Today’s Editorial June 22: Good, bad news in CPI

There’s good news woven throughout the latest Consumer Price Index.

It appears the cost of housing is going down.

High rents have been a bone of contention in the Cayman Islands since Hurricane Ivan blew through damaging 90 per cent of the buildings on Grand Cayman.

So much property was destroyed that the amount of available, liveable housing dwindled.

Prices on available rental property soared as landlords waited on insurance settlements and made swift repairs to units with minimal damage.

Almost two years have passed since Hurricane Ivan, giving landlords and developers time to increase the available stock of rental units, which is naturally driving the price of rental units down to more reasonable rates.

But the increased supply of available rental properties can also be attributed to renters who have left the country and former renters who decided to get out of the rental rat race and buy.

The CPI also showed price drops in education and medical services and on household equipment.

But while we’re saving money on rent, education, medical and household equipment, we’re doling out more for things like milk, tomatoes, tobacco and alcohol.

We’re also paying more for transportation.

Our food prices are up because of higher freight costs, which are a direct result of increasing global oil prices.

Weather in other parts of the world also drove up our prices of food, especially tomatoes and lettuce.

So what’s a consumer to do?

Pinch your pennies.

For every dollar you save in rental costs, put it aside for a rainy day.

It also helps to have a household budget so you know where every dime you take in is dispensed. Not all expenses are necessary; take a good, hard look at frivolous spending and curb it or halt it altogether.

To help pinch pennies at the supermarket, buy in bulk. You’ll not only be saving money, but you’ll also be helping the environment by contributing less waste to the George Town landfill.

In the end the CPI is proof that we all need to perform a balancing act while managing our money.

The good news is that we’re getting some economic relief through lower rental costs.

Through a little diligence and thought we can also keep our grocery bills down.

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