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Gas, groceries and Soylent Green!

Fried rice
Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

“That’s it ” we’re making some serious lifestyle changes around here,” I informed Husband-Head. “Things are going to be verrrrrry different from now on.”

Husband-Head looked at me curiously.

“You mean, like, you’re going to start bathing on a daily basis?” he asked hopefully.



“That’s cool.”

“Of course not,” I scoffed with a flip of my hand. “I mean that in this poor economy, we’re going to eliminate a few things in our lives in order to save money.”



Husband-Head nodded with approval because, as someone who used to take money OUT of the church offering basket when it came around, he is always in favor of hoarding cash.

“OK, so what are we cutting out?” he wanted to know.

“Driving and eating,” I said firmly, folding my arms over my chest. “We can no longer afford to buy gas or groceries like we used to, so we’re going to do away with them altogether.”

Husband-Head looked aghast at the thought.

“First of all, you hardly drive as it is,” he pointed out. “In fact, nobody is sure if you even HAVE a driver’s license.”

“I do,” I assured him. “It gets renewed by mail every 10 years, which is good because there’s no way in hell I’d pass the eye test. But I don’t really care for driving much, anyway, because you have to pay attention and stuff and I’m not good at that.”

Husband-Head then decided that because I work at home, gas wasn’t a big issue for us, anyway.

“Besides, there’s plenty of gas right here at home,” he summed up. “The Middle East oil tycoons have nothing on you.”

Husband-Head was actually more concerned about the food cut.

“Can’t we just reduce the number of groceries we buy instead of eliminating life-sustaining food substances altogether?” he suggested. “Rising food costs or not, we all know you have, shall we say, a little problem at the grocery store.”

My name is Heidi Rice and I’m a grocery store addict …

Actually, it’s not so much that I like to buy groceries, it’s that I like to cook. It’s kind of a creative and relaxing hobby for me that is a welcome relief after sitting and staring at a computer all day long.

“Yeah, but is it really necessary to buy Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at $15 per pound?” Husband-Head asked. “Or Starbucks Italian Roast coffee for $13 a bag? That’s rather ridiculous.”

Maybe so, but it’s good.

Nevertheless, reports say that grocery prices have already increased 5 percent over last year and are still rising, with people projected to spend an additional $350 this year.

“Hey, I cut coupons,” I defended myself to Husband-Head. “Do you know how much time and effort that takes? Do you have any IDEA how hard it is to see the expiration date on the coupon without reading glasses or a magnifying glass?”

Husband-Head wasn’t into sympathy mode ” he just wanted an answer.

The answer is that we can all dramatically cut our grocery bills by taking simple steps to reduce our grocery bills such as using existing products that we have on hand, paying attention to the weekly store sales, planning meals ahead of time, having a specific shopping list and shoplifting.

But there are alternatives to expensive food items. College kids have long been known to exist on ramen noodles, Taco Bell is cheap and frozen pot pies are a good deal. Macaroni and cheese is another frugal food favorite and for really special occasions, you can celebrate by putting little pieces of hot dogs in it.

And by the way, a can of cat food is only 35 cents. Cat food … it’s not just for old ladies anymore.

“It could be worse,” I told Husband-Head. “Remember that movie, ‘Soylent Green?”

I was referring to the 1973 science fiction flick that was set in 2022 in which the world was facing extreme overpopulation and poverty. The majority of the population existed on little green wafers known as “Soylent Green” ” although nobody knew the secret ingredients.

“Soylent Green is PEOPLE!” I screamed to Husband-Head, imitating the last line of the dramatic movie.

Husband-Head carefully examined the cheese and cracker in his hand.

“I think I’ll take the cat food after all,” he decided.

Heidi Rice is a reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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