Stagflation Survival Tip #1: Stock up

I’ve started doing the research to compile my “stagflation survival guide” I mentioned earlier this week, and while Googling online has yielded no good results, asking a friend of mine who is my father’s age has yielded a good tip: he recommends stocking up on good sales for things you know you use on a regular basis.  He especially mentioned nonperishable grocery items when offered at loss-leader sales, because “the prices feel like they go up before your eyes” during high inflation times.

Of course there are a few catches to this advice:

  • GOOD sale prices.  This requires you to stay on top of current prices around the other stores and do some serious comparison shopping.  With the advent of the internet, this should be easier than it was in the 1970s, but it still takes some work.  Start now and get a feel for what a good price is for items you buy constantly, like canned goods, dry goods, and frozen foods.
  • Regular use.  Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal.  It’s time to cut back on “adventures in cooking” as I like to call my cooking experiments.  A “great deal” isn’t so great when no one in the house will eat it.  (See note below for what to do if this does happen to you)
  • Stock up!  Although my father-in-law has declared there will be no more appliances for gifts for us, his last purchase has proven valuable beyond measure: a large chest freezer.  It didn’t take me long to get that freezer up to half filled, and my goal is to keep it at about two-thirds full at all times, with as many on sale items as I can find.  Also, I was quite lucky my house had a large pantry for canned and dry goods … it’s even bigger than my closet in the bedroom.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a simple share-the-wealth idea that tags along with this tip: if you find a simply killer deal on nonperishable food items, buy a few dollars extra and donate that to your local food bank.  These high grocery prices are truly hurting some folks.  Also, for oopses that happen, clean out your pantry from time to time and take anything you won’t use into the food banks as well.  I heard on NPR just yesterday the food banks are running out of food to give!

Finally, I am seriously thinking of a plan that may help teach the teenager the value of stocking up on nonperishable food when it’s a great sale.  I am thinking of offering him $5 extra per grocery trip for killer sale items that he really does eat and can stock up.  I think he is learning about inflation the hard way, with this grocery budgeting experiment going on now.

Then again, I haven’t lived through a high inflationary period as a purchasing adult either.  I was a kid the last time we had significant inflation (born in 1973), which is why I am asking those who were adults and consumers at that time for advice.  There is going to be a whole lot of us learning about inflation and stagflation over the next couple years, and more importantly, how to survive it with our finances intact!