This scary trend has us all reaching deep into our pockets.
Despite my affinity for tractors, I’m not a farmer. I source my vegetables from the supermarket, and occasionally the regular market. However, each time I go back, the price of these vegetables has increased. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in particular over the past few years, it’s the strong growth in cost of carrots per kilo, or C.O.C.K.
This growth in C.O.C.K has gone unnoticed by many, but in just over two years it’s almost tripled in size, and boy does it hurt. That’s right, I used to only pay 80 cents for carrots and now I’m charged $1.20 just for those abnormal ones! That’s a 50% increase – what happened to supposed inflation of 3%? I’ve had to give up carrots for this reason – the C.O.C.K has become too inflated.
It’s not just that though – interest rates in the USA are starting to rise. Iron ore is at a 2-year high. The global economy looks to be recovering, and that means increased inflation, with a flow-on effect here in Australia.
Unfortunately, while the target inflation rate may be 3%, it’s never an even 3% across the board. Some items increase in price more, some increase less. We’re not on the same page as Zimbabwe yet (inflation of 2.5 million% in 2008) but the bigger C.O.C.K is just one example of how we’re paying much more for the necessities.
Australia and the USA have something in common – they both print money. The technical term is quantitative easing, but by stimulating the economy in this way, there is potential for hyperinflation as this article suggests.
House prices are soaring, but TV prices and some wages are falling. Overall average inflation is low, but does that really mean the relative cost of living isn’t rising?
Back in my day, we bought only “home brand” products and that was how we liked it. The modern frugal Frank has to be a clever shopper. I don’t go shopping for food with a list of what to buy; I buy whatever is on sale and build my week of meals around that. If it’s not on sale, I convince myself I don’t want it.
By significantly cutting down on junk food, I’ve saved heaps. In Oz we are charged 10% extra in tax on all discretionary purchases (“non essentials”) so avoiding these items has a double whammy effect.
I’ve found that the best way to save money at the supermarket is to only buy items where the price is below the Total (average) Inflation of The Store, or T.I.T.S. In general, I now only spend my money on items where the price is the T.I.T.S (or below), which means I won’t go near a large C.O.C.K. This has been working well for me so far.
The price of meat has almost doubled in the last few years (mince was $3 per 500g, it is now $6 minimum). Brand name bread has also more than doubled ($2 to over $5). It pays to observe these trends and adjust one’s diet accordingly. No more steak sandwiches for me!
Hopefully one day I can become a farmer and stop Always Shopping at Supermarkets, but for now I’m out of abbreviations.
Do you buy carrots? Comment below!