Rising Food Prices

Several news sources have been reporting ongoing food shortages and resulting rising food prices.  In fact, the UN food and agriculture organization just reported that world food prices are at their all time high (since they started tracking prices 20 years ago).3

Unfortunately, home storage is not likely to completely blunt rising prices.  Even if you lived completely on your home storage, you would eventually run out and have to start replacing at the higher prices.  There are several things you can do, however, to maximize your money and utilize your home storage to give you extra savings in these circumstances.

1) Wait for sales.

Having a good  home storage allows you to pay attention to sales and purchase only when items are cheaper than they might be at regular prices.  When you already have a good supply on hand, you can ride the waves and maximize your funds.

Several years ago a bucket of wheat climbed to $25 in our area.  Because I had a good supply of wheat, I didn't need to replace my wheat right away.  In fact, a year or two later, prices dropped down to $14 a bucket which was the lowest I'd seen.  I was able to wait and replace when prices were low.  Here's another example:  I like to buy refried beans when they drop to $.50 a can.  Instead of the normal yearly sales, prices seemed to continue climbing.  I had almost decided that it was time to replace anyway when I noticed an advertisement for $.60 a can.  I paid a bit more, but at least I didn't have to pay the regular price of $1.19.

Now you have to be careful about doing this.  You can get burned by waiting when prices just continue to climb.  I try to keep a minimum amount on hand, replacing those minimums at the higher prices if necessary so that I won't be caught without a good supply of food.

2) Be aware of WHY food prices are rising.

Wheat prices are very volatile.  Disease, drought and/or flood in different parts of the world affect crop prices.  When wheat prices went up several years ago, I was aware that there were some drought-issues affecting wheat prices.  I was fairly confident that these weren't long-term issues, that wheat crops would return to their normal levels and that I could wait to replace the storage that I had used.  In fact the next year was a bumper crop and prices dropped to new lows. 

By the way, there is a usually a delay before rising/lowering prices hit the market, so you may have to wait to see the price changes.  The wheat crop this year has suffered from both drought and flood so prices will be going up in the future.  My neighborhood store, however, still has wheat buckets from last year's inventory and prices are still good.

There is a cascade effect that happens when commodity prices increase.  When wheat prices go up, so do pizza, bread and cereal prices.  Recalls can also affect inventory and pricing.

Knowledge gives you buying power!

3) Maximize your education and skills.

Inflation, unfortunately, is real.  Prices will continue to climb.  One way that you can ensure that you stay on top of rising prices is to maximize your salary potential.  Keep your job skills current.  Get extra education when possible.  Make sure your spouse is doing the same.

Obtaining high levels of education and skills mean in tough times you will be more likely to keep your job and/or find a job.  In two different circumstances, I competed with 70 and 90 other candidates for a job.  I was hired and told afterwards that in both cases I was different than every other applicant because I had two bachelor's degrees in related fields.  Additional education made all the difference in the opportunities presented to me.

Those with the most education usually have the highest paying jobs and often the best job security.4   Make sure you are able to adjust and adapt to a changing world with rising prices by always learning and gaining new skills.

Want some good news?  Rice, milk, and meat prices are down.2   Ice cream prices are also down.1  It's a good time to stock up!

More on the importance of education:

1 - Rising food prices sour Utah families
2 - Food inflation isn't in every grocery aisle
3 - World food prices hit record highs
4 - Education equals job security

1 comment:

Marie said...

Thank you for this post, and for the links to the articles. Lots of good ideas, and it's always nice to have some good news--gotta love ice cream... :)