Winter is coming, and so are higher heating bills

Plus, wins for workers’ rights and Dollar Tree is raising its prices

Oct 01, 2021 | Current events | Spending trends
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Bundle up

It’s only October 1, but experts have already predicted heating your house will cost more this winter. Natural gas prices have so far doubled in 2021, and they’ll continue to rise if colder-than-usual temps further boost demand. You have a perfect storm to thank (literally). Hurricane Ida stymied natural gas production around the Gulf of Mexico. Summer heat waves stoked A/C demand and meant less gas was stored for winter use. And increased export demand to Asia and Europe dwindled the US supply. Utility bills in New England and California will be hit the hardest. Meanwhile, some investors are seeing green as gas company share prices soar.

Worker wins on both coasts

This month, two coastal states raised the bar on protections for food delivery and warehouse workers. Through landmark legislation, California took aim at Amazon, and New York squared off against delivery apps (think: Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats). The Golden State’s bill bars mega-retailers from firing workers who miss quotas due to state-mandated bathroom and meal breaks. On the east coast, NYC passed a suite of bills that set a minimum wage for couriers and improve on-the-job conditions. Going forward, drivers get to set a max distance for trips, must be paid at least once a week, and will no longer be charged for payment of their wages. While some labor groups want more from these policies, it’s a start and could lay a framework for similar measures in other states.

Dollar twenty-five tree

It’s the end of an era. Dollar Tree is raising its prices. Since 1986, the chain has offered everything from dinnerware to cleaning products at one predictable price. But supply chain snarls, inflation, and mounting pressure from investors finally convinced the Tree to break the $1 barrier. The company will soon sell products for $1.25 and $1.50 in over 100 stores to start. It’s a watershed moment for Dollar Tree and one that reflects a larger trend of retailers looking for ways to offset higher operating costs. Tbd on whether they’ll change the name. The Buck Fifty Tree doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The fantastic Mr. Goxx

Meet Mr. Goxx, the furry crypto savant who's outperforming Warren Buffet and the S&P 500. The German-based hamster works out of a high-tech cage (the "Goxx Box") hooked up to a computer. The rodent selects one out of 30 cryptocurrencies by running on his "intention wheel." Then Mr. Goxx decides between two tunnels that determine whether he buys or sells. Finally, his decision is sent to a real trading platform involving real money. His portfolio is up nearly 20% since he started trading in June — with overall assets amounting to $498. That's a whole lot of hamster pellets.



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