Inflation Makes Me Want to ……!

Come on everyone, be honest and complete this sentence with me.

Inflation makes me want to

Oh man, inflation is crazy. I know it’s been high since 2021, but the numbers have been off the charts lately. In case you’ve been stuck in a Shanghai-style lockdown, check it out.   

Recently, inflation has been over 8%.

Everything is more expensive these days. Gasoline, groceries, eating out, and travel are just a few things that I’ve been loathing to spend money on. It was a big shock when I came back from spending 3 months in Thailand. This is the highest inflation I’ve experienced in my adult life. It sucks!

Inflation makes me want to …

Okay, here is my answer.

Inflation makes me want to turtle up at home and not spend any money.

Not that we spent a lot of money previously, but high inflation is turning me into a recluse.

Normally, Mrs. RB40 and I enjoy going out to eat at the neighborhood restaurants. There are so many eateries in our area that we haven’t tried them all yet. But eating out seems so much more expensive lately. Inflation is really bringing out my cheapskate instinct.

Eating out

No wow.

We went out to dinner last week and it was $74 including drinks and tips. The food was …good. But at this price, the experience has better WOW me. Regrettably, it didn’t. The food was nice, but I could have made 2 servings of this penne dish at home for about $8. If I can look it up on YouTube and cook it, why should I bother changing out of sweat pants?

The wine was nice, but $10 for a little taste made me wince. I got a huge bottle of Chianti from Trader Joe’s for $11. And my wine glass at home is nicer to boot. This is why I’m turning into a recluse. Eating in is more comfortable, cheaper, and way more pleasant. I don’t even want to go out to dinner anymore unless the food is amazing.

Anyway, the price really affected my experience. I think $50 would have been a fair price for this dinner. Oh, the drinks didn’t cost that much more than last year. I think the margin was high enough on drinks already so they didn’t raise the price much. Just my theory. I never liked paying 10-15 bucks for a drink.

Yes, I’m cheap

Ok, I admit it. I am cheap. Just as I was getting more comfortable with spending money, inflation hit. It is turning me back into a cheapskate. My instinct is to stop spending when things are uncertain. This might be due to growing up poor. My parents only ate out once or twice per year. They were even cheaper than I am. It’s natural for me to revert and turtle up.

These days, the only thing I want to spend money on is growth stocks. They’ve been beaten down so much. If we invest now, we’d be wealthier in the long run.

The stock market looks bad, but this is the best time to buy if you’re young. That’s why you need to keep investing when the stock market is down. Don’t make the same mistake I did during the Dot Com crash. I stopped investing in my 401k for a while and regretted it ever since. Just keep investing and you’ll be way ahead of all your friends in 5 years or so.

Alternatives

As for eating out, I’ve been thinking about what we can do instead. Here is my plan to keep Mrs. RB40 happy.

  • Go out for lunch instead. Lunch is cheaper and we rarely drink when we go to lunch.
  • Ply her with alcohol at dinner. I got that big bottle of Chianti and I’ll pick up some happy sparkly wine for her. That should help her relax.
  • Cook new dishes at home. I’ll look up the menus of local restaurants and try to make some at home. When we go out, I want to try dishes I can’t make.

Alright, cheapo husbands and wives of the world. Do you have any tips for keeping your spouse happy in this high inflationary environment?

Oh, what was your answer? Inflation makes me want to ……! Add your answer to the comment section below.

Real estate investment should do well over the next few years. We still have a housing shortage in the US and people need to live somewhere. Check out CrowdStreet if you want to generate passive income from commercial real estate. It’s way easier than being a landlord.

The following two tabs change content below.
Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

Latest posts by retirebyforty (see all)

Get update via email:
Sign up to receive new articles via email
We hate spam just as much as you

29 thoughts on “Inflation Makes Me Want to ……!”

  1. Bad service and sub par food is keeping me from eating out…just made some piccadillo. My son is skipping his last year of private school to go to the local community college where he’ll earn some college credits and graduate high school. That’s over a 12 k savings!!! I like this PFLT, it has a good dividend if you are into dividend reinvesting and doesn’t fluctuate too much. I’m pretty heavy on individual stocks and when things go up I plan to move monies into PFLT or PEY. PS I don’t drink, my wife does a bit so the wine glass $ doesn’t effect me too much.

    Reply
  2. I agree, Joe. The challenge is when I leave the house, I drop $$$ here in San Francisco. But, if I don’t leave the house and become a recluse, my mental health struggles. I simply like being out and about and around people.

    Reply
  3. If everyone turtles up their spending, then I am pretty sure that the inflation will start decreasing. The rampant inflation being caused now is due to excessive demand, supply chain disruption and massive dollar printing. Now with multiple rate hikes around the corner, if consumers such as yourself also turn defensive then the inflation is bound to come down. But there is bound to be pain in the short and medium term.

    Reply
  4. “It was a big shock when I came back from spending 3 months in Thailand.”

    I think that’s what happens with or without inflation. My whole spending mindset was changed after going to Thailand. Now everything everywhere seems expensive even before inflation hit.

    We are still eating out and although more expensive because I’m partial to Asian food, pho and Chinese food hadn’t really gone up that much in price. I can’t eat Italian food because I have a wheat sensitivity so the inflation in western restaurants doesn’t affect me.

    Have you heard of “too good to go”? It’s useful for getting takeout for cheap & helps the environment by reducing food waste

    Reply
    • Right. Thailand is so much more affordable than the US and Canada.
      The Asian food in Portland has gone up a lot too. A bowl of pho is $15 now. It isn’t cheap anymore.
      I tried too good to go, but they’re mostly junk food. Donuts and that kind of stuff. They never have any meals so I deleted the app.

      Reply
  5. It made me want to quit my job, which I’ve been dissatisfied with for quite some time, because my company was dragging their feet in the mud when it came to compensation increases, not just for inflation but in general over the years. The funny thing is they send out this quarterly survey which was always anonymous in the past, but I noticed the last one didn’t have any fine print about it being anonymous. Anyway, I didn’t hold back my criticisms, and apparently neither did any of my team members, because it came out in a team meeting that 100% of our team responded they were considering leaving in the near future. All of a sudden, people started getting mid-year salary bumps, and our manager was cleared to hire new employees and interns, which we had been requesting unsuccessfully for years. Go figure, when the company finally realizes it’s crisis time, they give in just a little. I’ll probably still quit within a year, but I don’t feel as in a rush given that the extra money is helpful.

    Reply
  6. “Oh, the drinks didn’t cost that much more than last year. I think the margin was high enough on drinks already so they didn’t raise the price much.”

    Yuuuup! Folks have been getting railed on drinks for years, now the restaurants have rising food prices to cover for them.

    I treat inflation like a stock market decline which we’re fortunate enough to have together – but they’re temporary. Your superpower Joe is that you can dial back spending and it’ll probably make you happier. While the average American considers that akin to being tortured.

    Reply
  7. So my initial strategy when inflation was heating up was to take extra care to be fully invested, ie keep the checking account as low as feasible and get money into ibonds and stocks. I thought cash is losing 8%+ per year so keep it at a minimum.

    Of course then stocks dipped almost 20%. Not that I had much cash laying around to begin with as I designate ibonds as my emergency fund, but my timing to cut checking account to the bone was not great.

    I am still working so have time to put money in and hopefully see stocks come back.

    I incorporate kicking and punching a bag 1x per week as part of my normal workout routine, so now I guess my adjustment is that inflation makes me kick and punch a little harder to relieve stress!

    Reply
  8. we just went on vacation and spent the same as always. but…thankfully there weren’t any good dining out options so we cooked fresh fish and steaks at the rental.

    you’re right about growth stocks starting to look attractive right now. most people unfortunately don’t have the stomach to buy until they see those 300-400% gains and have largely missed the boat.

    Reply
  9. Hi here in NZ Petrol prices have gone through the roof. I was planning my retirement this year but the inflation means I have another year of saving now. Looking at jobs near my home n 12hr shifts to cut down traveling from 10 days to 7 thus saving on fuel. Planning a garden, doing own maintenance n yard work, planning in house dinners with friends rather than going out and renting out spare rooms in flat.

    Reply
  10. How am I dealing with inflation?
    Reduce demand.

    I have cut back on my driving by at least 10%.
    Turned the thermostat up to 81 degrees (it’s still quite comfortable in fact).
    Reduced grocery shopping by 10%.
    Cancelled two airplane trips (permanently)
    Cut lawn irrigation from 4 days a week to 3 days.

    Granted, not everyone can do this. But it is easier than you think.

    #Boycott.Tesla.

    Reply
  11. I hear you on it bringing out your cheapskate instinct. I’m already cringing at some of the prices we’ve been seeing since we got back into the States.

    We’re in a pretty unique position though. Since we’ve been back, we’ve been staying at my in-laws’ house. That will result in a couple of months of no rent, utilities, etc. which is super awesome. But then we’re going to be spending quite a bit of $$$ on our road trip starting next week. With the price of gas, I’m sure we’ll be pinching pennies in other aspects of the trip to try to compensate.

    Maybe we should have stayed in Panama for a little longer! ?

    Reply
    • We’re going on a road trip next month and I’m dreading the gas bill. But it’ll still be a lot cheaper than flying.
      Flight tickets to Palm Springs are around $400 each. That’s way higher than previously. They used to be around $150.
      For 3 people, it’s way cheaper to take a road trip.

      Reply
  12. We’ve been going on a spending binge. It’s odd how the prices of some things have gone way up but others haven’t. So now a lot of imported things that seemed too pricey before are less expensive than a pack of organic butter. So our grocery store bill for 4 has gone up, both from things we buy regularly and from things that seemed too pricey before. (We range from $200-$300/week now, for our family of 4. We should probably eat out more, but the options in our town are currently boring).

    We’re going to Europe this summer during a busy tourist season and boy are hotels expensive. I’m not even blinking at $230/night stays (even if the same room would be $99 if we went right now).

    But I’m also investing– my last paycheck for the year will be going entirely into the stock market. After that I’ll have to sit out the market for a few months since I don’t get paid in the summer. DH will still be doing regular retirement contributions but his take-home pay will be going towards expenditures, so nothing extra.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I found that hotels and flight tickets are much more expensive than last year. That’s probably due to demand recovering.
      I was able to get hotels for a great discount last year.
      Have a great time in Europe!

      Reply
  13. interesting that inflation is making you want to hoard and spend less. I agree in terms of purchases it destroys demand, but if you have any cash it generally makes it that you want to spend the cash before it loses values.

    So time to buy some physical goods/non-perishables before the inflation wipes out your spending power. On the bright side, we might finally get some interest at the bank again for our cash savings =) although taxes will push that below inflation =(

    Reply
  14. Here in Newport, RI we have a large dependency on tourism and the restaurant industry is huge. It’s very seasonal for the summer. There’s almost no help for the restaurants, so they have to pay employees more and food costs have doubled in some cases. Still, it seems like half go out of business every year.

    We go out to restaurants as a default option for getting out of the house. Maybe we’ll have to pack picnics instead? We can pack a kite or a cheap drone for the kids to play with.

    I feel your general message. I hadn’t bought some foods for a while now and we’ve been shopping from our chest freezer. I’m just starting to reset my expectations when shopping. I’m also starting to embrace that we have a big enough net worth to still spend. A good side hustle also helps a lot, too.

    As for missing out on investing back in the Dot Com bust days, now is the time to buy NASDAQ stocks (QQQ) at 30% off. There may be a bigger sale later, but I’ll buy then too.

    Reply
    • It’s a tough business. Many restaurants here closed down as well. Even the good places can’t handle it. But there are many new eateries too. Good idea about picnics. The weather is getting nicer so it should be fun.
      Good move on QQQ. I’ll buy some too.

      Reply
  15. Inflation is an incredible destroyer of savings. Your instinct to save more and spend less is the correct one. When inflation rises above the long term return of the S&P500, you are essentially going to be earning *nothing* on those investments made in previous years at higher price levels.

    You think the bear market is bad now — Just wait until the rest of the market figures out what it means to earn a positive return in this environment. During the 1970’s the S&P 500 traded *for years* at a PE less than 10… even though U.S. GDP was growing most years.

    Very low PE’s are required to earn a real return in an high inflationary environment. It’s really bad for early retirees, but young folks with a quickly growing salary should be able to fight the inflation headwind as they save.

    For now, turtle up, and invest more when the S&P’s earnings yield is reasonably higher than the inflation rate.

    Reply
  16. Inflation is a result of printing too much money and I don’t see it going down to 2% as fed states.. when Chick-fil-A pays 18$ to kids how can inflation be the same.. it affects people at the bottom, rents have gone up crazy along with food and gas.. I am eating out less.. what growth stocks are you investing?

    Reply
    • I think it’ll take a while to go down. There are just too many problems in the world. There are a lot of issues with the supply chain. Demand probably should slow down a bit with all the higher prices, though.
      I’m looking at NVDA and U. But mostly probably just put some money in QQQ to make life simpler.

      Reply
  17. Yes, here in Sweden prices have been up on almost everything lately, mostly because of the conflict in the Ukraine. For example, cooking oil prices are up about 40%. Farmers are going out of business because of prices on diesel fuel, which now cost about 25 SEK/liter, prices on food for their animals have gone up about 30% and fertilizers (which are produced mostly in Russia and Ukraine) have also gone up by 30%. Sadly most farmers have contracts that prevents them from raising prices instantly, so they have to wait a year or two, and most of thenm don’t have so much cash on hand, therefor, bancruptsy.

    I agree what you say about eating out. Here, a lunch cost about 130 SEK (1 USD is roughly 9,50 SEK), dinner usually about 550 SEK/plate for a 3-course-meal in an ok restaurant in a small town. Wine, about 100 SEK/glass. Me and my wife erat lunch out maybe 2 times/month. And it is seldom for the food, but rather to just skip lunch boxes. We cook most of the food at home (my wife is asian and used to work as a chef), but it is sometimes fun just to eat fresh food. SInce we have small children, we never go out to restaurants in the evening.

    We both got salary increases, a whopping 2%. Not nearly enough to beat inflation, so I guess we have to cut costs.

    Reply
    • Oh wow, I forgot about cooking oil. I haven’t purchased any lately. I heard it is bad in many countries. Many fish and chips restaurants will go out of business.
      It’s really tough for farmers.
      Hopefully, you’ll get a better raise next year. Here in the US, employee needs to change job to get a good raise.

      Reply
  18. We are growing food, harvesting fruit and staying home more. Using retirement and tech skills along with a little personal Capital to invest in lower electricity costs, making our water-well off-grid friendly, and converting a Ford Transit to an RV camper for more vacations. Fixed, low mortgage, no debt, fixed pensions, dividend portfolio for inflation, little bullion to hedge and not in a big city our only real variable is gasoline and diesel for the van, car and tractor. Loving early retirement at the High Tech homestead.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.