So, unless you have been living under a very large and heavy rock, you know that the news in the authorized media is, on the whole, less than trustworthy. You also know by now that government press releases have become fiction writing exercises, usually done by the "C" grade students.
For example, we're told there is, for all intents and purposes, zero inflation. Perhaps on some level that's true, but only if you, like our government, refuse to include the numbers from two sectors--food and fuel. Oddly enough, I don't know anyone who doesn't eat, nor do I know anyone who doesn't use fuel of some type. Out here in Realityland, those items count--and they're going up.
At the same time, wages are largely stagnant. At the New Employer, I know that my staff has not had a pay raise in 5 years. While my job gave me a pay increase, the pay is also the same as it was 5 years and 2 guys ago.
Obviously, when combined, these facts make every trip to the grocery store or gas station a new experience in "What do we have to compromise on this time?" For some, it makes the concept of building a pantry appear impossible. How can I buy extra when I can barely afford food for this week?
Like everyone else, I'm looking to save money. Ever heard of Aldi? They're a European grocery chain that has been in the US for some years. Many Americans are prejudiced against them because they don't recognize most of the brand names. How do we know their stuff is any good?
Well, I have experimented with them some. I can tell you that most of their products are just as good as the brands we're used to at a much cheaper price. For example, a gallon of milk, $3.79-3.99 anywhere else in town is $3.03. A bag of chips is $1.19 as opposed to $1.99. They also have the only store-bought bread to rival the old Merita Old Fashioned (thank you so much you union assclowns).
The place is eclectic by American standards. You use a quarter to "unlock" your shopping buggy, and you get it back when you return it all the way up to the store in the stack. Bring your own bags, or they charge you for bags. Bag your own. And no checks or credit cards--cash or debit. Be prepared to wait in line to check out, because they don't have 8 lanes open--the one I shop at only has two lanes and only one is open most of the time. But the place is clean, well stocked and the prices are good.
Daughter has also found a good resource to help you avoid or at least minimize the experimentation I went through. Aldi 101: What to Buy at Aldi is a short course on what's good and what isn't. Use it and let Aldi save you some money you can use for buying that extra food for your pantry.