Prices Are Skyrocketing, But Only For Things You Actually Need

Tyler Durden's picture

The way that economic data is presented, we often think of inflation as a singular number representing a general increase in prices.

For example, it might be reported that nominal GDP growth was 3%, and that inflation was 2%. Since the inflation represents a rise in price levels, we subtract it from the nominal rate to get a real GDP growth of 1%.

But in reality, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins explains, price changes do not affect products and services in such a uniform and simple fashion. In the above example, all goods aren’t increasing in price at a 2% rate – that’s just an average. What really happens is that there is a full spectrum of price changes: some goods end up falling in price, while other goods get more expensive.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



This week’s chart looks at the change in prices of consumer goods since 1996, using data provided by Mark J. Perry of AEI’s Carpe Diem blog.

Here’s his original chart, which is also very telling:

The average price increase, as shown by the CPI (Consumer Price Index), is 55% over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, the prices of individual sub-categories have a much wider variance.

The good news is that the price of technology is generally getting cheaper. Software, TVs, wireless, and new cars have all come down in price relative to the CPI. Clothing, toys, and furniture are also way more affordable than they were 20 years ago.

The bad news? Most of the above items are not the ones that really matter to most of us. The things we actually need to live healthy and fruitful lives – education, food, healthcare, childcare, and housing – are all skyrocketing in cost.

Tuition costs have soared 197%. Textbooks have more than tripled in price, going up 207% since 1996.

Taking care of our loved ones is more expensive. Healthcare and childcare costs have risen almost as much: 105% and 122% respectively.

Meanwhile, basic necessities such as shelter and food have increased at rates higher than the CPI as well. Housing costs are 61% higher and food is 64% more expensive.

Source: Visual Capitalist

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People can eat their dogs come crunch time. 

Kids, not so much.

People getting dogs as calorie insurance.  

uzsibox's picture

Idk you can eat your kids afaik, its just not really humane.

dobermangang's picture

Buy your food at Aldis.   They have boxes of Macaroni and Cheese on sale for 0.33 cents this week.  Their can foods are the best value anywhere.  And always have great prices on butter, milk and eggs.

AmandaFawndel's picture

Grow your own food. Buy a pressure canner. Can what you grow, and anything on sale. I just did 25 lbs of Italian sausages @$1.79 a lb. I did 40 lbs of boneless skinless breasts last week @ 99 cents a lb.


I also have about 300 lbs of 'dry canned' goods, beans, cornmeal, pasta, flour, dried milk etc.


WEBSTARAUNT is a great place to stock up on the cheap.....will I ever eat 50 lbs of cornmeal or 40 lbs of black beans????? Fuck if I know, but for $47 I don't give a shit....I might need it!

Allen_H's picture

I have never looked that up, canning, is it easy? I always pickle shit. There are rules to canning, fuck knows where I would find all the cans to do it.

MontgomeryScott's picture

They're called 'Mason Jars'.

Look up 'canning supplies' on the 'net (if you don't have a market that still sells these supplies).


I had a very good friend named Allen, once. He used to go by the nickname of 'ugly'. My children learned to refer to him as 'Uncle Ugly'. He ended up marrying some girl named Shearston, who lived up in RPV (whose brother Danny was the lead singer in a band called 'Oingo Boingo', and was the musical genius responsible for musical scores like 'Batman', as well as the theme music for 'The Simpsons').

He was an excellent welder, by the way.

He and I built a 'bulletproof engine stand' that was easily rated for the weight of a chevy 454 (RUNNING). I provided the materials and machine work, and he did all the welding, back in the old days in Hermosa Beach.

His mom used to can food all the time. She was a woman who was rough at 'first meeting', but loved her family like no other. Over the years of our aquaintance, she softened a bit towards me, I think. She was always worried that I would get her oldest son in trouble somehow.


I don't 'pickle' shit.

After taking one, I usually wipe my ass, and either flush it or bury it.

There are 'rules' for canning, I suppose, just like there are RULES for oral sex.

'SUCK, don't BLOW! YOU know the rules...'



Allen_H's picture

I'm not that Allen, I am another, I am not ugly either, just average looking. What I meant by canning is, there are steps to follow, or it is a fuck up! Your comment was not a good read, better not to of written it at all. It is just full of fucked up opinion and Amerikkkan arrogance.

SPONGE's picture

Picked 100 lbs of Hen of the Woods in the local woods this week.  That's a lot of free protein, calories and cancer prevention. Incredibly tasty.

I garden organically, freeze and can lots of food, have chickens, etc. Sometimes it barely seems worth it economically, but it's who I am.

That will change at some point of hyperinflation (look at Venezuela - $150/dozen eggs) when the economics of producing/foraging your own food will be a necessity. I'm always amazed at all the urban food that is ignored; walnuts, apples and pears, dandelions, nettles, squirrels, rabbits... And, of course, hunting and fishing will become much more common. There's a lot of food all around us that we don't eat.

StagStopa's picture

Yeah, eat that factory "mac and cheese". That shit will kill you.


AmandaFawndel's picture

Boycott the ashkeNAZI jew run media as much as possible.  TURN OFF THE NFL

dobermangang's picture

I cut my cable TV last year.   It's a very popular trend.   Over the air TV is free and good enough.

Cable TV needs an alacarte menu.  Nobody should be forced to pay for channels you never watch.

AmandaFawndel's picture

I've been two years now with no TV at all. If I want to listen to someone lie to me 24/7/365, I'll get remarried!


Seriously, I tried the digital antenna and got nothing. I no longer miss it.

sun tzu's picture

Which is why I cut the cable last summer. I got a Roku box and it has most of what I want. I can pay a couple of dollars to watch any other shows. Even if it costed me the same, at least I'm not subsidizing left wing garbage that I don't watch. 

BabaLooey's picture


If you MUST watch movies, DO SO FOR FREE

Hollywhacker movies - FREE

All the studios - FREE

Use adblock

NO Feebers "warning" neither.


Don't give those asswipes one more cent of your money


Nobody For President's picture

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Since the demise of Putlocker, I have been bereft...

Looks like a wonderful site - fast, good stuff, no ads, No malwarel.

BabaLooey's picture

I even ----------shhhhhhhhhhhh...accidently downloaded a movie from it.

NOW I have a library of Hollywhack movies I can watch.....fer FREE!

Right click on any movie after you pull it up and begin playing it.


Movies on it? Just some.....

Go to the years section. Back to 1998.

Here's JUST 2004's selection - check the pages at the bottom too.

I have;

The Godfather I and II, 3:10 to Yuma, Alien, Aliens, American Sniper, All the Bourne Trilogy, Dragon Tattoo, Excalibur (Helen Mirren!), FIGHT CLUB, Fury, Gladiator, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, Lawrence of Arabia (yes...Pete O'Toole), Master & Commander, Moneyball, Munich, Pulp Fiction, Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank, Silence of the Lambs, Star Wars - The Force Awakens, The Professional, To Kill a Mockingbird (Greg Peck), V for Vendetta, World War Z - just to name a few.

They get some movies (like the DiCraprio Revenant, and the Wolf of Wall St.) BEFORE Redbox.


Casino Royale/Skyfall.....hundreds....the new shit Ghostassbusters....

I've used it for more than a year.

The combo of having adblock and that is wuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnderful.


tarabel's picture



In the days of the big satellite dishes, you could a la carte channels for 25 cents a month. Or pay a set fee and pick 20 or 30 of your favorites.

Lots of service providers made for great competition.

Plus you could get the virgin network feeds for free. I still remember watching Monday Night Football that way. When the commercials came on for the home folks, you didn't see any of that. Instead, the network feed went on and you got to see an audio-less Al, Frank, and Whoever sitting in the booth prepping for the return to action. It was clear that everybody hated Frank Gifford and thought he was an idiot. Very revealing.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

"When the commercials came on for the home folks, you didn't see any of that."

Now that is a way to make some money nowadays..

Allen_H's picture

Good man. Keep it up! I do not even have a TV. those 'programs' are not called 'programs' for nothing.

yngso's picture

That's a growing trend. Some companies are getting smart and offering a la carte.

monad's picture

When is Mark going to become to Marcia?

Rainman's picture

Can't wait to see the old ' Pay Board and Price Commission ' ideas get revived , circa 1971. All that is old becomes new again.

Umh's picture

Or 1935 for that matter.

cherokeepilot's picture

Pay Board and Price Commission ' ideas get revived , circa 1971.

Don't know how old you are, but I was in my 30's during that time and the results from that "Pay Board and Price Commission" idea absolutely sucked.  The housing developers simply changed the name of their various models and then increased the price.  How do I know?  I was a contractor during those times, built custom homes, so wasn't affected.  Any business that could would rename what ever they sold and then raised the price.  It was necessary to do so to remain in business because the suppliers were doing the same.

Let the market set the price!!  If the price is too high then customers will not buy.

KEEP THE GODDAMN GOV. OUT OF OUR FACE, for Christ's sake. Or are you a socialist?





Duc888's picture



"The good news is that the price of technology is generally getting cheaper. Software, TVs, wireless, and new cars have all come down in price relative to the CPI. Clothing, toys, and furniture are also way more affordable than they were 20 years ago."


Bullshit.  Price out a base trim Ford F-150 4x4 ten years ago.  Now price out a 2016 model.

Savvy's picture

I remember as a student in Burnaby I rented a basement suite in a posh area. The neighbors both had Jags and would turn their heads when I drove by in my '86 Corolla. One day the repo guys showed up for the Jags. I drove past the snotty couple in tears watching their status symbols being towed away, rolled down my window, leaned out and slapping the side of my trust bucket yelled "PAID FOR!!"

It felt good.

honest injun's picture

The internet has caused information to cost much less than it used to.  So why are text books and presentation of information from text books (university education) to increase in price?  We have 100+ million adults who are not working.  What is causing non skilled labor (child care) to go up in price?  Technology gets cheaper every year so shy does a technology business (health care) continue to increase in price? if home furnishings, cars, and clothes have not increased in price, why have houses increased?

the_narrator's picture

Things that can be imported are getting cheaper.  Things that can't be imported are getting more expensive.  Things that are getting more expensive are due to that thing requiring physical presence of the practitioner(health care) or regulatory reasons (textbooks).

This is mainly caused by the Chinese investing massively in infrastructure and efficiency and the lack of such investment combined with special interest rent seeking in this country.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

  Things made in the USA inflating, things made in china et al deflating. AU/AG are still on sale. Ammo, dunno as I am overstocked from a year ago. Homes are paid off, cars paid for and well maintained. A few CC bills which are kept paid down and push come to shove can be walked away from with only a credit score hit and a string of annoying debt collector calls. Food stocks are hurting. 2nd home is up for sale and we have two lookers today, hoping for offers and post sale, food stocks will be in the green.

  Auto prices are stagnant? I have been shopping for a good used diesel 3/4 ton truck and I don't see any stagnation. 60k+ for a new one. Yeah, fuck that. Maybe Kias are on fire sale tilting the numbers?


1777's picture

All according to the Globalist/ International socialist plan. Another crises in the brew so they can come in to save the day! Enriching and empowering themselves in the process! Classic.....

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

They forgot to add PM as "Falling in price".  

Went to my fave PM shop in the PDX area yesterday.  Great selection, thin buy/sell price margins.  (No plastic.  Only cash or checks)

(If you go there, tell 'em Capt. Kirk told you about the place.  FYI... on their Margins, I don't get a dime. Am just doing a good deed for good people.)

adr's picture

Software isn't cheaper. Toy prices have more than doubled. 

In 1996 a small action figure like Star Wars or GI joe was $3.99. The same figure is $8-10 now. 

A Hot Wheel car is still $1 but no longer has any metal and is much lower quality. The same Hot Wheels that sold for $1 are now available for $4. 

A Transformer deluxe figure was $6.99 and now it is $17.

From 1996 to 2006, prices barely budged. The huge price increases really started in 2009. I wonder what happened then that could have caused massive inflation? I'm sure the Fed printing trillions had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all,  right? 

A normal top of the line TV in 2006 was $2000. There were some big screen projection TVs that cost $5000. Sure the TVs today are higher resolution and thinner, but they aren't really cheaper. A $150 TV from 1996 is still relative to the $150 TV today when compared to the top of the line TVs. 

In 2000 I paid $30 a month for broadband Internet. A 3.5mb connection that wad actually faster than the 20mb broadband I pay $60 a month for now. There is so much congestion today that the broadband can hardly be called that anymore. Internet access was supposed to get cheaper, but it only got more expensive. 

Sorry but nothing has really gone down in price over the last 20 years. 

silverer's picture

TV's have. Same size and resolution sets have dropped in price. But then, I wouldn't buy one anyway. That's why they are so cheap. It's the propaganda tool the government wants everyone to be able to afford and have so they can pump your brain with electromagnetic poison.

NAV's picture

It’s amazing that more people don’t know what the corporate elites are trying to do to the average American – take our money, and our estates and our country. At the same time, the damage is selective, those who still have the ability to pay must pay double for those who are left behind to be subsidized by the government, such as in most all government services that give breaks to those who can’t pay while doubling down on those who still can.

As for tuition, it is being paid in large part from those who established college savings accounts for their children while educators make no sacrifices in their salary packages and an ever increasing percentage of students, particularly from the third world, are subsidized by the taxpayers and the ever increasing burden on paying students.

The university system is similar to other government entities where the people in charge get to decide who pays and who receives. For instance, the city government of San Francisco is debating whether to give teachers a break on housing because of the high cost in the city; translation: everyone else gets to pay for it. Never mind that the current teacher’s pension in California surpasses $107,000 a year -- with lifetime benefits.

crazzziecanuck's picture

The univeristy system *SOAKS* foreign students.  If you think the average tuition cost for citizens went up, most universities charge TRIPLE for those outside their area.

NAV's picture

In 2014, Chinese nationals were the fastest growing student population in US colleges, with more than 274,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2013-14 academic year. According to the Institute of International Education, students from China now make up 31% of all international students in the United States.

These students are selected from a Chinese population of 1.375 billion (2013). Many of the Chinese students are literally hand selected, often depending on how much money their parents can provide to special preparation companies in China. One such company, ChaseFuture, provides American style prep courses to eager Chinese college applicants. Services include one-on-one preparation, proctored practice tests, diagnostic tests and customized programs, depending on how much a family is willing to spend. Other prep companies look for outstanding students who already can speak English. Critics criticize the universities for taking Chinese students, primarily because of the tuition cash they are able to bring and in that they are selected from the top high school graduates in China undo competition faces American students. All this information was io CNBC, from story written by Dina Gosovsky, entitled "Prep Services Get Chinese Students Into US Schools."

The "triple" charge is largely correct, fitting in with our cash hungry university system, Also, "minority status/preferential treatment" is, in general, not available to Asian applicants. Benefits are available primarily to “Black, Hispanic, Native American and LGBT college freshmen.” 

As for Minority Scholarships:

“A large percentage of the U.S. college population is comprised of minority students from various backgrounds and races, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic and Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and so forth. To qualify as a minority student, you don't need to be a first generation immigrant or the first person in your family to go to college. Specific organizations qualify women or LGBTQ students as minorities.”

As for the white male, he literally appears to be on his own.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

I do not believe cell phone costs have gone down.

silverer's picture

Actually, if you look closely at the plans and how they've changed, they have gone down. At least the service costs are down. If you want a one thousand dollar iPhone, well, then there you go.

yngso's picture

They're not going down as fast as they have been.

JailBanksters's picture

You can now put a TV in every room including the Toilet and watch all the ads for things you can't afford.

Have you noticed the number of ads for loans and Credit cards has gone up ?


Under construction...'s picture

Expect necessities, needs, to skyrocket and wants--things you can do without--to plummet. It's get much worse. 

J J Pettigrew's picture

I think the drag on the economy by Obamacare and its complete failure is understated.

silverer's picture

Things that are decreasing in price are generally categories where government intervention, and added compliance cost, are minimal. Cars are down because few can afford them. If they raised the prices they'd sell none. College and textbooks are up the highest because the government stole the loan business from private lenders. Now it's open season on the taxpayer. Health care is up, of course, because the government got involved and took out free competition.

NoBillsOfCredit's picture

Cars are down? Go buy a new one and tell us then.

Falcon49's picture

Down as in sales....prices are at a point that few can really afford the monthly payment and pay for all the other costs just to live.  Financing has been made available for those at the ragged edge of being able to afford them...(another bubble) and a lot of folks are now leasing rather than buying.  You also see a shift to used cars and private sales.   

Kyddyl's picture

My husband is a Korea vet (drafted) and tough survivor of the 1930's and I was born early in WWII, official war orphan with some early memories of rationing. If he weren't a vet who qualifies for free medical (so far) I don't know what we'd do. I'm younger but really shouldn't work so that I can care for him as he's having memory issues and has cancer. He wants, and deserves to stay in his home. However Social Security and a couple of very small pensions are very fixed incomes. That minuscule "raise" in SS was more than offset by Medicare costs so we operate in the hole more than ever. The mentalities that do this to their elderly citizens and veterans are disgusting indeed.  

And yes, by all means become as self supporting as possible! Also stop using plastic as much as possible, that includes debit cards, and use a good credit union instead of the banks. Hucking the cable is also a great idea. When the big garden and canning starts to be a bit much, be afraid. Be very afraid. 

Nobodys Home's picture

Use your knowledge to teach and help others...ask for a percentage in return....your value is priceless!

Kyddyl's picture

Actually I do. Both in college and in the community. The apathy is still incredible even as things get steadily worse.