Every Day

Back To Basics or Perhaps Even Bare Bones

I am hearing of so many people struggling right now. Times are getting tough for a lot of people. Prices, as you all know, have risen pretty quickly on food, clothing, OTC medicines, cleaning products, hygiene products, gasoline, propane, oil for heating, etc. Doctors and dentists have raised what they charge. We have just gotten notification that our private health insurance and Medicare will be going up January 1st. The Medicare costs will eat in to the Social Security increase for next year. People who rely on that to live are going to have a much tougher time next year than they have had this year even though they should end up with a small increase.

Your local towns and cities will likely raise your property taxes at the highest percentage increase that you have seen in years. Their costs have risen too. I know I am planning on my January property tax bill being much higher. Some may raise your sales taxes or those fees and surcharges that you see on everyday bills like phone service, cellphone service, and your utility bills. We all know that the media and our government have warned us that it is going to be a rough winter because electricity, natural gas, oil and propane bills are going to be huge. I have seen predictions of 30 up to 40% increases. People who have filled their propane and oil tanks already have felt the higher prices. We get billed monthly for natural gas and electricity. We saw an increase last month. I just submitted our readings for this past month yesterday. I am expecting a much larger bill than the same period last year even though we cut our natural gas by 15 CCF’s and our electricity by 98 KWH. We live in a very snowy and cold climate in the winter and our heat has been running all month so I am expecting this bill to a doozy. But that will just be the beginning of these costs rising. I believe it will get worse. I could get into the politics of it but I think you all know why those prices are rising.

Let’s talk about the pain at the pump! UGH! We are paying $ 3.50 per gallon here for gasoline. I am sure there are many people across the country paying a lot more than that especially in states like California. I expect that the prices for the Thanksgiving travel will rise. So if you work from home or are retired get your gasoline tank filled before the prices go up. Even if you aren’t traveling and just need gasoline to go to work next week, fill up today or tomorrow so that you don’t have to fill up next week. Those that are traveling may have to fill up next week too but at least you will have gotten one tank of gas at a cheaper price.

We have gotten notification from our homeowners insurance that the cost to rebuild our home has gone up(lumber prices) so when we get our renewal in March, it will cost more. Not only because of that but their costs have gone up too just like yours and because of so many weather disasters across our country this past year. Many have mentioned that they have gotten their policy increases this Fall and they are way up.

So what do you do if your income hasn’t increased or it has decreased? You get back to basics or what I call a bare bones budget! I have lived through a period like this back in the early seventies when I had little ones. It happened right after we purchased our first home and my oldest was born and then my youngest. Fortunately, our mortgage interest was only about 7.5%. But many that got mortgages shortly after we bought were at 16%. That is what happens when there is inflation. We have not even seen what inflation will really be like in this country because the Treasury has been controlling the interest rates. Just wait until they start allowing those to go up! Every time the government prints money, our costs go up. You have already seen and it is going to get worse and worse every time they spend money that they don’t have. So many people thought that the stimulus checks were free. They weren’t free; we are all paying for them through the printing of money which is devaluing what your dollar is worth. Every time they pass something that is going to cost money, the $ gets devalued more and more. We haven’t seen anything yet. Obviously we survived the inflation of the 1970’s but I believe this will be even worse. So I have some experience working with a bare bones budget and will be writing articles on what you must do to be able to survive it. I will tackle one topic at a time when I can because I am still dealing with health issues. If I am up to it, I may write the first one later today.

So what are you guys doing to control these increases? Share in the comments so that you can help other people who may be able to use your advice.

10 replies on “Back To Basics or Perhaps Even Bare Bones”

Hi AD, great article. Some of what we are doing for these times are: 1. Paying cash at the grocery and when it is gone, I am done until the next week. So far I haven’t had to adjust my grocery budget upwards, but will consider this if necessary. 2. Car stuff: Hubby will do what he can for repairs. For instance, we had my van into the dealer for recall repairs this week and, of course, they find other things that need done. Hubby will do the new brakes they said we need himself. 3. I will keep to my Christmas budget. 4. For utilities, we will continue to be careful how we use them. Our trash is included in the water bill, and I applied for the senior discount when I was eligible. Gas we keep the house at 68 degrees daytime and lower at night with a programmable thermostat. Electric we will continue to be careful about the lights we use since it gets dark early this time of the year.

I am sure there are more things, but these are some obvious ones I can think of.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for letting us know what you are doing. I am curious. You say that you haven’t had to raise your grocery budget yet. Have your prices not gone up there or are you buying different things than you used to? Our prices have really risen here especially on meat. But everything has taken quite a hit. I am getting less and less each week for my dollars. So we have had to cut back on what we buy and what we eat.

AD, I have not had to buy a bunch of meat yet, since we still have some of the beef and pork we got from hubby’s coworker last year. And eating more out of the full freezers. I am at the point now where I mostly buy fresh things and the various loss leaders I need as they come up. And I am trying not to over buy. Like, for example, Kroger had 2 lb cheese last week for a really good price, but I decided not to buy any since we still have quite a bit from other sales. Normally, I would have bought anyway and put in the freezer. But didn’t this time. I am still trying to keep to $100/week and it mostly works. There is inflation, though. B/C I used to be able to keep kitty food/litter and our Costco trips within that budget, but now they are a different line item. (We get most of our wine at Costco) I also used to have my CVS trips on the food budget, but quit playing the drugstore game several years ago when we moved. More couponers up here. I can definitely see inflation in things I buy. We shall see what the new year brings. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

Hi Chris,

Wow! That meat is lasting a very long time. I am doing the same as you; eating from the freezers but filling in the gaps when there is a great sale. But I will be doing more and more canning of the meat to preserve it. But I am so curious that if I am in the store getting produce, I will check out the meat prices. Unless chicken is on sale, the meat prices are horrid. I have also noticed that the meat is very lonely these days. No one is buying it. They look and then leave.

Hi guys. I am so happy someone is at least addressing this issue. Everyone seems to be in La La Land and not talking about the high costs of every single thing. For the first time in my 20 years of retirement, I can’t pay our monthly bills from our retirement income. I have to dip in to savings. That is NOT a very good thing.
Anyway we installed a pellet stove which will cost us 50% less than our propane heat. It keeps our whole house between 70 and 72 and I’ve never felt so warm in my life! (we kept propane at 65 during the day and 63 at night). We have an electric bed cover with dual controls. Hubs is set at1, the lowest. I keep my set at 2 just to keep the chill out. We shut the pellet stove off around midnight and boot it up again around 5AM.
I only take one bath a week (down from like 3 or 4) and enjoy it on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. Rest of the week it’s navy showers. Brrrr. Not liking it.
Our food bill is still out of control and this past month I was so, so careful. Just buying what we needed. And still almost reaching $600 a month. We’re back to basics cooking also. Using many of my recipes from the 1970s: lentil soup, split pea, chicken noodle soup, vegetarian pasta dishes etc. Hubby still eats meat (mostly chicken, pork and fish) but I limit my meat consumption. Prefer vegan instead. Lots of bean dishes.
We put in LED lights everywhere. Cancelled streaming services and just use ROKU. Amazing the things you can get for free! I also bought an inexpensive sewing Mac hime and first project was making 6 napkins from an old tablecloth. Our car batty died, Hubby fixed. Then the brakes went out. Hubby fixed. Parts were still expensive, however. UGH! Our doggie got Lyme disease. Ka-ching at the vet. Once I calculate my new social security check and the increases, I’ll be coming home with just $37 more a month. Hubby will start Medicare at $305 a month ($170 Part B and $175 Medigap policy.I haven’t figured our Part D yet) He was on Obamacare before at zero so this is going to be a BIG financial hit. You may not want to say this but I will. I blame the ignorance of Joe Biden for all of this. Just 30 minutes into his presidency and he cancelled the XL Pipeline the causing a financial domino effect destroying the US in one swoop of the pen. What an idiot. And now they want to pass another giant spending bill that will put the nails Ito all of our coffins? We elect these people to lead us. Not destroy us. They are so hellbent on passing their own agendas they don’t realize the damage (irreversible) they are doing to us and the once great American economy.
I’ve given up. I’m doing the best I can but after that, I have just given up.

Hi Cindi,

Everyone around me is the opposite. They are all talking about the rising costs. You have to either be an elite, a media person, or have a net worth over $100,000. to not notice them.

We must have retired about the same time. Hubby retired in summer 2021. I am sorry to hear that you had to dip into your savings though. I think we all need to cut back. I only spent $38. at the grocery store today and that is all I will spend this week. Things are just getting so expensive that I will not pay the prices. I refuse. If I truly need something and the price is too high, I will find a substitute.

I am loving that you have a pellet stove. You won’t have to worry about freezing if the power goes out.

My bathroom is toasty warm when I take a navy shower. I gather yours isn’t. Yikes.

I will no longer pay the price for fish unless it is tuna in a can. It is way too high here. I do have a little left in the freezer though.

I am so in agreement with you on Biden. His policies ( whomever is running the country. Joe is too mentally gone to be doing it.) are destroying this country. This country is very close to communism which is a very scary thought. Just look up the definition of communism and you will see that you will own nothing. They will own your house, your car, etc. I disagree with you on one point. They know what they are doing. They are doing exactly what Stalin did in Russia. I don’t mean to scare people but they have to open their eyes. People have to say enough is enough.

Cindi, please don’t give up! I am hanging in there with you. I will have lots of posts on saving as I am physically able to do them.

BTW, didn’t you used to have a blog? Do you still?

Yes! I live in a touristy ski area so we are always priced higher than the “city” we do what we can. Thankfully I have a handy hubby so house and car repairs are usually handled by him. We rent from his mom (reasonable), we just put in heated floors and took out baseboard heat so I am hoping that will be less expensive. We have a roommate in separate living area that helps offset our rent. We rarely go out to eat but we do try to have date night 1x week and we only go to the places owned by a friend because we have a 50% off card. We keep the pets healthy and combine vet trips with them, they eat healthy but not expensive food and we keep their weight in check. Same with oourselves.

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