How To Beat The High Cost of Living...

 ...the answer is you don't!  (Although I really did like the 1980 movie.  Rewatched it recently; late 1970s comedy speaks to me.)

I know that the cost of just about everything has been going up since the beginning of the pandemic.  It's not that I wasn't aware, but yesterday it really seemed to hit me.  I was doing some mid-week grocery shopping at The Fresh Grocer.  It's closer to my house than ShopRite (which is where my husband and I have our weekly Friday morning "date" at 6 a.m.) and it is generally less crowded although the prices are slightly higher (not incredibly higher like the very local Kings).  When my husband I do our weekly shopping, I have noticed that our overall total has gone up.  In days of yore, I could do a weekly shopping trip for under $100.  That's not happening any more.  However, when we do our weekly shopping I am more focused on getting what we need and getting home (so that I can get our son to school).  I don't pay that much attention to the cost of individual items.

When I went to The Fresh Grocer yesterday I had already dropped my son off and although I had to get to work, I had plenty of time to pick up the items I needed.  Because I had time and was looking for only a few specific items, I had time to check out (and be a little shocked) by prices.  To be clear, The Fresh Grocer generally has pretty good prices; they are on par with ShopRite.  They may be a few cents higher on some products and they have less inventory (because they are physically a smaller store), but they are closer to my home and it was easy to swing by after dropping off my son.  

Again, I am aware that prices have been increasing and not just grocery prices.  The gas station across the street had increased their price per gallon by 4 cents from the week before and 12 cents (total) from the week before that.  (And this is one the "cheaper" gas stations.)  

I was looking for a loaf of bread and the brand that I usually by wasn't on sale so I got sticker shock when I realized how much a loaf of bread really was.  Needless to say, I didn't pick up our usual (not on sale) brand, but went for another brand that WAS on sale and was more in line of what I THOUGHT the price of a loaf of bread was.  

I looked around for some other items that have been on my shopping list for a while, but I haven't purchased because of their price and I am waiting for a sale.  One particular convenience food item I used to be to purchase for around $5 when it was not on sale.  I used to purchase it when it went on sale for $3 or $4.  For a while this item was not available at my ShopRite.  When it returned it was $7.  So I haven't bought it.  I checked in The Fresh Grocer.  They had it...for over $8!  Yikes!  Guess I won't be buying that item or brand for a while.

To be clear, I KNOW I am very fortunate.  IF I wanted to I could purchase that item for $8 without a second thought.  While the cost of my groceries, and indeed just about everything I buy, has gone up I still am able to buy not only what I need, but items that I want.  (Although I try to be wise about that...sometimes I am, sometimes not so much.)  This visit reinforced how lucky I am to be able to do that.  And it was a stark reminder that there are many people who don't have that luxury.

I can't beat the high cost of living; prices are going up and I currently have the ability to work with that, even though I'm not happy about it.  (Who is?)  While I can't bring down the cost of a loaf of bread, I CAN buy and extra loaf and give it to my local food pantry.  (I'm using bread as an example; I know most food pantries are looking for items that generally have a longer shelf life.)  When we make our weekly trek to ShopRite, I try to pick up an item or two that I don't need to donate.  Maybe its a dozen cans of vegetables (when ShopRite is having their can-can sale) or maybe it's just a bottle of shampoo. I'm not trying to save the world, I'm just trying to make someone else's world a little easier.

Is that enough?  I don't know, but it IS something.  Something that I will continue to do and maybe you will too?


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