Inflation isn’t new

I feel as though I am a veteran and survivor of inflation as I remember the 1980s. The inflation rate just hit 8.5%, which is like the double-digit inflation we had in the 80s but it is a 40-year high.  Mortgage interest rates were also in the double digits and at one point the unemployment rate in Minnesota was 13%. Student loan repayment never paused and neither did any of our bills.  Health insurance and health care were both better and cheaper back then which was a plus

The 1980’s were traumatic in so many ways. The decade marks the beginning of how we got to where we are today but I digress.

Just like in the 1980s gasoline prices are way up too. Back in the 80s, people would steal the gas right out of our gas tank.

spare change

Pro-tip: Get a locking gas cap, if your gas cap doesn’t already lock.

Living during inflationary times isn’t easy but it is doable and now is the perfect time to examine budgets and spending habits.

In the 80s large cars were cheap but small fuel-efficient cars were expensive. In the long run, the small car was easier on the pocketbook. Today all cars are expensive but even larger cars are more fuel-efficient than they were back then.  Cars have gotten more fuel-efficient but we can do better.

Pro-tip: Drive less

New cars and used cars have gone up in price.

Pro-tip: Drive your car until it wears out.

Food prices keep going up but eating at home is far less expensive than dining out or buying fast food. Meat prices have gone up but it is possible to cook tasty meals with less meat in them or no meat at all. Last week I made vegan chili and cornbread. No one noticed that the chili was meatless.

Pro-tip: learn to cook and eat at home. Pack a lunch and take it to work.

Pro-tip: Eat less meat.

Pro-tip: Don’t waste food, learn to use leftovers. 

Clothing can be expensive. A couple of weeks ago I put a new zipper in an old jacket that I really like. It was a reminder that some of what we buy can be repaired and we should repair rather than buy new.

Pro-tip: Learn to do simple repairs, sew on buttons and mend.

I have been keeping track of household expenses and so far we are not spending more on food or gasoline.

We are spending a lot more to heat the house because of increases in the price of natural gas. We bought a more efficient furnace a few years ago and I am sure it helps but our heating bills are still shocking.

Back in the 70s when energy prices went way up people did strange things to their houses like lowering the ceilings and in some cases putting in smaller windows. New construction was built with energy conservation in mind for the first time.

Pro-tip: Save energy by turning off lights and keeping the house a degree or two cooler. 

Other monthly bills went up like 60% more for health insurance (we all work for health insurance companies and for the medical-industrial complex) and property taxes are 11% higher.

We do have some control over how we spend our money and now is the time to take control.

As for housing prices are ridiculous. Having roommates can help lower housing costs so can multi-generation housing and where it is legal accessory dwelling units can provide more housing right in your own backyard.  Smaller houses are generally less expensive than larger houses.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email