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.