Monday, October 22, 2012

Trickle Down Potato Prosperity

Click to enlarge.

The Fed will not tolerate extended deflation. That means...

If real apparel prices fall as we move our textile jobs overseas, then the real price of something else must rise to take its place.

Feeling prosperous?

This post was inspired by the comments found here.

Source Data:
BLS: CPI Database
St. Louis Fed: CPI


Stagflationary Mark said...

As seen in the chart, real potato prices have been relatively flat since the beginning of the Great Recession.

Woohoo. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Put another way, we are currently below the average from December of 2007 to September of 2012.

How long we stay here is anyone's guess.

TJandTheBear said...

You're telling me you spend about $5.50 a day on food for *two* of you? I spend more than that on one dog!

Stagflationary Mark said...


I was stating my share of our food budget at home plus what I have spent at restaurants (both for myself and on behalf of others). That total was $2,097 over the past 12 months ($226 of it was in restaurants). I didn't have the exact number earlier because I was surfing on my PS3.

Lucky dog! I spend far less than you do on dog food. It's in the neighborhood of 50 cents per day. It's the salmon and sweet potato dog food from Costco.

That said, I did spend more overall on my dog this year than I spent on food.


She had a tooth knocked out when we were playing with the laser pointer recently *and* she also had a growth removed from her neck back in January. Expensive year!

TJandTheBear said...

We do reasonably well and she's our only "kid" so she eats better than most. Let's not EVEN talk medical.

We have old cars, old furniture, rent a smaller condo, etc.; food's the only luxury we really allow ourselves. I suspect I average about 3x your annual expense.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Just because I was curious...

The dog food bag is 15,870 grams.

Honey eats 270 grams per day.

The bag therefore has 58.8 days of food in it. It costs $36.89 with tax.

That's 63 cents per day.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Ounce for ounce, our half pound bird Birdie cleans up in this household.

In dollars, I'd be surprised if she didn't eat at least as much food as our 50 pound dog Honey.

All I can say is this. If Birdie weighed as much as I did and her eating habits scaled, I don't think I'd have the nest egg to support her, lol.

The person that thought up this idiom clearly had no idea just how much food birds eat. Granted, much of it ends up at the bottom of the cage.

Stagflationary Mark said...

We went out for a meal, but she ate like a bird and hardly said a word.

I don't doubt it. She wasn't talking because she was too busy flinging food all over the restaurant, lol.

Seriously. Birds are very messy eaters. I suspect it is some sort of survival instinct. Eat fast. Get to the good parts. Move on before something else eats you.

TJandTheBear said...

Our 90 pound shepherd's kibble is J/D, which runs about 2x yours. However, we top that with meat, poultry or fish -- different every day. Outside the kibble, she doesn't eat anything I wouldn't.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I must admit that Honey is able to eat many things we would. She has a particular way of laying her head down on the couch and looking deep within my girlfriend's eyes.

Perhaps the true cost of her food exceeds 70 cents per day due to the effect. ;)

TJandTheBear said...

What? The wife doesn't give you those eyes and say "I'd really like a night out at Morton's"? ;-)

Stagflationary Mark said...


"The wife" of 18 months left me over a decade ago. She did not master the eye trick, although she did have a fairly formidable hate glare, lol. Gallows humor.

"The girlfriend" of 10+ years is currently playing Borderlands 2. She too has not mastered the eye trick. Hold on. Maybe she has. I'm typing while she's playing video games? How did that happen? Hahaha!

In all seriousness, it's NyQuil. I'm feeling pretty run-down right now. I'd be playing with her but Borderlands 2 requires concentration skills (especially in split-screen cooperative mode). Sigh.

AllanF said...

We (and by we I mean she ;-) cook virtually all our own meals, from scratch, and still spend around $1000/month for 2 adults and 3 kids age 8/5/2. And we throw away very little food.

I used to complain, back a few years ago when it was "only" $600-700/month and there were less mouths, and our staples of beef, eggs, and milk were 20-30% cheaper. She explained I wouldn't like eating what we'd have to eat for $500/month. I decided she's right. Life is too short to eat miserably. I like meat & eggs & dairy.

Though when I think about it every so often, I think I might be being set up as the fall-guy. I try to bring my own lunch, which when I do, it costs about $2 vs. buying out which costs $6.5 for practically the same thing: sauted meat over rice. When I cook lunch I use gr beef, when the restaurant cooks it, they use sliced top sirloin. I usually cook 4 days worth on Sunday and then store it in the fridge at work. The containers I use aren't big enough for 5 full lunches, so I end up eating out once a week, when there's not a holiday or some-such, which is frequent enough. Plus I skip breakfast except for a couple tablespoons of heavy cream in hot tea. That costs about 50 cents a day, more on weekends because I drink more coffee with more cream in it.

So, breakfast and lunch for me is not more than $20/wk. If dinner is three times as much, that's still $80/wk or about $350/month. That's about twice what you are at, Mark, but still a long way from $1000. Ergo, I think it's the munchkins. They eat three squares plus snacks it seems twice/day, drives me nuts. But I draw the line at liquid calories. They only get milk at two meals a day and water for all the rest.

TJandTheBear said...


My "wife" is technically a 26-year GF, so forgive the expression.

I've been holding off on B2 as I wanted to get some things done before having my life utterly consumed again. ;-)

Stagflationary Mark said...


That's just it. I don't think I am eating miserably. I too like meat & eggs & dairy.

Eggs are roughly 12 cents each (Sam's Club). I can eat a lot of eggs if conditions warrant. Perhaps not quite to the level of Cool Hand Luke though, lol.

My freezer is full of London Broil ($2.49 per pound sale at Safeway if memory serves).

As for dairy, I love cheese but I don't require the expensive brands. String cheese? Shredded cheddar? American? It's all good. Every now and then I'll splurge on some Swiss.

One other item I have splurged on lately is Almond milk. It's a nice change but runs a bit more expensive than regular milk.

In general, I'm just not all that particular I guess. I think my favorite meal is probably just boneless skinless chicken (about $2.20 per pound at Costco) mixed in with white rice (ultra cheap), although my girlfriend makes a dish called Country Captain that really works for me (adds in additional tomatoes among other things).

It's all relative I guess. There is a trade off between great food and free time. Some value the former greatly. I tend to value the latter greatly. To each his own. There is no one answer for everyone.

I would be the first to admit that if this economy and/or my nest egg could support money flowing out of every orifice then my food preferences would change for the better. Probably not going to happen, lol. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Some might argue that B12 would help cure a B2 deficiency, but I'm not one of them. ;)

Troy said...

Heh I'm house sitting this week so I can get a clean estimate of my food costs -- for two weeks actually.

I hit Trader Joes yesterday and for $100 I think I have the fixin's for 2 weeks. $7 a day . . . Ouch.

Good news is I've got use of the house's Nissan Leaf. It may only have a radius of 40 miles, but it's pretty frickin futuristic to be able to run around this place without burning Dino juice.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Oh, man.

You weren't tempted by the potato sale at Safeway this week (10 pound bag for $1.99)?

$100 could have gotten you 500 pounds, lol. ;)

Anonymous said...

I believe the point about the price list, leaving Safeway and cherry picking sales prices aside, is the amount of damage that has been imposed since late 2008, on normal consumers in order to prop up nominal house prices, stock prices and just about everything as the list implies. This has been great for the gangster element in our beloved FIRE economy, but has smashed the average consumer. A small price to pay, I suppose for the enrichments of the major contributors to political campaigns!!

Just substitute inflation for Calgon above and no, I didn't know Uncle Ben was a cross dresser either :).

Stagflationary Mark said...


It is my belief that the damage has been inflicted for decades (trade deficit, excessive debt, outsourcing). We just didn't notice it until the last straw was placed on the back. Sigh.