Sorry to those expecting a craft post, or a light hearted picture post today. I try to keep this blog true to where I am in life, what makes me happy, and sometimes, what concerns me.
For lately I can't help but feel worried at the quickening pace the cost of living has taken. On a steady climb the past few years, it feels as if we have suddenly veered off onto a steep walking track, where the incline is unlike any that our present generation has experienced, heading into the direction of the unknown.
Supermarket prices have been steadily climbing. As has petrol. But it is the electricity costs, and just how much it has jumped up this financial year that is especially a cause for concern. Because we all know, that like petrol, it too will be passed on through the entire chain.
Several years ago now, I used to buy all our bread, laundry powder, paper towels, toilet cleaner, surface spray, nappies, tissues, several types of cereals, cordial, salad in bags, packaged biscuits and flavoured tubs of yoghurt. It's been a long time since I've regularly bought those things, and yet I've never seen our grocery bill climb so high.
We have solar hot water and yet our electricity bill is double what it was when we first lived in this house three years ago.
I worry about what this will mean for us in the next few years. I worry about those less fortunate than us that are already struggling to make ends meet.
So what can we do? I've been asking myself this lately.
We already live fairly simply. With a fair sized vegie garden, though not very productive at this time of year, and with fruit trees that are yet to produce, the latter is more of a long term project at this point in time.
I buy bulk flour, from which I make most of our bread, pastry and other baked goods. I make my own laundry powder and clean with vinegar, bicarb soda and eucalyptus oil. We use cloth nappies, use handkerchiefs instead of tissues and use cloth napkins. All of which makes a definite difference in our grocery bill. And yet we are still spending more than ever before.
Local food is not really an option, except for meat. There are no local commercial growers, no local dairies, no local fruit shop.
It is true that I like to buy better quality ingredients, and organically when I can, as I believe cheap, inferior food will cost us in other ways. But it concerns me that this is not an option for many, and for our family, for how much longer? Will our remaining quality producers struggle to survive?
Personally, we have discussed going off the grid. We've talked about buying a cow, keeping a pig, ducks and chickens. We know we need to install a greenhouse so we can plant things like tomatoes in now instead of November. We know we need to drive less. There are so many options to consider. Some small, but some requiring substantial amounts of investment.
Have these things been on your mind lately? What are your thoughts? Ideas?