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Americans Now Cringe Going To The Grocery Store As Prices Keep Rising

News Image By Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse Blog February 23, 2024
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It seems odd to talk about 2021 as "the good old days", but the truth is that the cost of living was far lower just three short years ago.  Earlier today, I did an interview with Sam Rohrer of Stand In The Gap Today in which we discussed how food prices have gotten wildly out of control.  

One example that I brought up was the fact that a Big Mac "value meal" can cost up to 18 dollars in some parts of the country.  There is no way that I would shell out 18 bucks for a burger, some fries and a drink at McDonald's.  But this is the economic environment that we live in today.

Has your income gone up by more than a thousand dollars a month over the past three years?

If not, you are falling behind.

According to economist Mark Zandi, the average U.S. household is now shelling out an additional $1,019 a month just to purchase the exact same goods and services that it did three years ago...

The typical U.S. household needed to pay $213 more a month in January to purchase the same goods and services it did one year ago because of still-high inflation, according to new calculations from Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

Americans are paying on average $605 more each month compared with the same time two years ago and $1,019 more compared with three years ago, before the inflation crisis began.

In the old days, I actually enjoyed going to the grocery store.

But now it has become such a painful experience.

I am sure that many of you can identify with that statement.


On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published an article that explained that George H.W. Bush was in the White House the last time Americans were spending such a high proportion of their incomes on food...

The last time Americans spent this much of their money on food, George H.W. Bush was in office, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" was in theaters and C+C Music Factory was rocking the Billboard charts.

Do you remember what life was like in 1991?

It was a good year for me, but it was so long ago...

According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans were spending 11.4 percent of their disposable incomes on food in 1991, and in 2022 that figure was sitting at 11.3 percent...

In 1991, U.S. consumers spent 11.4% of their disposable personal income on food, according to data from the U.S. Agriculture Department. At the time, households were still dealing with steep food-price increases following an inflationary period during the 1970s.

More than three decades later, food spending has reattained that level, USDA data shows. In 2022, consumers spent 11.3% of their disposable income on food, according to the most recent USDA data available.

I can already tell what a lot of you will be thinking when you read that.

2022 was two years ago.

Food prices have continued to soar since that time, and so how high would that number be today?

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Americans are now spending 15 percent of their disposable incomes on food.

But if you think that is bad, just wait until it gets into the 30 or 40 percent range eventually.

Because that is where things are heading.


Of course grocery prices are already at absurd levels.  On a very popular Internet forum, one user recently complained that his grocery bill for the week has now hit $250...

$100 used to be the total, when we really stocked up or picked some extras.

Prices started climbing and we trimmed the extras, it hit $120-130.

At $150 we started complaining.

A month ago it hit $180. It may have only been two weeks since we hit $180.

Today it was $250 and we didn't even get everything.

Actually, if you can get out of the grocery store for just $250, you are doing really well.

For many others, a grocery cart full of food can run a lot higher than that.

And major companies are openly warning us that more price hikes are on the way...

Oreo maker Mondelez said in January it would continue raising prices on some of its products this year, largely because of cocoa prices, which earlier in February surged past a 46-year record. Hershey said this month it expects more expensive cocoa to cut into the company's profit this year. Kraft Heinz said inflation is moderating but that its costs are still higher, driven in part by pricier tomatoes and sugar.

Let's talk about the price of cocoa for a moment.

Global supplies of cocoa have gotten very, very tight, and we are being warned that the price of cocoa "could reach as high as $10,000 per ton"...

The commodities analysts said some forecasts suggest the cost of cocoa in New York could reach as high as $10,000 per ton.

What's imminent is the West African cocoa shortage will be felt across supermarkets worldwide.

If you love chocolate, you should try to hoard as much as you can while prices are still relatively low.

I am quite serious about this.

Because chocolate prices are going to accelerate quite rapidly from this point forward.


Sadly, car insurance rates are going up even faster than food prices are...

If you think your food bill is high, take a look at your car insurance.

The average cost of full coverage car insurance increased by 26% to $2,543 in 2024, up $529 from a year earlier, Medora Lee reports. That's six times faster than overall inflation and more than any food item at the grocery store, including eggs, over the past three years.

I honestly don't understand how most people can afford to pay such exorbitant rates.

Just making it from month to month has become such a struggle for tens of millions of Americans.

Needless to say, things are particularly rough for young people that are just starting out in life.

A video in which one young woman complains about how oppressive the cost of living is has already been viewed more than 18 million times...

"Why is it that I have to work 40 hours a week just so I can have a place to live?"

A young woman's TikTok video, in which she makes a now familiar complaint about young people having to spend most of their time working for just a sliver of free time which they then have barely enough money to enjoy, is now going viral.

"40 hours a week makes me $2,000 a month and my rent is $1,660," the woman continued in a video that has amassed 18 million views on Twitter. "So I work 40 hours a week so I can have a 2 bedroom apartment and an extra $300 a month that doesn't cover my phone or my internet or food."

She feels trapped, and I can totally get that.

But what she doesn't understand is that what she is going through right now is the direct result of literally decades of incredibly bad decisions.

Of course many of our politicians want to strangle our economy even more.  For example, Barbara Lee actually wants to increase the minimum wage to 50 dollars an hour...

Despite liberal media cheerleading and Biden's assurances of a strong economy, Americans feel much different. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), a U.S. Senate candidate, complained in a recent debate about the "affordability crisis" in her state. She referred to a survey that showed "$127,000 for a family of four is just barely enough." While she is right about the "affordability crisis" facing Americans, her solution is ludicrous. Lee proposes a minimum wage of $50 per hour.

Such a minimum wage would create massive unemployment as companies would lay off non-essential workers. It would also lead to higher prices for consumers and an even higher inflation rate, which has been a persistent problem during the Biden administration.

Why don't we just raise it to 100 dollars an hour?

Then everyone would be swimming in money, right?

Unfortunately, that is not the way the real world works.

More money is not the answer, and more debt is definitely not the answer.

What we need is a productive economy that makes stuff of real value.

Getting people to consume as much as possible will not lead to anywhere good.

But getting people to produce at a high level will lead to lasting wealth.

The historic debt bubble that we have been enjoying has created an illusion of short-term prosperity, but now it has almost reached an end.

Everyone knows that a crash is coming, and that crash is going to create a tremendous amount of chaos throughout our society.

It appears that Jeff Bezos understands that things are about to change, because he has been selling off tens of millions of Amazon shares...

Jeff Bezos has been busy this month selling a massive amount of Amazon stock.

The Amazon founder and executive chairman's sales have occurred in three separate sales and involved nearly 36 million shares to date, filings submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed.

The shares in the e-commerce giant were collectively worth $6.15 billion after Bezos sold them at a range of prices across six different days.

Why would he do that if he thought that bright days are ahead for the U.S. economy?

It would not make any sense at all.

Of course the truth is that very challenging economic times are in our immediate future.

I understand that things are not good for many of you right now, but it won't be too long before economic conditions become much more harsh than they are at this moment.

Originally published at The Economic Collapse Blog




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