present, or future).

gr said...

Oh, I can place some blame here and there....

Farmer*swife said...

So agree. And so play the "make it all in one trip or don't go at all" game with the fuel tank.

My SUV is a guzzler but it's paid for.

Every since you posted that you received your "Economic Bonus?" I've been excitedly checking our mail box (I always check the mail excitedly)...but, am a little let down when there is no goodie from the I.R.S.

Luckily for me? The kids pay off this time around ;o)

Susan as herself said...

I am a big errand combiner. I plan for days on what route to take to do everything "on the way" somewhere.

And yeah, the postage thing is out of hand. Send out some packages last week---all three of them were small and very light---but I still spent over $30 for parcel post rates!!! UGH.

Greg said...

On CBC radio this morning they were talking about oil cost projections. I don't remember just WHO the group polled was, but 5% said over $125 by end of '08, 40% said the same 100-125 and 55% predict if will be under $100/barrel.

I think democracy should win in this case! (eyes closed and fingers crossed!)

Apparently bus passes and transit riding has increased significantly here in kingston with it's poorly designed routes/timings and system! So some are making the change/choice.