Wed. July 7, 2021 – inflation, not just for grades and resume’s

Maybe a little cooler, still rain in the forecast though. Yesterday was a mixed bag of rain, sun, overcast, and sticky heat. Today probably will be too.

Spent part of yesterday doing an auction pickup. This was entirely books about my non-prepping hobby, so a pure waste of time :-p Took youngest, and stopped for a lesson in what I do for a living. Got her a nice piece of fabric in a cheetah print, which she loves, and we’ll use in a craft project. FWIW, thrift stores are a great place to get fabric very cheaply. Every one I frequent has draperies, linens, and other fabric, perfect for small projects, or big.

Then home to puppy love, yard care, cleaning, shopping for groceries, and cooking dinner.

I went to the HEB store near my house or what we call the “little” HEB. It doesn’t have the selection or the quality of the “big” HEB store in the better neighborhood, but it’s been getting better since we moved here. Some stuff I don’t want to get better. Corporate sends prime grade meat there, and it doesn’t sell, so when I’m lucky I get to buy it cheap!

I have some observations.

There were still gaps on the shelves. The staff was blitzing the aisles, facing product and cleaning up stock, but there were still gaps. Many products had reduced shelf space, or they were only one unit deep on the shelf. Some stuff is still in limited varieties, where there would have been more choices before- canned veg is the best ongoing example. Staples are there, but some of the tasty combinations aren’t. Ice cream flavors are reduced. Charmin red was on the shelf, but no blue, and not much red for that matter. No frozen chicken in the ready to eat section. I haven’t seen anything but wings in months.

Eggs were the weirdest thing. They normally have a whole cooler full of one dozen cartons, all different “special” kinds of eggs, one cooler with plain HEB branded eggs in different cartons, and one cooler of bulk cartons. The “special” eggs were half the normal display, and the HEB eggs were only available in 36 egg cartons. Two full coolers of 36 egg packaging, and severely reduced choices for the rest.

Soda was still hit or miss, with more flavors in stock but open shelves too. Diet ginger ale was back and several flavors of Dr Pepper. On the other side of the store, the apple display was 1/3 or less what it normally is. Avocados were crazy money. Potatoes and onions were there, but with reduced choices. Green beans and asparagus were horrible quality. Locally grown corn on the cob was only 6/$1 though.

On the other hand, HEB shelf coupons for in-store deals were back. Rice and potato box sides were on sale this month. I bought some of both. Pasta was BOGO, so I got another 10 pounds. They had a loss leader deal on meat- half off some cuts if you bought $10 of other stuff, limit two packages. I bought select grade ribeye steaks for <$6/pound. (We ate half of them for dinner, and they were delicious, far better than select usually is. The rest got vac sealed and frozen.) Milk, cream, fresh veg, and fruit rounded out my cart. For the first time ever they had marked down milk (for short time) in the cooler. It was the pricey organic gallons, 2 days left on 'sell by' and a dollar a gallon cheaper than regular whole milk. I've never seen that before. Through some luck and smart shopping I spent $250 but saved $68 on the cart. That's better than I used to do, when I averaged a 12-15% savings on the cart. The meat and pasta were the biggest contributors to the savings. It was nice to see discounts again. Prices for some things are definitely up. Lays potato chips used to be $2.50 a bag, they were $2.85 and the bags seem smaller. Canned veg was up slightly, meat has been way up in general, although I still paid the 24c/oz I've been paying for house brand thick sliced bacon. It's the best deal in the meat section. The breakfast sausages the kids like are up about 10%, and they never go on sale anymore. I didn't see any spiral sliced hams in the cooler, just like I didn't see them at costco last visit. Turkey was still the $1.28/lb it's been for 3 years (for their house brand whole frozen birds.) It's nice that coupons and deals are back, because prices are higher in general. This article is worth the read.

America stockpiles: Supermarkets buy up to 25% more supplies as they predict inflation will soar and cost of essentials like bacon and milk rising by up to 14%

Supermarkets are trying to protect their profits amid higher costs
Shoppers are buying more with grocery sales up 15% in June compared to last year, leaving shelves depleted
Food prices are surging as inflation rises to its highest level in 13 years
Associated Wholesale Grocers is buying 15 to 20% more goods while SpartanNash up to 25% more stock including frozen meat
Consumer price index for grocery store and supermarket food purchases was up 0.7 percent in May compared to May of last year

Food is pretty important. In general, I’m seeing higher prices, limited choices, unusual brands and suppliers, and I’ve been either skipping purchasing an item, or buying something that wasn’t my preference. I expect this to continue and worsen.

Save money where you can, you’ll need it elsewhere. If you see something you need or want, buy it now because it might not be available later. Get used to the idea you might not get your first choice, or be able to just buy something whenever you want to. Prepping and stacking will help with all of that.

Stack it up. Keep it secret, keep it safe.

nick