Well, as with the rest of the world, that reality has hit home at Chez Smiffy, too.
We never were big on shopping, except books. I am a sucker for books. It looks like my commitment to the library will have to be renewed and I will have to get better about getting back there every week. If we do that, it's free. The Friends of the Library sales are an exxcellent resource, too.
New clothes amounts to socks and underwear and one new item when something we've been using falls apart completely. I can't see how we can reduce that further. We have already cut out all the laundry additives and we use about half the detergent recommended, but I guess we could use a cheaper detergent.
We don't use high priced cleansers as a rule, but I plan to see what I can do with more traditional methods, like vinegar and baking soda.
We dilute our shampoo so that a bottle lasts months, and I make my own skin conditioners. Toothpaste is the most expensive part, but I don't see that as optional. Baking soda get teeth clean, but without my sensitive tooth toothpaste, I'd be in agony. I wonder if we could use cheaper soap. Rod and I have equal and opposite skin sensitivities, so soap has always been a challenge.
We are extremely reluctant to scrimp on the quality of food we eat, but we've cut back on the amounts of the expensive stuff. Instead of meat, we mostly use bone broth and we make two sausages feed three of us for a meal and a pound of ground beef makes three meals. We have cut back on the amount of milk we use. We have been mostly baking our own bread since we can make a $6 loaf for pennies by grinding the wheat ourselves.
In the fruit department, we had gone from 'whatever sounds good' to apples and oranges. Now it looks like we'll have to ration those, too. We had been getting whatever vegetables looked good, striving for maximum variety, but it looks like we're going to have to cut way back on that, too. There are still vegetables within our reach, but not much variety until the garden starts bearing. (I have renewed my determination to raise as much as I can this summer and preserve most of it to get us through the next winter.) I hate to cut into Jack's nutrition that way -- but his brothers survived and so will he. In this case, I think it's temporary.
Next comes coffee. Sad isn't it, that coffee comes after vegetables? But I know we can get cheaper coffee. And I can try to cut back on how much I drink.
We had already cut back as far as possible on the medical expenses, and now it's time to cut the vitamins and other supplements. (Again. Those come and go as cash flow allows.)
I used to be so good at this. Time to learn again, I guess. But now, off to work, so we have *some* cash flow to work with. ;)
(BTW, tone doesn't come through well in writing sometimes...this is all pondering options rather than complaining. I have gotten by on far less, so this is an no longer accustomed challenge rather than a complaint.)