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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Shopping and Gas for the Week -- Late May 2022

I'm sorry I'm having a hard time keeping up[ with answering comments this week. I'm incredibly tired. I had a mild cold a week ago and I'm still trying to get back on track with energy. The cold was very mild, The fatigue was the hard part. It wasn't Covid. I did a home test as my husband had to go in to the office the next day. So, I'm sorry if I'm slow to respond to comments.

Shopping this week

I didn't shop in person this week. However, I did place an order online for some baking supplies before prices increase. I'm thinking ahead to the fall and winter holidays. I added some more all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips to my pantry. Got to have that chocolate. A few weeks ago, I noticed Walmart had increased their price on packages of chocolate chips by 20 cents. I was online at the WM website and saw that a 6-pack of chocolate chips was selling for the old price per package. So I ordered a 6-pack of chocolate chips. I have found some odd deals like this on Walmart.com. The new (higher) price will be only on individual units. But multi-packs will still be at the previous price per unit for a little while longer, I just have to buy more at one time to get that lower price.

On the chocolate chips and cocoa powder, I anticipate more price increases. The US doesn't have the climate to grow cocoa beans. (The world's largest exporter of cocoa is the West African nation Cote d'Ivoire.) I expect with fuel prices surging, the cost to import cocoa products will increase. Throw in drought, fungal disease in the crops, and a pesky moth, and cocoa output may fall below demand. Anyway, priorities, priorities -- additional supply of cocoa powder and chocolate chips added to my pantry. The trick now -- I've just to keep us from using these up before next fall.

I didn't have any need to shop for other groceries this week. I mentioned last week that I bought less milk than usual and will be trying to get through the two weeks on this lesser amount. I've been digging through the freezer to find milk frozen in prior months. I came across several pints of milk that was turning slightly sour, so I froze it. I marked these containers "milk for baking." I've been extending our fresh drinking milk by using the baking milk when I make biscuits, pancakes, or muffins. If we run out of drinking milk altogether, I can mix up a pint or two of powdered milk to tide us over until I shop next Monday. The slightly sour taste is undetectable once baked into something. I thaw a container as needed, then come up with ways to finish it off within a day or two. 

Gas prices this week

I drove to the pharmacy to pick up my daughter's rx, but otherwise didn't drive this week. My daughters and husband drove a little bit. We've been coasting on the gas we bought driving home from Arizona. I expect we'll need a tank of gas this next week. With 4 people sharing one car, we rotate between who pays for the gas. It will be one of my daughters' turn this next time for gas. The lowest octane unleaded in my town is priced between $5.10 and $5.70 per gallon. If I'm willing to drive a little out of my way, I could get gas for $4.95 per gallon. I would only save about $1.82 on 13 gallons (our tank holds about 14.5 gallons) by driving to the next town north. That savings would be eaten up in less than 10 miles of town driving. I mapquest-ed the drive to one of the low price gas stations in the town north, and found the station was about 5 miles from our house. If I'm driving in that direction to run errands, then it would be a savings to get gas in that town. Otherwise, it makes more sense to buy gas at the least expensive station that is on my errand route. 

That's my shopping and gas for the week. Not a whole lot in either category. How about your area? Are you thinking of stocking up for fall and winter holiday baking yet? Or does that sort of shopping feel too soon for you? Are there any foods with imported origins that you've seen price increases on or that you anticipate price increases in the coming months? What's the price on gas in your area?



12 comments:

  1. Huge dilemma on this one. I did a major stock up when we hit covid 2 years ago. I have been using some of this stash but there's a lot remaining. Along with that comes the expiration dates. And with that comes my shrinking family size again. During covid we started with 4 adults, then down to 3 adults and now down to 2. I still have several bags of frozen chocolate chips and frozen flour. In the stash I have cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and lots of things for baking. Along with that I still have cans of soup, cans of veggies, vinegar, soy sauce, and a lot of other things. I've decided to just add more canned veggies but not much else. I'm pretty good at making something out of very little so hopefully this is the right decision.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like you have quite a stockpile still. I know. It's hard to know if I should buy more of some things or just wait and see what we need, when we need it. I can relate, being able to make a meal out of what looks like just a little.
      Have a great rest of your evening, Alice.

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  2. Lili, hope you get to feeling better very quickly!

    Gas is running about $4.80 here in a "cheap" state (OK). We have a loyalty card that takes .07 a gallon off. Just saw that our city plans to add a 15% utility tax as well as raise sales tax by 4% and those numbers about blew my mind. This comes on top of continued price hikes every single year for less and less service (water, trash, and sewers are all through the city). We had solar put in this spring and it's been up and running for just over a month now, so I'm hoping some of our electric savings will help at least mitigate some of the increased utility costs elsewhere.

    As for food, I think about it, a lot. Trying to grow more on our little lot and also plan to grow more. We have three beds from which we'll harvesting potatoes over the next few weeks, so I want to be sure and get those replanted quickly. Beans, for sure, to can as green beans, but also planning to experiment with growing dry beans as a protein source. Working on planting more perennial edibles every year. Purchased food--trying to be sure and have plenty of ingredients on hand such as flour for my gluten-eating family, other GF flours for me (more expensive but at least I don't use them on the same scale), yeast, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil, etc... . Coffee is already rising in price, but I try to stay a little ahead on it. I'm sure meat will continue to climb as both grains and fuels are, plus add in all the droughts. A friend not far west of me is having to make decisions as to selling their beef herd. Hay is going up IF you can find any. So many states in drought right now. We buy most meat locally, and I will say that prices for that have not jumped as quickly as those at the grocery store.

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    1. Oops! Realized I put $4.80 on the gas. I've had a migraine today so I'll use that as an excuse, but it should have been $3.80, though it's edging up and down from almost $4.00 some days.

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    2. Hi Cat,
      Having a climate where you can get multiple harvests in one year from the same spot must be a big help in your gardening goals. What can you grow in the heat of summer? I've wanted to experiment with growing beans for dried beans. Good luck with that if you try them.
      That's interesting about meat prices local ranchers vs. big commercial operations. I would have thought it would be just the opposite, that large operations could swallow some of the increasing costs, whereas local growers wouldn't have as much flexibility.

      Good luck to you with your goals, Cat!

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  3. I'm not sure it matters whether you call your illness COVID or a cold, but the home tests aren't too accurate if you get a negative result because they were titered for the original strain. A positive result is probably accurate. We have had several people at work who have either had COVID or had family members who tested positive for COVID and the doctors have told them to test every day for a week. In more than one case, it eventually showed up positive. The home kits are being given out many places for free around here, so it is easy to get them. Anyway, I hope the fatigue lifts soon. That's no fun.

    At Costco, the cheapest place around, the gas was $4.44 last weekend. Other places, it's running 20-50 cents more than that. When we were in central PA a week ago, it was $4.69 everywhere. They must control the prices more because I'm used to every street corner having a different price.

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    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Interesting about repeating the home tests for many days. We've been using the taxpayer paid ones that you get through the mail. We just got another batch in today's mail.
      Thanks. I hope to get back to normal soon. I'm also tired from our trip in early May. I didn't sleep well for a week, and I did more of the driving than I usually do, which also tired me a lot. Plus it's just been stressful all around for a while, and that will wipe me out. I just keep trying to take care of myself.
      Yeah, Costco is the least expensive place for gas around here, too. If we drove more, a membership might be worth it for the gas savings.
      Enjoy the rest of your evening, Live and Learn.

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  4. I found free tests at the Sno-Isle library lobby.

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    1. Thank you. Another friend also said they had them at the library. If we need more, I'll be checking there, too. thanks!

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  5. No worries about not responding to comments. It's most important that you take care of yourself. Hope you feel better soon.

    I've noticed the chocolate chip prices have risen quite a bit at Aldi. I wasn't aware that there could be a chocolate shortage--you're right, priorities! I'd better stock up!

    I took advantage of a lot of Memorial Day sales during my shopping trip this week. The best purchase was ground beef at $1.99/pound, sold in 3# packages. My husband went back and got more. We do like our summer burgers!

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    1. Hi Kris,
      That's a great price on ground beef! You'll have lots of fun barbecues this summer, for sure.
      Yep. Priorities -- need that chocolate or cocoa.
      Have a good rest of your evening, Kris.

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  6. Lili, hope you feel better soon. I've always caught colds during or after a trip.

    Yesterday we filled up gas at Costco $4,94/gallon. We are planning to grow a few vegetables again, since produce prices are more expensive than meat these days. Bought garden soil on sale at Home Depot since we haven't composted in a while. Our grandson has a dog that likes to dig deep holes in the ground. I'm thinking of building a composter separate from the garden area.

    The new subvariant of omicron is more contagious than previous subvariants. Coupled with shortages resulting from the war, I think there will be much higher prices and severe shortages on some basic staples,, so I will keep stockpiling when the price is right.

    Take care,
    Laura

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