Thursday, May 08, 2008


(Each "Featured Question," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous QUESTIONS are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

The cost of gasoline, heating oil, food, and health insurance continue to rise. This FEATURED QUESTION doesn't need any links to substantiate that statement.
As for gasoline, we have significantly cut back on distances we drive — not that we did all that much driving in the first place. My work commute for the entire week is under 100 miles. Dur to lack of business for the company where he had worked for nearly twelve years, Mr. AOW lost his primary job in January, thus limiting his work-related driving to commuting to his second job, located a mere two miles from our house. During the course of a week, we now drive less than 200 miles every week, even forgoing pleasure trips in our Mustang.

At home, we keep the thermostat set lower during the cold and cool months (64 degrees) and higher during the warm and hot months (78 degrees). To reduce the impact of the soaring price for petroleum, Mr. AOW and I had thermal windows installed a few months ago. Fortunately, we had savings enough to pay for the windows and their installation. We have already noticed that our home is more efficient, keeping in the heat and the cool. Of course, with the cost of heating oil and electricity continuing to rise, we may still experience monthly bills of amounts inconceivable this time last year.

The rising cost of food has hit all of us, I think. Mr. AOW and I have found Angel Food Ministries, available throughout the United States, to be a blessing in coping with the cost of food. In addition, at the store we shop more wisely and look for bargains. Required by the doctor to adhere to a high-protein diet, I also substitute Melaleuca protein bars for at least one meal every day. Even our cats are cutting back on how much they eat!

Cutting back on local taxes and health insurance present a conundrum. They continue to climb! I suspect that the next round of local elections will result in throwing our present leadership out of office. But maybe not: everyone claims to favor budget cuts, but various groups are unwilling to have their services cut or reduced. As for health insurance, we are trapped. No reasonable coverage is available for us fifty-somethings with pre-existing conditions, even though we rarely go to the doctor. At COBRA rates, the cheapest coverage available to us and lasting only for another year, the cost of the coverage approaches 40% of our gross income. Mr. AOW and I have no control over the rising costs of local taxes and health insurance.

FEATURED QUESTION: What are you doing to cope with the rising costs as outlined in this posting?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 5/08/2008 11:59:00 PM