The Cost of Ham and Cottage Cheese

inflation

We all know about inflation.  It’s a necessary evil.  Well, I don’t know if it’s evil, but they tell us it’s necessary.  It can be a problem.

I don’t understand how the economy of a country, and the world, works.  It’s too much to try to comprehend at my age.

In Russia we also have some other problems.

The collapse of the Russian rouble, oil prices, and sanctions.  We’re living in a pretty different Russia than we were living in before 2014.  Although there was also what’s called the Great Recession (2008-2009), and the 1998 Russian Financial Crisis as well.  So there’s been some big ups and downs in the Russian economy since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. (But please don’t get all political on me, I’m not here to discuss that).

Russia and the Russian people are no newcomers to financial difficulties.

And as a foreigner here, it’s something that I just accept now, as part of the experience.   After all, one of the reasons I left Australia to come here was because in Australia my life was quite stable and boring.  Including the economy.

That’s certainly not the case here.

Ham and cottage cheese

Anyway, the reason for this post?  Ham and cottage cheese.

Yes, that’s right.  Ham and cottage cheese.

You see, in our local supermarket (not the one with the cat but another one that’s open 24 hours), we found a cute little snack in the refrigerator section.

It’s a thin slice of ham, rolled up.  And inside the rolled up ham is some cottage cheese mixed with garlic.  And the ends are dipped in fresh dill.

It’s something you could easily make at home.  It’s not very attractive, is very simple, but it’s a nice, tasty snack when you want something small to eat.  Something a Grandma might give you when you visit.

I sometimes stop at the shop on the way home from teaching in the evening just to pick up some for a little snack before dinner (along with some chocolate, of course).

So, I took a photo of this food I bought one day in 2016.  I can’t remember why I took the photo.  I think we were talking about how cute it was and I decided to take a photo so we can remember it in our old age.  As I often do.

ham and cheese 2016
In 2016, it was 449 roubles a kilogram

And then one day last November (2018) while looking for other photos for this blog, I found that photo from 2016 and decided I’d try and buy it again on exactly the same date in 2018, and compare them.  I went to the shop on the 16th December 2018 but the refrigerator was empty.  So I went the next day, 17th December 2018, and bought some.  Two years and one day later.

ham and cheese 2018
In 2018, it was 689 roubles a kilogram

53.45%

I was shocked when I looked at the price difference!    In 2016 it was 449 roubles a kilogram, and just 2 years later it’s now 689 roubles a kilogram!  That’s an increase of 53.45% (if I’ve done my calculations correctly – someone please check it for me)!!!!

Wow!  It’s ham and cottage cheese – neither of which has gone up 53.45% in the previous two years.  At least I think they haven’t.  Cottage cheese is a staple here and I’d be surprised if it’s increased by more than 50%.  Ham I’m not sure about.  I don’t even really know if it’s ham from pork or ham from turkey (which is quite common here and what we usually buy because it’s more affordable).

So, here’s just one example of how much one product has increased in price in recent years.  I don’t really think it’s an indication of the general situation, but I might be wrong.

Are there any Russians reading this who have noticed something similar?  Let me know in the comments – I’m curious to know if there are other products here which have increased by such an extreme percentage in such a short time.

In the meantime, we adapt to the situation.

~ Cheryl

If you enjoy reading about Moscow and Russia, you might like these:

What it’s like living in Moscow in 2018

Patriotism

Moscow – 24 hour city

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Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

16 thoughts on “The Cost of Ham and Cottage Cheese”

  1. I love that you started your new life at 40. I turn 40 next month and it can feel a bit like everything is pretty set in stone at this stage. Brilliant that you had the guts and energy to take on such a big adventure!

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    1. Hello Toria, thank you for such a nice comment, it’s very kind of you! At 39, I started to panic a bit (ok, a lot!), and didn’t want to lose any more of my life sitting in my hometown in Australia, knowing that there was a whole world out there. And I didn’t want to just have a holiday somewhere and then go back home and continue the same life. That was my motivation for moving – and I’m not sure it was about guts, it was more about desperation! I hope you’re able to follow your desires, at 40 and beyond! Enjoy your week. 🙂

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    1. Hi Amy, thanks for your concern 🙂 It’s not everything that’s gone up so much, but it’s really a shock when you realise what’s happening in the supermarkets here. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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  2. Wow! That makes Aussie inflation look like small potatoes! We only get huge rises like that if there’s a shortage. I remember when the Qld banana crops got wiped out and bananas became ridiculously unaffordable. Fortunately it only lasted for one season – your’s looks more long term!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Hi Leanne, If I remember correctly, the banana crisis in Australia was the summer of 2006-2007. I remember this because it was right when I moved to Moscow and I was super happy at the prices of bananas here! The thing is, people here don’t seem to get stressed about things like this (or about much at all really!). They just get on with enjoying life and you don’t hear them complain about things like this. It’s refreshing. 🙂 Thank you for visiting. 🙂

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  3. How amazing that the price has increased so much in that time! It sounds like a very easy snack to make at home 🙂 . I really enjoy reading of your time in Russia Cheryl! #mlstl

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    1. Hi Debbie, fortunately not everything has increased by 50%, although inflation is quite awful here. It would be ok if our salaries were adjusted to deal with it, but they’re not. Still, I love living here despite the problems! And really, they’re just little problems. You’re right, this snack could easily be made at home, I might try it – or maybe you’d like to try making it and let me know how it turns out 🙂 Have a nice day and thanks for reading! 🙂

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  4. Much more than the price of things in Russia I am surprised you are allowed to blog. I know I am not up on the politics of Russia. Our prices here in the USA go up so gradually we sometimes don’t notice.

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    1. Hello Victoria, thank you for reading my post. I’m not sure why you think we wouldn’t be allowed to blog here – too much Western propaganda, I imagine 🙂 Life really is quite normal here, of course with some cultural differences. Yes, I guess some prices here go up slowly and you don’t notice them, but this one jumped out at me! Let’s hope there’s not too much more inflation in our lives – or at least that our salaries are adjusted to match! Thank you for visiting. 🙂

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      1. It may be Western propaganda that gives me the thoughts I have about a Communist country. I guess because of some of the things Putin does and says I don’t feel that the people have good lives. I know a couple of years ago my husband, and I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal, and there were some people on the cruise from Russia. Most didn’t know or speak English, but one group that sat at our table was surprised when I commented that I didn’t know they were allowed to leave the country. Plus I didn’t think most made enough money to have a decent life much less travel. Very eye-opening for me. I am not trying to be rude I thought everything was censored and controlled.

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      2. Hello Victoria! Thank you for replying to me again! I really appreciate you taking the time to write your impressions about what you know about Russia and Russians. A lot of people are surprised at what life is like here. People in Australia also have no idea that life is just normal here in Moscow, as it is in Australia! Nobody I know here really cares about politics, it doesn’t matter who the president is. They just continue to build their lives through working hard, loving their kids and families, having fun as much as they can, spending time in nature with their families, travelling if they can afford it, going to concerts and the theatre, etc. People from Moscow and St Petersburg have better opportunities and education than people from smaller towns, and actually with the Russian rouble so bad at the moment it’s sometimes too expensive to travel outside Russia at the moment, but they do love to travel, and they have enough money for all the latest gadgets, iPhones, big TVs, expensive cars etc. Thank you for taking an interest in this, I’m happy to share what I know about Russia, and maybe next time you hear people talking about Russia you’ll be able to tell them something new 🙂 Have a lovely week, and please keep in touch! 🙂

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  5. Interesting. I read—oh, probably a few years ago that the inflation we take for granted is a relatively new phenomenon. The example the article gave was that when, say, Jane Austen said that so-and-so had £10,000 a year, that amount would have meant the same thing in ten years, in twenty years, even (if I remember right, but never trust me with numbers) in a hundred years. So, although I can’t explain the mechanism, the inflation that we take as a fixed law of the universe, right up there with gravity, is no such thing.

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    1. Yes, Ellen, apparently inflation is man-made to serve a purpose – but I’m not that interested in finding out what the real purpose is. Something to do with the economy, and how it would be destroyed or something if there was no inflation? Or life as we know it would cease to exist? I don’t know, I don’t really care, either, since I know I won’t be here forever, and inflation is one of the least of our worries, unfortunately. And I think we’re just so used to seeing prices of things increase that we take it as a given. I really don’t think about it much, except, of course, for the example in my post 🙂

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  6. This is really interesting. You may never have noticed how big the difference is if you had not taken that photo! Have wages also had similar increases, or do you feel a little poorer 2 years on?

    P.s. I have experienced the opposite of this in Japan. There is basically no inflation there (which has it’s own different set of problems.) This means whenever I go back I am surprised to find everything is exactly the same price, or sometimes cheaper. There is a governmental program called the JET program, which started almost 30 years ago…they have never changed the wages, as the cost of living has not really changed!

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    1. Hi Josy, Yes, it’s only because of the photo I took that I could see this sign of inflation. If you look around my blog a bit, you’ll see I often take photos of strange things 🙂 Wages haven’t increased much at all in that time, and actually in some cases not at all. Yes, I feel poorer, but it’s also because the rouble is so bad these days! But it’s not everything that’s increased by so much, so it’s not really too bad here.

      That’s interesting about JET in Japan (I’ve heard of them). The problem would then be not when you’re spending your salary in Japan, but when you want to travel elsewhere or go back to your home country with your savings from working in Japan. So many things to consider when you’re living abroad! Thanks for visiting and commenting, I appreciate it! 🙂

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