I want to go ahead and say it one more time, not only so I am unquestionably on record as saying it, but also because it is imminent. There is no avoiding or escaping it. The greatest threat that we face to our lifestyle, freedom, and resilience is the rising cost of things. I don’t even know if I should keep calling it inflation. That term has been saddled with so much baggage that I don’t think it makes sense to most people. Couple that with the current accepted definition – which most people accept or buy into – and saying it almost doesn’t convey what it is you are actually trying to say/identify; it almost doesn’t make your point.
You know my trip into minimalism and my recent post about why I’ve begun washing clothes less; you know I believe keeping costs low, rational and to a minimum is a necessary part of the Opt Out strategy because spending less means getting out of debt slavery sooner, and it also means more money to either save or apply toward some sort of asset or physical property. Buying the things now that are going to serve us and last as we move forward into the future is an investment in that future. The fewer expenses we are saddled with going forward, the more flexibility we have in the decisions we make regarding our own lives.
All that to say I bought some Fruit of the Loom t-shirts about a month ago from amazon, I had to buy a 4 pack which was $12.46. That’s $3.12/shirt. I received them, I’ve worn each one at least twice, and they are typical Fruit of the Loom t-shirts. I buy these to wear under my work shirts so I don’t have to wash the work shirts so often (see recent Laundry post). These t-shirts are colored rather than white. There is a charcoal grey, a greenish blue, a blueish green, and a black. The colored t-shirts provide more resiliency than the all white ones for a couple of reasons: the white ones absorb body oil, sweat, and environmental stains that start to be noticeable on white t-shirts very quickly – even though they are freshly washed, so they won’t look dirty when they are in fact clean.
Also, they are more versatile. One morning when getting ready for work my oldest asked with her attitude, “why would you wear a light grey t-shirt with black pants and a blue sweater? Couldn’t you have worn one that either matched your pants or your shirt?
The answer was actually “no”. All I had were white t-shirts – 9 of them, 6 large which were too big and 3 medium which fit but got worn the most so therefore were beginning to show discoloration– and one new, light grey Levi’s t-shirt, the one to which she was referring. That got me to thinking. Why do I have all these white t-shirts? They get dingy so fast and there is nothing short of bleaching them to get them to look truly clean, Which means they need to be replaced before the have actually outlived their usefulness. They are also boring and so freaking conservative, exactly the kind of thing a cubicle clone would wear. I decided to try and find some alternative, even if it meant more grey t-shirts. That’s when I saw that Haynes and Fruit of the Loom had t-shirts in colors.
This turned out to be one of the quality purchases I keep going on and on about.
Keep in mind that it was literally one month ago-4 weeks, because the point of this cute little story is that the price went up today to just over $14.99. Still a good price, I’m going to order another 4 pack on payday. But it validates my point about buying quality now rather than later because going from 3.12 per shirt to 3.75 per shirt may only be 63 cents, 2.53 per pack, chump change in real dollars, but it represents a 17% increase. You’re not going to hear about those kinds of price percentage increases when the talking heads are talking about inflation. I can go a long time without a new xbox or flat screen tv, but clothes are most definitely a necessity by my definition of necessity, along with eggs and ground beef. These are the items that are skyrocketing percentage wise.
If you look at it from a strictly Real Dollar vantage point, heck yeah I can swing $2.53 per pack more. But next year it could be another $2.50, and so on. Every little $5 and $10 increase in price may seem insignificant, but if it represents an increase in price of 17% each time it goes up, you have to weigh that against your annual raise of 2%-3% per year, assuming it only increases in cost once per year. The cost of that item outstrips you’re your buying power increase by 15%. Do some math and stretch that out over 10 years. In terms of buying power you are essentially paying the corporation that employees you for the joy of working for them.