Thursday, August 11, 2022

Adapting to The High Cost of Living

Library of Congress: World War I Poster, 1918. 

The cost of living has increased a great deal this year.  I have noticed it, over the last few months, whenever I am in the supermarket or at the gas station.  This can have a negative effect on families if they do not have creative ideas on how to adjust.  

The number one goal for our finances is to avoid debt as much as possible. If we are free from debt, we can adapt to the changing economy much easier than if we were burdened with loans and monthly payments. Debt hinders our freedom and stifles our ability to function financially.

I want to share some practical ideas and, hopefully, bring encouragement on getting through these difficult days.

Throughout our history, here in the United States, we have had our ups and downs with the economy. We have been through wars, shortages, droughts, natural disasters, epidemics, and The Great Depression.  We have had to adjust to these hardships, learning to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.  

In the illustration above, there is a poster put out by our government to boost morale and help encourage families to manage with what food was most readily available. The poster is from 1918, during World War I.  The image shows a woman serving pancakes, muffins, and grits. The canisters on the table show that these items should be kept in the pantry and used to provide nourishing, affordable food for the family. This type of education was very helpful as people needed to find ways to economize and make the best of what was available.

During World War II, around 1942, the United States issued war ration books.  These were intended to help each citizen buy a proper portion of necessary food while supplies were low. Our family still has three of these books. One belonged to my mother. The other two belonged to my grandparents.  The date listed on them is 1943. The printing on the back encourages citizens with these words:

"Be guided by the rule: If you don't need it, Don't Buy it."

These days, as I am in the supermarket, noticing high prices, I have to make some quick decisions. I am buying things that I do not normally choose. I am also avoiding things we normally enjoy.   For example, we used to buy 3 or 4 dozen eggs each time we shopped.  The price is much too high now.  We are only buying one dozen at a time.  I am baking less, and we are not eating eggs as often as normal.  I will walk by the eggs, or the dairy section, and notice prices I do not like, and I keep looking to find something we can afford. 

At this time, we have some garden produce that is supplementing our grocery spending.  We have fresh sweet peas, lettuce, and cucumbers.  We also have a good amount of fresh blueberries that we are enjoying. I do not can or preserve food, since I don't have the energy; but I enjoy what is seasonally offered from our property. This is one way we are managing to avoid overspending at the supermarket.

The gas prices have come down a little recently, but they seemed to be out of control for a time.  It is still very high, but we have learned to adjust. My budget for gas was $140 each month. I had to reduce this to $100 in order to pay other expenses which had increased.  At first, this was so painful since I could not go out as often as I wanted. I was not able to visit family as much as normal.  We had to reduce our trips to the store, which is difficult especially when we run low on fresh produce that we like to have.  But we are getting by. We are getting through this.

Each day we say our prayers. We ask the Lord to give us our daily bread. We have to trust that He will provide.  Instead of worrying, or panicking, we are practicing contentment. We are finding happiness in other ways. We will not allow ourselves to focus on the worries or uncertainties of the high cost of living.  We will trust our Heavenly Father to provide. We will do the work of being careful, of making changes, of going without.  It is just like the many storms which come through our lives. It will pass. Things will get better. They always do. The Lord blesses us and gives us peace. We keep our focus on Him, just like dear children who trust their Father to protect and care for them. 

We are grateful for the beautiful sunshine, the gentle rain, the delight of snowfall, and the lovely colors of autumn. In all seasons, what we see around us, and through the trials of our lives, we trust that God will provide. He always does.


Mrs. White

From the Archives

Always remember - The House Comes First

Encouragement - How the Old Time Mothers Survived Poverty.

The joy of taking care of grandchildren - I Hear Angels Crying.



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For old time encouragement in living simply on a limited income, order Mrs. White's book:

"An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife"

This slim, 77 page, paperback book is available for sale through Amazon.



Janine said...

We have one of those ration books from our grandparents, too. I like your peaceful attitude about this. Contentment with what we do have. Hard times come and go. I hope you sell a lot of books for some extra cash! I know you don't make much in profit, and then the IRS takes some at tax time, but every penny helps in times like these!

Lillibeth said...

My grandparents lived through almost the entire 20th century: two world wars, a depression, concerning diseases, recessions and bank crisis, and all the other upheavals in our country and the world. In the end they still had their sense of humor! I hope we will all be able to get through these hard times as graciously as we can. Thank you for your encouraging post.

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to remember is your tithe. Many times I hear folks say, "oh, I tithe my time," or "we give money to the college, or the missionaries." ← This is NOT a tithe. It is at least 10% BEFORE taxes. Why? Because you cannot out-give God. Not possible. If you keep up with your tithe, God will always make sure your finances are in order. And remember, He supplies our *needs* not our "wants."

Elizabethd said...

Good morning Mrs White,
Here in England we are horrified by the price rises. It isnt just the odd penny or two, but 10 or 20p. For example, Butter suddenly went from !.75 to £2.00.
We just have to concentrate on what we really need. If we have garden produse it makes life easier.

Jenny said...

My dad was born in 1905 so he lived through most of the major events of the last century. He died when I was 17 so I was too young to think about asking him questions...I wish so much I had. I'd love to know now how they lived through the hard times.

We don't have it nearly as hard as those in the past. There are so many places to get help today that didn't exist yrs ago. We've adjusted our budget & are still pretty much eating like we always have....I still buy 3 to 4 dozen eggs a week but mainly because it's a main food source for my diabetic husband. We just eat eggs..we don't use them in baked foods.

I'm going to check out the links & the book you shared at the end of the post, especially the one on grandchildren because I am blessed to be the main daycare giver of my 4 yr old grandson. I've followed you for awhile but don't really comment. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Patty B said...

Times are indeed a little tough these days. And I fear that a lot of what is happening right now in our country smacks of politics and control. But I know that God takes care of His own. I know that my dear Lord will always give me what I need, and at the right time. We, too, have a garden but even that is not doing so well this year. It is producing "enough", but not overly so and I like to do a lot of canning. I am fortunate to have neighbors who have chickens and I can trade garden produce or favors for eggs. There are lots of ways to save money on preparing meals like old time casseroles or soups or even the eggless-milkless-butterless cakes of the Depression Era. They are quite delicious! I know that everything goes in cycles and this, too, shall pass. There is an old hymn 'God Will Take Care of You' - a good hymn to sing in these times.

Billie Jo said...

Hello! And thank you for the encouragement. Things are so challenging now. I look to you for inspiration, and I get that plus a sense of peace. Have a cozy evening!