Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The squeeze is on...

Here we go again. The price of oil has climbed over 100.00 a barrel in response to the instability in North Africa and the Middle East. This is the bumpy plateau of Mr. Hubbert's peak. In a matter of a couple of weeks we should see gas prices leap, heating oil prices skyrocket and food prices, already at highs, will become even more expensive. Takes a lot of diesel to move the food from California eastward.

In real life, main street, kitchen table terms it means that we are all gonna feel a squeeze. Some of us more than others. At our own breakfast table this morning we started trouble shooting ways to cope with the increasing prices.

Here is a partial list:
  • We will eat less meat. We eat meat two or three times a week. We can cut this down to one or two times a week. And those meat meals can take the form of soups and stews.
  • Mark car pools one day a week with a co-worker, maybe they can share another day.
  • Because "town" is a lot closer, in our new community, we find that we drive in and out of town several times a day. We will see if we can cut down these trips.
  • We will stock up on a few more staples like oils, flour and oats before their prices make a big leap. I will put the flour and the oats in my freezer. It is getting pretty empty in there and this will improve its efficiency.
  • We will fill a gas can or two for our chainsaw. We don't pay for heating oil but our form of heating is still dependent of fossil fuels.
  • I am going to follow Wendy's blog as she documents the next 21 days. Oh and I will pre-order her book too;)
  • We will review things we can do to increase the gas mileage of our car.
  • We can save some money on groceries by making our own cheese from local milk.
  • It is time to start the Independence Days Challenge again!
Our family will be able to weather the oncoming price shocks with some wise adaptations but there are other families with tighter margins in their budgets who will have a hard time. So maybe instead of planting one row, I'll plant two.

I would also like to ask again if anyone could advise me on creating a button for the Plant-A-Row Challenge. I will have all participants listed by the end of the week. However, it is never too late to join the challenge!

So do you have any other tips to share?


Anonymous said...

I think I might have to borrow your idea of buying flour and oats ahead. I go through a lot and buy only whole wheat and unbleached, so it's already a bit steep. Thanks for reminding me about the saws, too! I completely forgot about that.

Oh, and I don't know if you're having a similar issue, but the ethanol has been known to mess some of the new saws valves up. You can buy leaded, non-ethanol gas at the Norridgewock Airport. We don't run it, but I wanted to let you know in case it was something Mark was interested in.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I've been planning a weekend trip to buy an extra bag of flour, oil, rice, etc. And I'm getting ready to start planting!

Wendy said...

If you have a graphics program, like microsoft image composer, making a button is pretty simple.

Let me know if I can help out with making your graphic :).

Anonymous said...

I am planning on buying a bunch of flour, oats, rice, and cooking oil. I might buy a few extra boxes of freezer bags for freezing my garden produce. I don't like to use them but certain things must be frozen in freezer bags! We are going to plant an even larger garden and I plan on canning/freezing way more than years past. I hope to give some of this to my mom and my in-laws to help them out a bit, too.

We are going to purchase a woodstove this summer when we sell our hay so we will be busy cutting and splitting wood. Cotton prices are also going up so I will be hitting the garage/yard sale scene pretty hard this summer. Hopefully I can glean some good buys for my family.

I think just encouraging each other and offering support and advice really helps us through these tough times! :) Thanks for this post!


Linda said...

I can try to help you with a button. Can you email me and let me know what you have in mind? I would have to research how to attach code but the button itself should be easy.

Tips.....well, I think you have covered the steps we are going to take as well.
Buying food in bulk is about the best thing anybody can do right now. When I say bulk, I'm talking 50 lbs per item though.
Two options that I have not tried yet but I have heard about.
One is Angel Food Minsitries which sells packaged deals that include meats at a low cost. I'd still price compare.
And the second one is the Latter Day Saints Canneries which you can find either in the yellow pages or try calling one of their churches. My understanding is that they sell to the public (bulk items) but that if there is a shortage they only sell to members.