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“…in this case, factory-produced ammunition may be the most expensive it’s ever been, but in all probability, it’s also the cheapest it’s ever going to be.”
– Massad Ayoob, Backwoods Home Magazine #111 – May/June 2008
The author of the article, Massad Ayoob, is well known and respected in shooting circles. He knows what he is speaking of in regards to all things firearms related. So in reading this article it made me sit up and realize how correct he was. And when I noted that the article was five years old, it scared me into thinking about things a little differently.
Prices go up, it is a part of our inflationary world. And very rarely do they ever come back down. So in seeing a price creep up on say, bananas, from 49 cents to 59 cents a pound, I should accept it, watch for sales, and load up, when possible. (No, bananas don’t store well long term, other than as dehydrated chips.)
And there is one of the tricks I use in dealing with inflation. When you see a price increase, watch for the price to drop back to the old levels, and then buy enough to last a while. This works well with things like canned goods, and other hard assets, but not so well on things like milk or fresh produce, unless you plan on converting either into a long term storable like cheese or jam.
Used in conjunction with coupons, you can actually get well ahead of the game. I use this for buying pasta, an items that not so long ago was less than a dollar a pound. Inflation now has it at around $1.50 for a 1 pound box. However, when I can catch it on sale in conjunction with a coupon, I can pay as little as 20 cents per pound, so we really stock up then.
You rarely see coupons or sales on guns and ammo though. So what do we do there? Price shopping is about all you can do…but it also has its drawback. If you take too long to decide to buy, someone else may swoop in and buy up what is left before you make up your mind. I see it all the time when the supply cannot meet the demand for an item.
So my solution is weighing the cost of the item (is it too much?) vs. the scarcity (how hard was this to find?) compared to my need for the item (Can I wait longer?)
In the case of ammo, I would like more for my .22 caliber firearms. Gun show prices have been between $50 and $75 for 500 round “bricks”. The makes the market asking price is between $0.10 and $0.15 per round. I used to buy it at WalMart for $20 per brick, a a price of $0.04 per round. (I miss those days).
So when I ran across a brisk of .22 ammo for $39 (a little less than $0.08 per round), I decided to grab some. Was that a great price? Nope. But it’s probably as low as I’m going to see for a while, and is lower than is has been in over a year.
What does a $39 investment in 500 rounds yield me? Practice potential. Potential food. Possible defense. Possible trade items/currency replacement.
In short, it offers me peace of mind.
If the price goes up again, I have cut my future expenses. And if it drops more, I’ve found the price point that will have me buying more.
Waiting around for prices to drop on many things will simply never happen. At some point, you need to realize that if you are to have an item, you MUST get it, no matter the price.
And as I always say, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
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