Editorial: Inflation 101 — Take control of expenses

Be an inflation warrior, not a price victim. Free yourself by taking control and living smart. Be a strong American, not an easy mark. Here are a few tips:

Buy lots of shelf-stable and non-perishable foods to stock up the shelves, pantries and deep freezes. Not because the world’s ending, but to make the best of inflation.

Food price inflation, at its highest rate in the United States since 1990, presents an easy investment opportunity that almost can’t go wrong. Food is an inevitable future need for all humans. Considering the cost of oil futures, the cost of food is almost certain to soar for the foreseeable future. Food and fuel prices are inextricably entangled, because trucks and trains burn fuel to get food from farms to processors to stores.

Smart individuals, given even modest cash reserves, will convert their cash into goods during times of inflation. Buy it low today, and consume it in the future when the cost will be much higher. It’s a no-brainer, as the interest rates available on savings accounts are lower than inflation on most goods and services.

This does two things: 1. It protects the value of your money; and 2. works against future inflation, by reducing future demand.

Merchants can bolster sales during times of inflation, offering today’s price for tomorrow’s service or good. A hair salon may anticipate raising prices nine months from now in response to the increasing costs of goods and services. The business may want to offer certificates, each good for one haircut, that sell for today’s price but don’t expire for years. That gives the merchant liquidity today that can be used for purchases that will hedge against inflation, while guaranteeing the consumer a bargain down the road.

Hedging fuel spikes gets more troublesome. Few consumers have massive storage facilities needed to purchase fuel today to avoid tomorrow’s price. But here’s what some can do, especially as the weather gets warm. Fill every vehicle you have with fuel. Then explore all imaginable

options to avoid burning it. Store it at today’s price in the tank of the SUV, and start riding a bicycle or