Living in Society

Price Gouging into 2022


There is too much information about the Russia invasion of Ukraine to process. I had to get out the maps to keep things straight. The Rand McNally is a bit old as it shows Ukraine as part of the U.S.S.R. The atlases are opened to Ukraine on the living room coffee table.

I filled the auto, mowers and gas cans with gasoline yesterday. Price was less than $4 per gallon with a 20 gallon limit at the pump. Based on being retired this should last 4-6 weeks. When I lived in Germany in 1977-1979 I paid roughly $5 per gallon in 1970s dollars.

Food costs are not an issue here because so much of what we eat comes from our garden.

Even though it has been a mild winter, our natural gas bill more than doubled. Big companies (Mediacom, Verizon, Waste Management, Insurance) all took the maximum rate increase allowed.

Because of increased regulations, our sewer plant is passing along an unexpected $100 charge to cover a loan for improvements in our quarterly billing.

Combine all of this and money will be tight in 2022. I wouldn’t call it inflation, though. This is definitely not a “general price increase.” Each element has specific causes. The big companies are gouging us, even though their websites say they aren’t.

We spent an hour talking about finances yesterday. We’ll get by, although we come just short of paying off our credit card bill each month. There have been some recurring winter expenses like servicing the lawn tractor, printing my blog in book format, a Washington Post subscription, and garden seed purchases. The credit card balance has been manageable. The choices for a family are to stay engaged in things — the Russia-Ukraine war, and household finances — or let things (and our family) slide into oblivion.

I’m not prepared to do the latter.