Inflation, shortages, and coping with economic challenges

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  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gasoline prices jumped $0.16 in one day early this week. This is the fastest increase I can ever recall seeing.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gas prices in the Willamette Valley where I live are about $2 more than the national average. It stinks!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I gave up on Foodsaver machines a few years ago. I ended up going with the LEM brand and it seems to work fine for sealing the mylar bags. They will not vacuum unless you order the special mylar vacuum bags. If you check your bags for the Foodsaver or your older machine you will find they are not perfectly smooth inside. There is some kind of roughness inside. The mylar on the other hand is completely smooth which is why they will not vacuum.

    I went through this when I tried to vacuum the mylar as well. Even tried cutting a small piece of the rough side and inserting into the bag. Didn't work. Only thing I have found to help is by adding oxygen absorbers to the bag before I seal them.

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

    Our gas prices had a huge spike here last week after a fire at an oil refinery. They went up almost $1 in the course of a few days. They have started coming back down a bit but they are still really up there.

    @vickeym are the special mylar bags made specifically for the LEM brand?

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Michelle D No the were on Amazon. The 4th and 5th items in this search were for vacuum sealing and I'm sure there must be more. I just did a search for Mylar vacuum seal bags.

    I'm sure they are available without using Amazon as well. This is the ones I use but they are not vacuum seal, they do however come with the oxygen absorbers.

    https://www.amazon.com/Storage-Absorbers-Zipper-Resealable-Sealable/dp/B09FSRN1ML?pd_rd_w=EUlFx&content-id=amzn1.sym.deffa092-2e99-4e9f-b814-0d71c40b24af&pf_rd_p=deffa092-2e99-4e9f-b814-0d71c40b24af&pf_rd_r=HVB2WZ179F2XNTZKSGAJ&pd_rd_wg=1naJY&pd_rd_r=8e0251af-cfaa-4648-b7c6-a47bddc5a17b&pd_rd_i=B09FSRN1ML&psc=1&ref_=pd_bap_d_rp_1_t

    How many or how large the oxygen absorbers need to be depends on what you are putting in them. Flour won't need as much as something like macaroni that has lots of space for air to stay in the bags. You would need more or larger use absorbers for that type of item.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Gas has been fluctuating here in SW Colorado pretty significantly. It's dropped about $1/gallon over the past month, and has since been jumping back up incrementally. It's now just over/under $4/gallon at most places. That said, I had to go to Albuquerque, NM, over the weekend and I saw gas as low as $3.25/gallon. (Of course, just down the street from that the cheapest grade was $3.41/gallon, and just down from that, it was $3.67/gallon. I thought that was a pretty wild swing for competing gas stations. I did check the octane levels on the gas at the cheaper station, and they were the same as what I use at home. So, I'm not sure how to explain that!)

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Merin Porter I think what is happening is that gas stations are raising the price when they receive a new tanker truck load of gasoline at a higher price.

    The big disparities go away as the cheap stations get their new deliveries.

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

    Is anyone else seeing a shortage of white vinegar? I have checked with four grocery stores locally and I haven't been able to find any over the last few weeks.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    I haven't seen that up my way.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I haven't checked for vinegar lately. I stocked up heavily in early summer in preparation for canning, so haven't needed more.

    But for the most part, common foods have been available in our local stores. The exceptions have been whole grain breads and burger buns, which come and go, and whole grain hot dogs, which I haven't seen at all in 2 years.

    A couple of bags of groceries, about half of which was meat, cost over $60 yesterday.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy My family loves graham crackers every now and then. They disappeared from the stores and are now back. But, oh my, same size box, but the packaging inside the box is shorter and more narrow. It use to be hard to remove a package from the box---barely fit! Now there is room to reach in and grasp the entire package! lol There is even a price increase! Just shaking my head!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    @water2world We've made graham crackers before. They tasted really good & worked well for s'mores. They are 100% whole wheat. We used 100% fresh milled whole grain.

    I'm sure that they would work well in any recipe that called for them.


  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thank you soooo much! I am definitely going to make some!!

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 755 ✭✭✭✭

    Everytime I go to the grocery there are a few people literally just standing around complaining out loud. I mean I agree. I just may not stand around yelling it at everyone.

    I only shop for what I have coupons for and I go to salvage grocery stores. That helps the bill a little.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gasoline here is approaching $4 a gallon again. I took a trip through the state last weekend, and saw one of the cheaper stations raise its price 2 cents on Monday, to $3.88. The more developed urbanized areas of Vermont are consistently charging $4.10, so I assume they have additional local taxes to pay.

    I've heard that Connecticut is putting furnace heating oil on allocation, so fuel sellers cannot buy as much as they want. Supposedly Vermont will have enough fuel to avoid that, but I have no trust in that claim. We refilled fairly recently.

    The energy news out of Europe continues to be scary.

    It's going to be a good winter to have alternative sources of heat, such as wood stoves.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    @VermontCathy I came out of the grocery store with ONE bag the other day and it was nearly $100. ($98 + change). I did have a couple of pieces of pork tenderloin that was on sale at a very good price. But still. $100 for 1 bag of groceries.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey Buying meat on sale is likely a good investment for the coming months, into next year.

    My freezer is full to the brim or I would be buying even more.

    I'm half afraid to use the freezer contents, preferring to keep as much as possible until next year, when I expect even higher prices and more shortages. So I often buy more meat to eat right away Instead of thawing what I already have.

    I did separate out the meat that has been in the freezer for months, intending to use that fairly soon.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    @torey We feel it too.

    We were wondering what was up either the cheap meat last time we shopped. Brisket was an excellent price & so was the pork.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Whole young chicken available today at $0.99 lb, turkey at $1.49 lb. I've heard there may be a turkey shortage this year, but I see no sign of it locally.

    On the other hand, peanut oil, while available at our grocery store, had a sign on it apologizing for its irregular availability. Extra virgin olive oil is well over $7 per quart, $23 for a large bottle (101 oz.) I think the prediction of future shortages of cooking oils will be proven correct.

    I'm reading claims that there is a looming shortage of diesel, which would affect availability of _all_ food.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy Another option if you have the space for storing some meats and such... consider canning some. Chunks for stews or soups, even with gravy over noodles, rice or potatoes.

    Ground meats such as ground beef, turkey, etc can be browned first then canned (yes, it does change the texture some.) It would then be ready for dishes such as spaghetti, tacos, sloppy joes, anywhere you would normally use cooked ground meat.

    I have seen recipes for canning sausage patties,https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/ground_chopped.html You could probably do the same for other types of ground meat or even small meatballs.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym This is good advice. I pressure canned a few of chicken earlier this season.

    I'm running out of pantry space, though, since I'm trying to keep more of everything. I'm not sure where I would put additional canned meats.

    Those of you who store 6 - 12 months of food, or more; how do you find space for it all?

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

    @VermontCathy running out of pantry space can be a frustrating blessing! I also have a tendency to can some meat to save freezer space but as you said there is only so much pantry space and it gets used up fast. I have a very small kitchen without much storage space in it. I keep my pantry items in my basement. That is the only place I have space. If I didn't have a basement I would have to get very creative as to where to keep my back up pantry items. I know some people that keep canned goods in Rubbermaid containers under the bed.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    I currently have 3 freezers; 12 cf, 20 cf and 24 cf.

    I also have a pantry room in the basement; 8' x 8'. It was supposed to be a root cellar but wound up being too warm for that. So a pantry it is. That's where I keep all my canning and extra canned goods, jugs of oil & vinegar, plastic bins with dried goods, extra baking supplies, etc. Its cool enough that potatoes will keep pretty well but anything else goes soft and/or sprouts.

    I have an extra fridge for keeping carrots, beets, cabbage, etc.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    We've got freezers, 2 that are 8cf, a 20cf, & a large 18cf upright (a deep freeze is better). All are packed. We still need to bring in our many carrots tomorrow. We are hoping that trying a slat box/burlap/sand storage thing will work to store them fresh because I'd like to be able to grate them occasionally. I'm not so sure how it will work in our old basement, as we've had mold and sometimes mushrooms growing down there in the past. I still have extra parsnip that didn't fit. That will be made into creative foods because I don't want to eat that much parsnip in a row!

    Aside from the storage containers, we store our sealed bought goods in heavier storage containers. We like those better than Rubbermaids because they keep out insects. We call these boxes our "store".

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    Ha-ha @LaurieLovesLearning My daughter (that lives just down the road) calls my basement her store. :)

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    After owning & running a general store for many years, I still can’t shake the bargain hunter part of me that had developed. I guess it still comes in handy because when I do see a good deal, I take advantage, especially staples that I use a lot, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, beans(cannellini, black, kidney) rice, pasta, sardines etc. It always seems to complement the fresh produce I grow. As well as other household items like toilet paper, washing powder etc, they keep for future use. I have a large pantry & space in my garage to store excess.

    Fuel in Australia is expensive like everywhere else, diesel around $2.40/litre. 3.785lts = 1us liquid gallon= just over $9 Australian/ gallon!!!!! We do produce a little crude oil but it is exported, so we rely on about 90% imported crude, go figure! A few taxes attached to that price but still too expensive.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Gas prices vary significantly in our area from town to town.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We have a very small cabin. I went to several prepper site and looked at their ideas for storage. We have stuff under the bed, I have boxes under our table/desk/tv stand/computer stand (an 8 ft table that we use for everything) If needed I can cover these and put a cushion on top for a footstool.

    I know folks who have stacked boxes of canned goods or cases of home canned items, covered with a board, (Round or Square) then added a large tablecloth which hides the stacked items.

    I've seen folks who put a layer of boxes on the closet floor, Laid something on top, Even cardboard with either contact paper or painted surface, then put their shoes and such on top of the cardboard. Some have their couch or chairs out a bit from the wall and stack things behind them.

    There are many creative places which may also keep others from finding it all should times get very bad and someone tries to come take your things. Hopefully we never get to that point.

    In Alaska it is just a normal thing to have a good supply, it doesn't take much for our food supply to be interrupted. Earthquakes, fires, strikes, etc. May areas only have one road in or out so even avalanches or rockslides.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We live in a split-level home, so my "basement" is an insulated, heated, tiled/carpeted part of our living space. There is no basement of the type you are thinking.

    Our ground is heavy clay with large granite boulders and significant rocks everywhere. Creating a cold cellar would require serious powered equipment and cost, not simply digging a hole and shoring it up.

    We already store stuff under the bed, mostly camping gear.

    Admittedly we do have too much junk and clutter, and getting rid of it would be the best approach. But that's painful, so it always gets put off to another day. 😗