Inflation, shortages, and coping with economic challenges

VermontCathy
VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2022 in Other News

@LaurieLovesLearning recommends we close the 13-page thread on shortages that we kept running through the previous phase of the COVID-19 emergency. I am starting a new thread that is broader, including price increases as well as shortages, and other ways we are handling our disrupted economy.

We just purchased 2 cords of green firewood, delivered, for next winter at $205 per cord. I don't recall exactly what we paid last year, but I believe this is a significant increase.

Wood is so readily available in Vermont that the purchase cost almost entirely represents labor. (When we had to hire someone to remove a fairly large tree that fell on our garage and punctured the roof, the labor cost was about the same as the cost would have been to purchase amount of wood that resulted.)

The price of fuel oil for heating skyrocketed when we had the tank refilled a few weeks ago. It's well over $4 a gallon.

A 30 oz jar of real mayonnaise is over $5 for a name brand like Hellman's, a little less than $5 for store brand.

Many shelves in our grocery stores continue to have significant empty spots. Pasta is available, but never fully stocked. Availability of bread, burger buns, and hot dog rolls, especially whole grain, continues to be spotty.

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Comments

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    @VermontCathy I am not worried at all about bread stuff but about a month ago realized that the yeast I had was old.

    I am trying to purchase anything that lasts longer like pasta, flour, rice, very few canned goods. There is a good amount of white wheat that is stored.

    I haven't noticed the price increases so much at one store but the other one is really jumping by leaps and bounds. The dairy-milk is getting closer to $5. Cheeses are getting up there but a person can still find some on sale.

    We can make quite a bit from scratch if we have the ingredients. Also living in an apartment with no electricity (if it comes to that) will be a challenge. I do have some ideas for that.

    Our church is having a 40 minute presentation on Emergency Preparedness next Sunday. I hope they can help people understand that they need to do some things on there own.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The best way to keep your yeast working is to store it in the refrigerator and use it regularly.

    Bake your own pizza crust, different types of bread, and so on. Use it up and get more. 😉

    I always have a jar of each yeast type (active dry, bread machine) opened for current use, and another unopened jar of each type. All are kept refrigerated. This generally stores well.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dipat2005 If you go to the church presentation on emergency preparedness, I highly encourage you to post a summary of it here on TGN. That would be a good topic for its own thread.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Update: the fuel oil for heating was $4.35 a gallon. This is the highest price we've seen since at least 2013.

    Gasoline here has risen to over $4.20 a gallon.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,622 admin

    @dipat2005 I agree with @VermontCathy. Please post what you learn under the "Shelter In Place" or "Evacuations" category, whichever is most appropriate.

    Gas in Vancouver is $2.10 per litre today. Converted to US $ for a US gallon would be $6.19. Sounds worse in our money and measurement. $9.58 for a Canadian gallon.

    I am still unable to find wide mouth canning lids. Lots of standard lids and gem lids and you can buy wide lids with ring bands but no wide mouth by themselves. I sure don't need any more ring bands. I think the lid production has gone towards selling more jars with lids.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey I think you are right about production having shifted to making more jars with lids, or lids with rings.

    I've been able to find just lids, but I don't use wide mouth much and the regular mouth seem to be a little easier to find.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    I haven't been able to find regular mouth quart size jars or lids at all, only wide mouth. And the price has become ridiculous.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have been using the Harvest Guard reusable canning lids for several years now and have been quite happy with them. Just an idea for anyone looking for lids.

    https://canninglids.com/

    There is another site using a similar name which has been ripping folks off. I have ordered from this company multiple times and never had a problem or been disappointed.

    It looks like they may even be caught up with the backlog they had after one of the bloggers recommended them and they got orders for over 500 thousand, I think it was, in one day.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym thanks for the link. I bought some reusable lids last year. The company I ordered from has more than doubled their prices since then. I definitely wanted to get more. The prices from the company you recommended are much more affordable! I would like to continue with the company I ordered from before because they are locally based but I just can't afford that.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 what prices are you seeing for lids? I have seen them in stores twice this year. They sold out very quickly even at the higher prices. If I remember correctly the regular mouth lids were almost $4/dz with wide being almost $5/dz. I agree with you, ridiculous!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    @Michelle D regular mouth never seem to be in stock when I check. Wide mouth have been almost $1 a lid, when they're in stock.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Correction: I wrote that I paid $205 per cord for firewood. It was actually $255 per cord, much higher.

    We usually burn about 1 1/2 cords each winter, but in a cold winter may use 2 cords.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,622 admin

    @VermontCathy

    We go out and get our own firewood. It was pretty easy access for a long time because of the pine beetle infestation that has killed hundreds of thousands of acres of pine forest. But that is disappearing as it gets logged, used up for firewood and has been burnt in a series of wild fires over the last 5-6 years. So we are having to go a bit further afield to find dry wood. By the time we drive to a location and back home, plus fuel for the chain saw, it might cost us $50. We only have a six foot box so we're not getting a full cord. Maybe 3/4 of a cord.

    My husband complains loudly about the cost of going for wood. So I will be telling him what you are paying so he feels a bit better about our expense. We use about 10 cords of wood for a winter on average.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey We don't own a pickup, so we aren't in a position to drive somewhere and get wood. However, we bought a chainsaw last year that we plan to use to trim branches and saplings on our own land. The chainsaw is too small to cut full size trees, and we don't have the experience to do that anyway.

    Try asking around to see what your neighboring businesses or individuals would charge to cut and deliver the wood for you. Even if you have no intention of hiring it out, when you pass that pricing to your husband he won't complain about the cost of doing it yourself!

    I'm grateful that we can heat our home in the coldest winter no matter what happens to petroleum and propane supplies. I just wish it wasn't so much work! :-)

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    My husband was watching out for a tree service working around town in an effort to find me some wood chips for the garden and after talking them up we ended up with a corner of our land becoming the dump for hard woods the service cuts locally. They are not a local business so this works well for them and for us. We leave the gate unlocked to that area and they come and go at will.

    We also ended up with a couple of loads of wood chips and those are like gold to me. I talked to the local power company about working out something like that but they spray herbicides on the lines so their wood chips would be horrible.

    I have been stocking up on emergency and first aid materials as well as things like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and Benadryl for my husband’s allergies.

    I just ordered a bunch of desiccants and some bulk rice and beans to package for long term storage. Other than canning, I have no experience with long term storage of foodstuffs so I’m strictly in experimentation phase. I’m currently debating whether Mylar bags with a desiccant is preferable to vacuum sealing and if the desiccant should also be used in the vacuum packing. I would love to know a resource for this our wonderful moderators would direct me…

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Owl I use desiccant in vacuum sealed bags of dry goods. If I understand correctly the only advantage to mylar bags vs vacuum seal is that they completely block the light. I get light blocking food grade storage totes for keeping the bags organized. That keeps the light out unless I open the tote to take stuff out. I have been told that I can use mylar bags with my vacuum sealer but I haven't tried it yet.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,622 admin

    This was the gas price at a station in Vancouver this past weekend.

    That's per litre. That equals $6.48 US for a US gallon. $10.12 Can for a Canadian gallon.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gas prices here have risen to about $4.30 for a US gallon.

    I am thinking about getting a wood chip dump from chipdrop.com. Has anyone used this service? I think it's national, across the US.

    Mostly they would be used on paths and in a flower garden, not on my primary crops. However, the vegetable beds and apple trees are not far from the flower garden or paths.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy I have used ChipDrop and it was a wonderful experience! I will use them again. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have to take the whole load and you have to have a places clear for them to put it when they come. They might not let you know when they are coming. Definitely read all the details on the website so you know what to expect.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, I read through all of that. At my semi-rural location, I can have them dump it on a far corner of the land and it won't matter if they stay there for a while.

    Thanks for the upvote on chipdrop!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭

    I have seen gas here for $4.49 to $5.39 for unleaded. The strange thing is that there are two cities within about 10 miles between and I have noticed that if gas is high in one city it is lower in the other and vice versa. Really strange!. Also gas prices have gone up and will stay up until Memorial Day! That statement was announced on the radio.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen prices leapfrogging, where station A will be a little cheaper than station B for a while, then station will raise its prices and be more expensive than B.

    I think what is happening is that the stations are getting fuel deliveries on different days, and adjusting their prices when they take delivery.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 733 ✭✭✭✭

    Gas here is 4.59 middle TN

  • cocekqueen
    cocekqueen Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    >I have been told that I can use mylar bags with my vacuum sealer but I haven't tried it yet.>

    Tried this last night and had trouble using my Foodsaver (which I got from Salvation Army...they are expensive new!!) and had to buy replacement gaskets.

    However, sealing the mylar bags wasn't working well. It would maybe vacuum beautifully, but then not seal. I even tried it using a hair iron and the Foodsaver tubing that comes with the mason jar lid sealing thing. Sealing worked well, but I couldn't get the air out; ended up sucking it up with my mouth--yuck, inhaling plastic fumes. So I gave up after that bag.

    Plus I forgot to put in the dessicants. Sigh.

    Ended up doing most of the remaining rice in smaller really old Seal A Meal bags I had, with the Foodsaver (which works irregularly--some of the bags are picture perfect; others still have air). So far I prefer jars with lids, using the Foodsaver lid thingie and a manual brake pump, but 1) wears out my hands and 2) jars take a lot more space.

    At any rate, we do what we can, then pray! :)

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @cocekqueen Welcome to the forum!

    Thanks for giving your experience of your experiment. We welcome sharing real life experiences here because we can all learn from each others successes & failures.

    It's too bad everything didn't work out as you had hoped.

    You are correct that those machines are expensive!

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    If you would, please let me know how that works out for you. I had signed up a few years ago, but I never received anything from them. I presume this is because we live in a fairly small town and there just weren't any landscapers signed up with them? Not sure if that has changed since then....

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Going rate for gasoline here is also about US$4.50 a gallon.

    I signed up for chipdrop, but haven't requested an actual drop because my husband doesn't want the large quantity they would probably bring.

    So we'll probably purchase more peat moss, vermiculite, and compost, and turn that into the beds.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2022

    Gasoline peaked here at about $5/gallon or just above. It is now dropping, and the going rate for regular is about $4.75/gallon.

    Shortages in grocery stores continue. I had trouble finding ground pork, which is usually readily available. I did eventually find it in a different type of packaging. Chorizo is available some days, not others. Ground beef 80/20 is available at fairly reasonable prices.

    The whole grain bread we prefer is often out of stock, then reappears the next week. Some hamburger buns and hot dog buns are available, but not the whole grain type.

    At my last shopping trip, it seemed like meats other than beef and chicken were not as available as usual. On the other hand, I found some types of steak that were very inexpensive, something like $4/lb, compared with around $12/lb for the T-bone or ribeye I usually look for. (We don't eat steak often. It's a special treat.)

    I've read articles claiming that beef prices will rise dramatically in September as cattle growers finish reducing their number of stock to save on the high price of feeding them.

    Beans, rice, and flour all seem to be readily available at reasonable prices, so I recommend stocking up.

    We often have to shop at three different stores to find everything we want.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,622 admin

    Gas has dropped here, too, but not so much. Last fill up I paid $2.06/litre ($5.93 US for a US gallon) or $9.35 CA for a CA gallon. We are still paying some of the highest prices in North America. The difference between gas and diesel is very strange. It can be up to $.30 per litre difference, either way. Sometimes more, sometimes less. No idea why.

    Kitty litter has been very hit and miss. I've been trying to get some cheap stuff for my FD for use as an absorbent but the only litter on the shelves lately has been the very expensive stuff in a small box. I am looking for the big bags.

    I buy most of my meat in bulk so I haven't noticed what the prices are like for that. Produce prices are rising but I'm assuming that has to do with transportation costs for our area.