4 Apples= $5.87

Yes, thats right.  After my chores, I went food shopping so I could prepare myself and the family a collection of my favorite foods.  While I was out, I decided to stock up on Holiday supplies, mainly stuff we use to make gifts for friends.  Anyway, we all like to eat apples and peanut butter in the morning, in fact, its a hard and fast rule that fruit is required in the morning.  Mostly, its bananas, pineapples, melons, and of course, apples.  Well, cantaloupes were fetching 4.99 each, and have been for awhile, so I passed and went over to bag up some apples.  I put four apples in the sack and continued shopping.

Over at the bread counter, loaves that only 2 months ago were .99 cents were now $1.33.  Thats a thirty percent increase.  Artisan bread, (I believe thats the catchy term for bread with poppy seeds or sunflowers seeds on it ) brought $3.89.

I usually do the household food shopping.  So I notice price increases. It makes a minor adjustment for our family, but I got to thinking about those families with alot of kids to feed, or, with just two but without our income.  Fuel for their car has gone way up, and of course, that affects the price of nearly everything shipped to the stores.  Utility costs are up, so heating and cooling is much more expensive.  Our property taxes increased pretty dramatically last year as well.

So, of course, THAT got me to thinking about what lower income people face in this economy.  It is time to pay car insurance premiums for us, and I remember when I applied for insurance the questions were more invasive than when requesting a loan.  Thank God for our stellar credit rating, or I’m not sure we would have been insurable at any price.  It should be noted that we both have spotless driving records, and have had for over 35 years.  If we had financed these cars, we would be required to have full coverage, as it is, just the liability premiums are quite steep.

I wondered yesterday to a friend about the big push by practically all companies to get you to sign contracts.  Cell phone.  Home phone.  Cable or satellite.  I don’t do it, but I think many people don’t have any choice.  Its almost as if these companies want the leverage of trashing your credit rating if you don’t keep their services.  If a guy loses his job, or suffers some economic hardship, he is legally bound not to just pay for services consumed, but to continue to consume them.

Its no secret that wages are down, so even two income households aren’t making what a single earner could not that long ago.  I’m aware that television and internet and cell phones are not necessary to live, but again, if someone makes the decision to re-prioritize his spending, he may in fact be unable to cut some services without severe penalties.

It just bothers me.  I’m not sure what the answers are, except to say that financial literacy and basic contract comprehension is key, and I believe our schools let us down in this area.  Your parents can’t teach you what they don’t know.

All I know is when I got to the cashier with my apples, they totaled $5.87.

I left them there.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “4 Apples= $5.87

  1. And that right there is why it’s hard for people with limited resources to eat healthily. You can buy an awful lot of unhealthy but filling frozen burritos for $5.87.

  2. Pingback: Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » Food Prices Rise, Grocery Budgets Shrink

  3. Its almost as if these companies want the leverage of trashing your credit rating if you don’t keep their services. If a guy loses his job, or suffers some economic hardship, he is legally bound not to just pay for services consumed, but to continue to consume them.

    Tell me about it. There were so many things we were under contract for that I would have gladly terminated for the 8 months Husband was out of work. (Cell phone and Burglar Alarm). Thankfully we had the resources to make it through–partially because we don’t have credit cards and didn’t have that ruinous interest to pay.

    I think Cell Phone contracts are abusive…yet we keep doing it because it’s a good way to get the “great phones” for a (deceptively) cheap price.

  4. Oh, and ditto to what Rachel said.

  5. And, of course, invasive questions are everywhere.

    My boss reserves the right not to allow employees accesss to their own money in their 401(k) plans if he doesn’t agree with how they plan to spend it or why they need the money in the first place. He feels absolutely justified in asking for your entire family and financial history, talking to your landlord, and asking your unit to “pass the hat” for you before he’ll allow that you really need the loan. (Yes, a loan. Of your own money. That you have to pay back.)

    Not to mention things like my adventures in renting. We have to give up credit card numbers, checking account balances and account numbers, student loans, monthly payments, legal histories, criminal histories, housing histories, employment histories…. not just your current information, but everything you have ever done. And you have to sign away the rights to your financial privacy, because they have to perform a credit check before they’ll rent to you, and you never know when they might need to run another one. (Which, of course, you have to pay for yourself.) On top of all that, naturally, they need itemized lists of all of your valuables, particularly electronics.

    I could go on and on.

    The utterly stupid part of it is that you need a credit record for everything. We had a bugger of a time renting this last time because Breviloquence didn’t have one. Not that he had a bad one, just that he had always paid in cash and checks, and thus never got any big loans or otherwise got on the grid. One would think that, with no history of bankruptcy or any outstanding problems, would be a good thing. But now even jobs ask for credit histories during their application process.

    So sure, getting off the grid, living simply, not taking any big loans and shredding the credit card might be a good idea… but it makes life, particularly marginal life, really really hard.

    And, of course, this sort of thing spills into a lot of the rest of life. A cell phone might not be a necessity in the same way that food is, but many jobs will blow a gasket if they can’t get ahold of you at a whim. When my boss wants to talk to me and I’m not at work, he calls my parents, my boyfriend, my cell phone, and any other number he knows is vaguely associated with me.

    You can’t get a job here without a driver’s license and a car. It doesn’t matter if you’re not going to be driving as a part of your job duties, or if you live close enough to walk, it’s written right there in the job description. (I’ve been doing the job search and apartment search things recently, so I have reams and reams of evidence to support this) A lot of them require DoJ background checks (usually Live San, but sometimes the more invasive ones), even if you’re not working with kids or anything particularly confidential. And they all require you to pay for the procedures, the training, the application fees, the background checks, the credit checks…

    It’s no wonder day labor and other ‘under the table’ arrangements are proliferating. You have to open up your whole life, and pay for the privilege to boot, and this is often all before any commitment, even tentative, has been made. It’s just part of the application process, you see.

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