Really Federal Reserve? Really?

I was sitting here reviewing my finances for the week, it’s always a little bit tight on the week before payday, with the local news station on the TV in the background. I was trying to ignore it but I wanted to hear the weather.

As I muttered to myself about living paycheck to paycheck or as this week was looking, not enough to make it  paycheck to paycheck, a segment on finances came on. A listener asked what to do about a CD that was about to mature since the banks were only paying about 1% interest on savings and not much more to roll it into another CD. The part that got me was the analyst said there was no inflation.

Really? Who figures this out? How do you figure it out? I know I said I don’t usually share political opinions but that really irritated me. The analyst went onto say that the “only thing up was gas prices” so there was no inflation. She concluded that if there was any inflation then interest rates would be up too.

I was under the impression that interest rates were being kept low to try to stimulate the economy. Maybe I was wrong. I don’t follow this stuff that closely.

Ok I agree gas prices are really eating through my budget but has the analyst been to a grocery store lately? Maybe the price of a box of cereal hasn’t gone up but has anyone noticed that the size of that box of Froot Loops has shrunk? So you are paying the same price just for a smaller size.

I know the cost of eggs and milk are on the rise and last week it was $1.19 for a small head of iceberg lettuce. A couple of years ago a head of lettuce like that would have cost somewhere between $.39 & $.59 depending on how far into the summer we were. You paid $.99 in the winter. Cucumbers…not that long ago you could get 2 cucumbers for $1.00. Now you get 1 for the same $1.00.

I checked the pantry and prices on canned soup… Chicken noodle soup …in a can..$1.59! I must have been out of my mind to buy that. These aren’t from specialty stores. This is the chain supermarkets in my area, southern Massachusetts.

No inflation indeed!

But back to gas and car expenses. The company I work for moved our office 25 miles from its old location. They did that 2-3 years ago when the recession was just getting underway. It was business needs. Some people got let go and the rest of use were told we had to make the commute or leave. I can understand the need to relocate to contain expenses but, and here’s the big but, by relocating an entire office like that , to a location with no public transportation , they put a financial hardship on a lot of their employees because  of the gas prices to commute and the wear and tear on the vehicles…not to mention what it’s doing to the carbon footprint!

I know co-workers who constantly overdraw their bank accounts or borrow money from friends just to put enough gas in the car to get to work. I know other co-workers who don’t have the money for gas so they call out sick until payday.

In my case I’m sitting here afraid to go anyway or use any gas because my car is slowly breaking down and it’s 4 more days to payday. There’s been another repair almost every week for the last 6 weeks or so. Those repairs have me tapped out.It’s all small stuff but it takes its toll.  I have to hang onto what cash I have left because I will need gas to get to work. I count my blessings…at least I have a little money for gas unlike others I know.

But that isn’t the point. It’s just the evidence to support my point. And that point is that you cannot have high gas prices and not have inflation and hardship. Gas prices affect everything. The electric company tacks on a fuel charge. Airlines and cruise ships are adding fuel surcharges to their tickets thereby hurting the travel industry. The prices of your groceries go up, because of the cost to bring them to market or for the farmers to get gas for their tractors.

But this analyst, who I’m sure gets her info from the Fed’s, can sit on TV and say there’s no inflation. NO INFLATION!

In another news flash they were discussing the budget negotiations going on right now in Washington D.C. That analyst said that if the government defaults on any of its debt that it will cause chaos in the world’s financial market and …this is what got me…”throw us back into a recession.” Well, I didn’t know we were out of the recession. Last I heard unemployment was still high,  jobs that exist aren’t secure and I haven’t seen many new jobs being created. The housing market is still depressed and the most recent article I read on that puts the recover over 10 years away.

It makes me wonder…am I the one who is out of touch or is it the people running the country. Oh and by the way, anyone want to bet that rather than cut special interest items to balance the national budget that in the end they will raise the debt ceiling again? Wish I could run my household that way.

I’m just shaking my head.

For those of us who struggle along every day there’s one more financial insult…since we’re on the subject and that’s the banks.

I have a savings account or perhaps I should say “had” a savings account that is attached to an active checking account at a semi local back. I say semi local because it’s not really close to me anymore. I kept the account to use for online banking and to separate my housing expenses from my  everyday expenses. I kept a small balance in the savings part in hopes that someday I’d be able to fill it up. After all, there was a time when I had money in a savings account and money left over after the bills were paid. I keep hanging on to the belief that it can be that way again.  Ha Ha, Hope springs eternal.

Anyway I opened my statement only to see that the bank had charged me a $3.00 inactivity fee. When I questioned them can you guess what their answer was?

(Wait for it…..) Everybody else does it.

WHAT! Every body else does it? When I was growing up if I said that to my parents they’d say If everybody else jumped off a bridge would you do it? In other words that doesn’t make it right. All an inactivity fee does is punish those of us that are struggling to make ends meet. If we had the money to add to the account  it wouldn’t be inactive. So now you are going to take money from an account of someone who clearly can’t afford to have that money taken away? And if it’s inactive where’s it costing  the bank $3.00/ mo? Seems to me it would make more sense to charge an activity fee or a fee if you use a teller instead of an ATM. I think it’s a sneaky fee. I wonder how many people don’t bother to look at their savings statement because they  know they don’t have anything in  there? Easy money for the banks.

Well, no more inactivity fees from me. I closed that account and I’m thinking of closing the checking account as well. They weren’t paying any interest so I might as well keep my minimal amount of money under a mattress.

Ok, so now you see why I normally keep my mouth shut about these things, at least in these pages. I want to keep aroundustyroads as a happy place so forgive me for breaking my own rules. That news spot really got me going. I shut the TV off. When I get indignant I go off on a rant. But does anyone else see my point? Or am I just “off the wall”?

I promise not to do this again for at least another 6 months! 🙂 I need to get myself back to a “happy spot”.  I think I’ll go take some pictures in the bird sanctuary and “chill out”… Let my blood pressure return to normal. We’ll be back to fun stuff next post. I can share my upcoming vacation plans with you. (Another reason I’m fretting over money but that’s another story) Thanks for letting me vent.

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