Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Price is Wrong

Inflation is rampant this year, and my fixed subsistence income is not keeping pace, despite occasional cost-of-living increases.

Electricity has gone up by 20%, split into two increases this year. Fifty euro of groceries, carefully selected to maximize value for the money, now covers less than two dozen items, enough for a week of very frugal meals (mostly oatmeal). I’ve read that fuel costs have increased greatly, but fortunately I don’t have or need a car, so I haven’t been directly affected by that. I did see a greater-than-usual rent increase this year, however.

I mainly try to save money by eating less. Grocery costs are the one variable that can be adjusted within a substantial range. In addition to oatmeal, I eat a lot of other cheap carbs, such as pound cake, which provide a lot of calories at a low price. Protein, fruits, and vegetables are usually not affordable. It is hardly ideal, especially in view of my health issues, but it beats starvation.

Inflation would be a lot worse if the government were not intervening right and left to subsidize price controls. I don’t know how long that can continue. I’ve read that this is largely due to a war in Ukraine, but I don’t know how true that is.

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