Controlling costs in inflationary times
The common-sense mantra is “managing a budget keeps your finances under control”.
Good advice for good times: stable job, stable economy, healthy family, and a positive, promising future.
Not so relevant now. In an almost three-year torrent of events our community has been financially torpedoed again and again by Covid-19, illness, job uncertainty and loss, now costs rising due to inflation and supply issues related to the international economic sanctions levied against Russia for its ongoing deadly assaults on Ukraine.
Many of our people are struggling to survive.
I am so sorry for anyone in these difficult financial circumstances through no fault of their own. Wonderful international and local businesses/charities, religious organisation's support and government intervention has stepped up in significant support. Without steady employment, though, it has to be challenging mentally and emotionally to even manage day-to-day routines without the resemblance of a normal working life.
But, we still have that hope of a positive, promising future because it is there.
Empty platitudes, yes, but consider our future against the alternative of shattered refugee lives – with nothing, starting over.
Food costs have gone up
Set a weekly spend level and stick to it. You cannot afford to pay any more – make that your shopping mindset.
Yes, it means cutting back, but it also means making healthier choices.
Spend small, think small
Avoid the aggressive global food marketing – everything is big: Macs, ribs, smoothies, fries, big empty calories.
Eat smaller portions – you don’t need three pieces of meat or fish, two potatoes, 4 cups of mac’n cheese, two cupcakes, cookies, brownies, two servings of ice cream, potato chips, taco chips before/after meals
Eat your smaller plates slowly – you will get used to feeling just as satisfied.
Have fewer meal times: cut back to three meals a day including snacks (or cut out snacks completely).
A smaller you will evolve without you even knowing it!
Think basic foods and avoid processed additives and heavy products. Every time food is processed, packaged and mixed, it has a long shelf life, it costs more.
• Basic oats versus sugary processed higher cost granola – this is one example, there are thousands more
• Basic meat versus highly processed dipped, breaded, fried, mixed or sauced
• Basic ingredients – less than five in a package. Quick, can anyone tell me what all those other so-called food ingredients are?
• Basic water, as opposed to sodas, bottled fizz, mixed drinks, fruit juice diluted with taste enhancers and corn syrup
• Basic taste – without added sugar (bacon, ham, ribs, sausage, chicken, ketchup, really?)
• Basic origins – where did this stuff come from? Why can’t you tell from the label? Distributed by – is not an explanation for raised, processed in the US, for instance. If the country of origin is not clearly marked, beware.
Yes, it may be cheaper but how and where was this meat, fish, produce, raised? What kind of feed, antibiotics, hormones, possible pesticides? Was the processing plant used to process, can, package, clean and routinely inspected?
Think nutrition: are you getting your food’s worth? Protein, carbohydrates, fat and water are necessary for life. For example, 1oz of potato chips cost about the same as 1oz of hamburger, has half the protein and far more calories – not an efficient use of your food budget.
I passionately urge you to review the nutrition data website to figure out what you need for optimum physical and mental functioning every day – you’ll be surprised, or maybe you won’t! See here, https://nutritiondata.self.com/
Cooking in versus takeout versus dining
Cooking in – the most nutritious because you control the selection, the input and the output result. Further, you control the energy sources, the time, the amount of reduced trash, and the feelings of success, but it can be exhausting after a long work day.
Think one, to reduce time and energy costs
• Once-a-week make all meals – involve the family if you can
• One oven day – fill it to the brim for maximum use of that high energy source
• One microwave for five times more energy-efficient heat and serve than the oven – during the work week.
• One cold meal a week: fruit, cheese, canned meats, salad, condiments, bread – no cooking
• One takeout/dining out or none – I’ll leave this as your decision
Home energy breakdown
According to www.SmarterHouse.org, linked at the Belco website and hosted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, household energy use breaks down as follows:
Heating system – 26 per cent
Cooling system – 17 per cent
Water heating – 13 per cent for bathing, cleaning, etc.
Lighting – 10 per cent, lighting your home
Appliances – 14 per cent, food storage, clothes washing and drying, cooking, etc.
Electronics – 7 per cent, home entertainment systems, computers, etc.
Other – 13 per cent, pool pumps, motors, and other miscellaneous devices.
SmarterHouse.org is full of detailed guidance on reducing energy usage – take the time to review their tips!
Resist acquiring anything else for now.
Less is more today. It’s not the stuff that has lasting value, it is you.
All this is overwhelming in one go.
However, it’s an incentive to put your efforts into better living – for yourself and your family – your greatest assets.
The Bermuda Islander Survival Handbook is in process!
Publish date is fall 2022, free in a FlipBook or pdf format. I am looking for tips on survival living of all types – talk to your gramps and grannies. They knew how to cut costs – to the bone.
“Food is body fuel: why eat more than you need?” Martha Myron, October 25, 2021, The Royal Gazette
“Considering a simpler life, Bermuda style”, Martha Harris Myron April 28, 2019, The Royal Gazette
• Martha Harris Myron CPA is an Amazon-published author – The Dawn of New Beginnings: a Back-2-Basics Financial Review to Dramatically Improve Your Lifestyle, the first in series of seven about Bermuda Islander finance and a passionate promoter of financial literacy education for every age. Proceeds from her work in 2022 are donated to the Bermuda Sloop Foundation. Contact email@example.com