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Monday, December 21, 2015

Decreasing Value

Decreasing Value

Another great title for this post could be Disappearing Middle Class.  For some of us that have had a wonderful run in the workforce, and are now retired.  If we prepared adequately (education or training) and either saved money or invested wisely, and had a big helping of good luck.  By good luck I mean not have 80 to 100% of your investments in the stock market around the time of the market collapsed.  For those of us; we are surviving with our heads above water where the finances are concerned.  We don’t even notice our declining finances because we have been adjusting our extracurricular activities.  Examples:  Stop taking the annual vacation to fancy resorts in or out of the country, dropped the Golf Membership at the Country Club, stopped driving the expensive SUV (gas guzzler) and moved into a more economical sedan, Cut down eating out from twice weekly to twice monthly (entertaining more at home), etc., etc.

When my wife and I first got married and even now we like to guess how much our groceries are going to cost while the cashier is processing our groceries.  We like to see how sharp we are at guessing and see who comes the closest to the total cost.  The only prize is the honor of guessing the closest and show off our mathematical genius.  It used to be that a rule of thumb was on average $10 per bag of groceries.

Like everything else the prices have gone up and the size of the bags have gotten smaller.  Coincidence, I don’t think so.  Just like the size of a candy bar got smaller and the price stayed the same for about a year and then they totally lost their shame and raised the prices anyway (have you noticed that the size of a case of pop is now 20 cans instead of 24, yet the price stayed the same or went up).  Earlier this week I was sent out on a grocery run and as often happens, I was in the mood for reflection.  As has been typical since the drought broke in the Northwest, it was a rainy evening.  

After rushing into my car to avoid getting soaked, I noticed that I only carried out two small bags of groceries, and a couple of lose items that were too heavy for the flimsy paper bags with handles that they now sell you for five cents each.  The paper handles on the bags break long before you get home.  Total paid for the few items I purchased was over $50.  That is an average of 25 dollars per bag.  The few items that I carried unbagged were a gallon of milk, ½ gallon of orange juice, and a two liter bottle of pop.

It wasn’t that long ago that I remember buying a five pound sleeve of ground beef for $4.39 today in some stores that’s the price per pound, even more if you buy the 93% fat free.  Today’s price of the cheapest cut of beef (Chuck Roast) is $6.99 per pound.  That used to be the price of Top Sirloin.  The saddest thing is that, the market place ratchets the screws on our budgets so much and so high that when they finally have a sale to draw you into the store, and we are so grateful and reward them with our budget dollars.

I remember that growing up my parents used to look at the weekly sales (printed on paper flyers) and would actually shop the different stores to buy the advertised sales leaders.  I do believe I see those day coming back.  The reason for the high prices is often blamed on the cost of oil (transportation), the drought (lack of irrigation water for agriculture), Global Warming (according to politicians, what happens in Timbuktu affects Cucamonga, California, etc., etc.). 

There will have to be at least two more posts on the subject of what’s making the Middle Class disappear.  I don’t care about all the excuses (reasons) I hear; the number one reason for the high prices is greed and crooked corporations (they raise prices because they can – 200% plus increase in CEO compensation over the last 2 or 3 years).  We can return our country (world) to greatness, but we need to get involved or at least be aware.  The best is yet to come…….

1 comment:

  1. Yes my friend your exactly right, back in the late forties when my father had a small independent grocery store he took my by the hand and told me seriously that if we did not change our ways we would need a wheel borrow to take our money to the store and only return with a few loaf of bread!!!!!!!