Prices Are Rising, I’m Starting To Get a Little Freaked Out

A couple of months ago, Mrs. Money very succinctly put into words some of the fears I’ve had in her post Is Hyperinflation Imminent for the U.S.?

The past ten days hasn’t helped a bit. I keep feeling this underlying anxiety.  Gas prices are rising in leaps and bounds. Ten days ago I was able to get gasoline at Costco in Tempe for $2.95 a gallon, while closer to where I live it was $3.15.  Last night I needed gas again and it was $3.12/gallon at Costco, but $3.25 elsewhere.

I eat a lot of vegetables, and no stores seem to have them on sale. Even the grocery stores which typically have better prices on vegetables have insane prices.  I love zucchini squash. I went to three stores trying to find some good prices on vegetables. All three of them had zucchini squash priced at $2.29/pound. I don’t know if I can eat zucchini squash that costs that much a pound!  I went to Sprouts as they usually have good prices on vegetables. I found cauliflower, smallish heads for 4 for $5. I bought four, and that was all I could bring myself to buy.  Next I went to one of the Ranch Market stores, which cater mostly to the Hispanic people in the area.  I was in awe at the prices.  $1.99 for a head of iceberg lettuce.  $1.99 for a stalk of celery.  I’m accustomed to getting iceberg lettuce for no more than $1.29 a head, and usually $0.79 or $0.99.  They did have cucumbers on sale 4 for $1, which was an amazing price.  I bought a few jalapeno peppers which were $0.79/pound and they have chayote squash 3 pounds for $1 so I bought three. I don’t really care much for chayote squash, but I guess if the choice is eat that, nothing or buy zucchini at $2.29/pound, then I’m going to have to figure out how to prepare chayote squash so that it tastes good.

After that I decided to stop at Costco, and I braced myself for the worst.  I felt a little less stressed out when I saw that the prices actually had not gone up since I was there shopping last week.

  • Huge bag of spinach was still $3.79 (I think it’s four pounds worth)
  • Six romaine lettuce hearts still $2.99
  • The 24 ounces of fresh mushrooms?  Still $3.99.
  • Hamburger was $2.69/pound, which Mr. A said I should go ahead and get as he had not seen much better on sale at any of the other stores.
  • Avocados, still $5.99 for five
  • Onions.  Beautiful, large brown onions, still $3.99 for ten pounds
  • 5 pounds organic frozen green beans, still $5.99

And I splurged and bought a case of mangoes which were $7.99 for nine of them. I decided to also get a roasted chicken, they are still $4.99.

I expect the prices will go up by next week. It helped me to feel less anxious to see that Costco hadn’t yet raised the price on anything I typically buy from them. I’m sure that’s because they haven’t gotten the next shipment.

I did read that the high cost of vegetables is being blamed solely on the recent freezing weather. They expect prices to double, even triple until the spring crops in Mexico begin to produce.

This makes me think of my garden… I do have a few things growing out there right now. Swiss chard, collard greens (never have grown them before, and never had them fresh from the garden), romaine lettuce and cabbage.  But none of it is doing well. I’m guessing due to the very cold and freezing weather we’ve had.  Everything out there is frost resistant, but of course it grows slowly when it’s very cold. And unfortunately, I’ve already seen two or three Round Tailed Ground Squirrels out and about so I expect any minute they will find the contents of my garden and pillage and ruin every plant in there. It is very discouraging. Not to mention before we know it, it will be 115°F out and nothing survives in that heat.

Lettuce grows rather quickly once it germinates… I just wish we could find some way to keep the poor starving critters out of my garden!!

Here’s what can be planted right now in my neck of the woods in Arizona (the “T” means you need to transplant seedlings, the rest can be planted from seed):

  • Artichokes, Globe T
  • Artichokes, Jerusalem T
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce, Leaf T
  • Melons, Cantaloupe
  • Melons, Muskmelon
  • Melons, Watermelon
  • Mustard
  • Onions, Green
  • Peppers T
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Squash, Summer
  • Sunflower
  • Tomatoes T
  • Turnips

Radishes can be ready to eat within 21 days of germination… maybe I should plant a boatload of radishes… I have many of the seeds I listed stored in my fridge.

I would go out there tomorrow morning at 5am and work the whole garden if I thought I could enjoy the harvest in two months. It is just discouraging to know that it will all be eaten and ruined by desert beasts.

Maybe they forgot how to get into the garden over the winter…

Are you seeing prices shooting up in your area?  Does it concern you?

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27 comments to Prices Are Rising, I’m Starting To Get a Little Freaked Out

  • Linda

    there is a new food program they have at my church in Phoenix. Central avenue and Rose Lane. (Church for the Nations) On Saturday Feb 26th from 10 am until 12 noon for a $10 dollar donation you can get up to 60 pounds of fresh vegs. I think they are different every month. I got a ton of zuchini, yellow squash, spagetti squash, grape tomatoes, egg plant, orange peppers. I prepared and froze most of it except the egg plant and the spagetti squash. It is for anyone, you don’t have to qualify.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Linda, thank you very much for sharing this information with me. I am planning to take advantage of the vegetable box. Thank you again for telling me about it.

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  • Well, if hyperinflation does come, at least I know I’ll be calling you for vegetables! Having your own garden is a great hedge. At least you know you’ll never starve.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Mr Credit Card, I’ll be happy to share, if the desert critters don’t eat everything down to nubs first! That is one thing that makes me nervous because I can plant hundreds of seeds but if I can’t keep those rodents out of my garden then no vegetables for the humans. I do also know of a few weeds that are edible around here, granted there are not many during the heat of summer, but as you say at least we won’t completely starve to death.

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  • You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    No, seriously, the worst part about price inflation is food is that it is driven primarily by shortage. Make the most of everything this year, because due to droughts it is expected that many millions of people may go without anything to eat.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @JT, thanks, but uh… you’re not helping me feel any better. I hope it doesn’t get too grim, and I hope the small food stash we have will help us make it through the lean months. I guess I’ve heard too many Depression era stories not to worry that it could really happen again.

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  • TaJ

    It’s basically inevitable that food prices will rise this year. It’s basically a perfect storm – everything that could raise food prices is happening at once. Population growth, weather effects, hoarding because people remember 2008, monetary inflation – plus commodity effects, like choosing to plant crops for ethanol production or grow cotton because you make more money doing that.

    It’s not traditional hyperinflation. There are real, physical reasons food prices will go up that have nothing to do with anything money-related. Though the Fed’s actions certainly aren’t helping.

    I have to admit I’m happy to live in North Florida, where (barring weird cold snaps) the growing season never really stops.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @TaJ, you are lucky! There are some things we can grow year round here in Arizona, but the extreme summer heat really puts a limit on what will survive.

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  • Since we can grow own vegetables, we frequent farmer’s markets. It is better produce for less.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @krantcents, I really like going to farmer’s markets, but there are none close to me. The nearest one is 16 miles away. At least it’s on the weekend. I know of a couple others that are 25 miles away in a different direction, but they are on weekdays when I’m in the big city at work! I agree that farmer’s market produce is usually better. One thing that kind of annoys me is it isn’t always local produce. For example, one vegetable stand that we know of sells pineapples and coconuts and bananas. I don’t think we grow those here in Arizona. And when the vegetables are truly local, they cost 3 times what it does from the grocery store.

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  • I had not thought about this. BUT I was driving my daughter to school and I thought, wow I need gas. No problem, it had been $2.98 the night before. But when I got to the gas station it was $3.13- a 15 cent hike overnight!!

    Wowza!

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Sandy @ Journey To Our Home, thankfully gas prices have remained steady for the past week. I’m sure they will go up though and I am bracing myself. And I’m buying my gas from Costco, and using my AMEX card to get 3% cash rewards back!

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    Sandy Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability, Unfortunately our gas prices have been really crazy. It went up to the $3.13, then a few days later it was back down to $3.05 and then overnight again it shot up to $3.26 where we currently sit.
    INSANE!! Make the gas rollercoast stop for the midwest!!

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  • I’m noticing the same thing here in Southern California – pitiful looking produce at expensive prices. And our gas has gone up quite a bit too, averaging $3.55/gallon for the lowest grade (I’m guessing I’ll be riding my bike more pretty soon). Hopefully as things warm up the veggie prices will come back down to more reasonable prices. Good thing I don’t eat too many veggies. ;)

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Little House, my boss expressed the same complaint. Pitiful looking vegetables for three times the regular cost! Like small heads of lettuce for $2.29 a head! I really can’t do much bike riding, not with a 100 mile round trip commute and 16 miles from the nearest grocery store! I’m not that athletic!

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  • Mrs. A, suggest New Zealand Spinach as a heat loving green. I planted some last season by mistake in a shady spot on the south side of the house, and it went nuts! I also ordered Slobolt lettuce to try and see how it does.
    I went out for a good look yesterday in our backyard to see what survived the 2-ft snows, and surprise, the parsley was doing well, as was the kale. Some of the salad greens that re-seeded are also sprouting up in the 4×4 bed.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @101 Centavos, I believe I have bought seeds for that variety of spinach, but I do not recall actually planting it. How cool that you have some surviving green stuff in your garden!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @101 Centavos, I believe I have seeds for that spinach but I don’t recall actually planting it. How cool that you still have some green in your garden in spite of the snow!

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    101 Centavos Reply:

    Boy, you can say that again! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…) :-)

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @101 Centavos, very funny! Stupid WordPress told me my comment was not submitted so I did a second comment. Good thing I wrote the second comment similarly, eh? :-)

  • I suspect higher gas prices will be head our way very soon. That $3.25 a gallon might seem like a deal!

    Funny (or not, maybe), I have this memory of walking by a gas station back in 1994/1995, seeing gas at $0.91 per gallon. It sure has outpaced inflation since then.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Squirrelers, I remember those prices, too. I think you’re right, I hear gas may go up to $5/gallon by summer. I sure hope not. If it does, I will probably ask for permission to work from home one more day a week, thus going in only 2 days a week. That’s still going to set me back 11 gallons a week in gasoline, but would help out a little bit financially.

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    Amanda L Grossman Reply:

    There is a gas station that shut down from my teen years in my hometown…and it’s gas price is still at $1.21!!!!! What a deal.

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  • Hi there! I am a new reader to your blog and I am greatly enjoying your articles; You write very well and have good ideas and thoughts!

    I live in Central IL and I come from a long line of “canners” (as in, canning fruits and veggies) :)

    Every summer, my Dad gets my Mom and I a truckbed full of sweet corn from a farmer friend of his (at no cost!. Mom and I cut it off of the cob, cook it, and freeze it in bags. It is so good in the winter (my kids and hubby just love it), and if you were closer, I’d share some with you!!!

    Every fall, I use my pressure cannner to put up large amounts of green beans, carrots, tomatoes, tomato juice, and whatever else I can safely pressure can. This helps alot with food costs come winter. Sometimes, if I get some apples on sale, or for free (from someone’s tree), then I’ll make applesauce.

    These are just a few of the ways I try to save money on food. But, I am totally with you on the love of fresh veggies. I’d LOVE to be able to go to the store and buy some yummy items and not have to “break my food budget” to do so!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @A.Marie, I have done very little canning. My mom also did a very little canning when I was a youngster. I have the supplies, but not much room for storage. I was trying to do some dehydrating but got discouraged because the sealer that my boss gave me stopped working. It was frustrating me so badly that I lost all interest. Thanks for visiting and commenting! :-)

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  • [...] Accountability is getting worried about the looming increases in prices across the board. With gasoline at $3.15 a gallon and rising, you can be sure everything that has [...]

  • [...] of Debt Again with Prices Are Rising, I’m Starting To Get a Little Freaked Out. A common theme these past few days is that inflation is here! Gas is up, groceries are up, [...]

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