Inflation has been a hot topic for the last two years. Prices of nearly every item have increased faster than normal, while wages have not kept pace. Consumers and businesses alike are wondering how to fight inflation, and how they can reduce spending to help balance the books.
Annual Inflation Rates Compared
Inflation refers to the general increase in price for all goods and services in a set area, during a set time. There are many different factors that can cause inflation to speed up or slow down.
Annual inflation rates can vary a great deal year over year. Over the past 60 years in America, annual inflation has been as high as 13.5% and as low as -.4%. Over this time period, from about 1960 to 2020, the average annual inflation rate was about 3.8%. This totals a price increase of 829.57%. So, an item that cost $1 in 1960 cost a little over $9 in 2021.
The annual inflation rate in 2021 in the United States was about 4.7%. As of October, 2022, the inflation rate was about 7.7%.
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Inflation Rates of Different Items
Keep in mind that the above figures are general averages; different products have increased at different rates, and some are more volatile than others. For example, a candy bar cost about ten cents in 1960, and costs a little over a dollar now. A gallon of gas, on the other hand, increased from about $0.31 in 1960 to about $3.50 or $4 today, an increase of about 1000% or 1200%, total.
As of October, 2022, energy prices increased far faster than inflation, at about 17.6%, and food also increased faster, at about 12.4%.
What Causes Inflation?
Inflation is caused by many different factors. When goods become harder to get, they’ll become more expensive. In 2022, Russia’s war on Ukraine caused a variety of prices to increase, including many agricultural products, one of Ukraine’s big exports, and oil, one of Russia’s big exports. Increasing grain and oil prices cause many other items to become more expensive as well.
As demand increases, prices also increase. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused consumers worldwide to put plans on hold and reduce their spending in many ways. When vaccines became widely available, and the harmfulness of the illness decreased as strains of the illness changed, consumer spending increased sharply. Supply struggled to keep up with demand, increasing prices for many types of goods and services.
In many cases, prices rising due to inflation can also encourage businesses to increase prices further to increase profits. Termed “greedflation,” this practice often allows large corporations to hide price-gouging practices as inflationary pressures. Many corporations, particularly those with a large market share of consolidated industries, such as Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Chevron, Tyson, Modelez, and others have increased profits much faster than inflation.
How to Fight Inflation in Ice Prices
There are many different places to get ice, from fast food locations to big box stores to vending machines. Which location you choose will partially determine the price of ice.
Consider how the previously mentioned causes of inflation might impact the price of ice from different sources. For example, as oil prices increase, shipping costs also increase. This may cause the price of ice in big box stores or convenience stores to increase, since they have to ship their ice. These industries, as well as the fast food industry, are dominated by a few large corporations, which makes it easy to increase prices to increase profits.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few ways to keep the prices of ice low.
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1. Know Where to Buy Ice
Vended ice is cleaner, cheaper, and often more convenient than ice from big box stores or convenience stores. Compared to these markets, vended ice also represents a smaller share of the overall industry, making price-gouging practices less prevalent. With inflation increasing especially quickly in food retail, now is a great time to take advantage of ice vending.
2. Buy in Bulk
It’s no mystery that buying in bulk can save money. Buying ice from a vending machine can help you get more ice at one time. At an ice vending machine, you can purchase multiple 16 or 20 lb bags of ice at one time, instead of small, 7 lb bags at convenience stores. Also, you don’t have to worry about running out of ice; since ice vending machines create their own ice, they aren’t limited by supply, like convenience stores are. You can buy in bulk and keep ice in your freezer for as long as you need!
3. Utilize Coupons
Taking advantage of coupons and discounts can help you keep prices low and offset inflation. While you’re unlikely to find discounts or coupons for ice from big box stores or convenience stores, since margins are already low on ice from these sources, you can use the ICE2U app to get regular coupons and savings. The ICE2U app can show you where the closest ice vending machine is, track your spending, and give you free bags of ice after a set number of purchases.
4. Balance Energy Costs and Ice Costs
As previously mentioned, energy prices have and will likely continue to increase faster than inflation. In some cases, the energy required to keep some goods cool might not be worth the expense. For businesses, replacing a refrigerated drink cabinet with an ice-filled cooler may help save money. For consumers, unplugging a spare freezer or extra refrigerator, and instead using an ice-filled cooler as-needed, can help you reduce energy costs and expenses.
Inflation is likely to slow in the next few years. In the meantime, consider these factors and keep these tips in mind to keep ice prices low.