Thursday, September 17, 2009

The rising cost of living

Don't know about you, but I'm being crushed by the alarming increase in my monthly bills -- everything from my taxes and insurance, to utilities, to cable and phone, to groceries. Every time we turn around, it seems, some "provider" is raising its rates or petitioning the state of Florida to be able to do so (hello, FPL -- can you say unmitigated greed?!?). This, combined with the continuing frustration over finding steady employment, has caused a vague sense of dread for me every time I approach my mailbox.

The price inflation is most evident in my weekly grocery bill, which has risen steadily over the years and now sits at about $80-$100 per week just for me. Every time I look, some staple that I buy has gone up -- week by week by week, it seems.

And yet, a story today in the Washington Post reports that grocery chains have actually been lowering prices this past year or so, sometimes even below their cost point. The story says that a steep decline in commodity prices (such as corn) has "helped drive down the grocery consumer price index, which measures what shoppers pay at stores, about 2.5 percent since its peak in November, according to new data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there was an upward blip in energy prices that drove the wider consumer price index up 0.4 percent in August, over the past 12 months overall consumer prices have fallen 1.5 percent. "

Hmmm ... well, tell THAT to my mailbox!!!


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