Food shortages, coin shortages, and toilet paper shortages were all part of the 2020 experience, but while some shortages have ended, a bunch more have begun, as the supply chain difficulties of the past year catch up to us.
While these are super inconvenient, we can point you toward time- and money-saving solutions to get you through when products are in short supply.
1. Fireworks shortage
The problem: We bought a lot more fireworks last year, since there were no big public shows happening on the Fourth of July — and that cleared out inventory. Factories shut down during the pandemic and haven’t been able to keep up with demand this year. And a labor shortage is keeping some fireworks supplies from getting from ports to distribution centers.
What to do: If you’re dead set on buying, buy ASAP; otherwise, attend a public show, or focus your celebration on some of the 28 Fun Kids Activities to Add to Your Summer Bucket List.
2. Chicken shortage
The problem: Last year, when there was a beef shortage due to coronavirus-related plant shutdowns, the world’s attention turned to chicken. Now, as restaurants reopen and demand continues to rise, chicken producers aren’t staffed enough to keep up with it.
Chicken wings, in particular, are even tougher to find; restaurant chain Wing Stop has turned to chicken thighs, temporarily calling themselves “Thigh Stop.”
What to do: While things are expected to get back to normal in the coming months, meat alternatives were hot during the beef shortage, and are still available during the chicken shortage. We’ve got tons of Beyond Meat coupons.
3. Chlorine shortage
The problem: There’s one manufacturing plant that produces most of the chlorine tablets used in the U.S. And that plant shut down after Hurricane Laura caused a fire last year, slowing supplies that were already taxed after a quarantined summer 2020 where people were building and using home swimming pools in record numbers.
What to do: Buy liquid chlorine, or if you’re willing to learn something completely new, there are ways to use baking soda and Clorox bleach to keep your pool clean while you’re waiting for chlorine tablets to get back in stock. You’ll want to talk to a pool expert, though, to make sure you’re using the items correctly.
4. Furniture shortage
The problem: Over the last year, we were all stuck at home, staring at our furniture, and lots of us decided to buy new furniture. Inventories got wiped out, and now it’s hitting us, with many furniture stores like IKEA, Pottery Barn, and La-Z-Boy experiencing months-long waits for backorders. What used to be a 4-6 weeks wait is now a 3-8 months wait.
What to do: Shop Wayfair.
While Wayfair has been hit by the shortage like everyone else, they have a massive pool of products and partners, so if you can’t find one particular product, you can find a few others that are similar. Regardless, you’re going to need our Hacks and Tips for WINNING All the Wayfair Deals.
5. Rental car shortage
The problem: Rental car companies sold a bunch of their inventory when travel was at a standstill in 2020. Now, demand is climbing back up, and there aren’t enough cars to go around.
What to do: Some people are renting vehicles from U-Haul and other moving companies — but even those are getting tough to find. Your best bet will be skipping the rental companies altogether in favor of Turo — the Airbnb of car rentals. It’s one of our top Ways to Spend Less and Find Rental Cars.
6. Paint shortage
The problem: Lots of people bought paint during pandemic-time home improvement projects, but then the supply took a big hit when Texas paint manufacturers shut down as a result of the devastating winter storm this year.
What to do: Either wait it out — our Sherwin-Williams said supply should return by the end of summer — or get creative. If you’re not picky about an exact color, there’s lots of “oops paint” — unwanted gallons of paint that, for whatever reason, didn’t match a customer’s intended color.
7. Microchip & new car shortage
The problem: Lots of people bought cars, gaming consoles, and electronics during the pandemic, and the surge in demand has caused a shortage of microchips. And since cars these days require microchips, the shortage has slowed down car production.
Fewer new cars means more people are turning to the used car market, and that has increased the price of used cars.
What to do: If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll want to know when and where to shop, how to deal with trade-ins, and how to avoid extra charges. We answer all those questions on 16 Car Buying Tips & Tricks to Outsmart the Dealerships.