Today’s Editorial March 10: Fight high cost of living

The news is grim.

Figures show the cost of living in the Cayman Islands is still increasing.

And there aren’t any promises on the horizon of the trend reversing any time soon.

The Economics and Statistics Office states that overall, the cost of living was 7 per cent higher in 2005 than in 2004.

A breakdown of the figures paints an even gloomier picture, especially when it comes to housing and insurance premiums costs.

The good folks at the ESO don’t just come up with the figures arbitrarily.

Staff at the office collect prices for 661 different items that consumers spend their money on. This is done for one month of each quarter.

The prices are collected from more than 100 different shops and other outlets in Grand Cayman and every kind of spending is included, from weekly supermarket trips, school lunches, rental payments, insurance, cars and bicycles. About 1,800 prices are collected each quarter.

While the news is frustrating and we all feel like we can’t do anything about spending more to live in paradise, we need to rethink. There are measures each person can take to help save money and curb spending.

At home, keep air conditioner use to a minimum. Open your windows and let in the fresh Cayman air.

Spend less on gifts and be creative rather than extravagant with friends and family.

Practice utility control by installing a water-saving shower head. Buy energy saving light bulbs and turn the temperature up on your refrigerator and down on your hot water heater.

Turn off the lights and the television when you leave a room.

Save money on food by buying items on sale and in bulk. Generic brands are cheaper.

To save gasoline, car pool or take a bus. If you do drive, you can improve your gas mileage by owning an energy efficient car, checking the air in your tires and slowing down on Cayman’s roadways.

Eat out less frequently and brown bag your lunch for work.

To save on supplies, use sponges instead of paper towels and use a multi-purpose cleaner rather than several specialized ones.

One area where spending is up in the Cayman Islands is the category of alcohol and tobacco.

Quit smoking and cut down on the booze.

You’ll feel better and you’ll save money.

We do have the power to keep more of our money in our wallets and pocketbooks.

The more ways we find to save, the easier it will be to make those higher payments for rent and insurance.

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