Inflation continues to hound American shoppers.
In October, overall inflation surged by 6.2% year over year, its fastest 12-month climb since 1990, according to Consumer Price Index statistics released Nov. 10 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
While experts previously had predicted a short-lived rise in prices, the inflationary trend now has stretched beyond what many observers expected. When it will end is anybody’s guess.
For now, we all are feeling the pain in our wallets — especially those of us who purchase any of the following items. Their price increases between October 2020 and October 2021 were larger than during any other 12-month period on record, according to the BLS.
Latest 12-month price increase: 5.9% for full-service meals, 7.1% for limited-service meals
The cost of a restaurant meal is enough to give any patron heartburn. Both full-service and fast-food establishments are hiking prices.
Several factors are driving the rising costs. For example, in New York City, an overall rise in both wholesale food prices and wages is forcing restaurant owners to pass on those costs to customers, according to Grub Street.
For some cost-cutting advice from a pro, check out “A Former Restaurant Critic Shares 11 Tips for Dining Out.”
Laundry and dry cleaning services
Latest 12-month price increase: 6.9%
Keeping your clothes tidy may also clean out your wallet. What’s behind the price increase?
You’ll never believe one factor: As it turns out, dry cleaners cannot get their hands on enough hangers, which have gone AWOL due to supply chain issues.
Rick Bhula, who owns a handful of dry cleaners in Florida, says the price of a box of hangers has more than doubled, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.
Hotels and motels
Latest 12-month price increase: 25.5%
After more than a year of being cooped up at home, pent-up demand for travel has exploded. That has translated into a surge in the price of hotel rooms.
Don’t let such sticker shock keep you at home. For tips on trimming your bill, consider “10 Ways to Score Free Lodging for Your Next Vacation.”
Household furnishings and supplies
Latest 12-month price increase: 6.1%
These days, the cost of sprucing up your home can threaten to land you in the poorhouse. Prices for household furnishings and supplies jumped 6.1% between October 2020 and October 2021. This is a broad category that includes things like:
- Window and floor coverings and other linens
- Furniture and bedding
- Housekeeping supplies
- Other household equipment and furnishings
Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear
Latest 12-month price increase: 9.3%
This category offers a telling insight into what is happening to prices overall. For much of the pandemic, men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear, as well as women’s attire like dresses, have experienced price declines.
But now, prices are jumping — just as millions of workers are returning to the office.
Latest 12-month price increase: 10.2%
This will be no surprise to those who have been following price trends in recent months. Throughout 2021, the cost of both new and used vehicles has skyrocketed, largely due to supply chain issues.
Now, the price of new trucks just saw its largest 12-month increase on record: 10.2%.
The cost of new cars also climbed in October, rising 9.2% year over year. That is not the largest rise on record, but it is the biggest surge since September 1980, when the nation was in the grips of its last major inflation scare.
Latest 12-month price increase: 4%
When times are tough, we all like to escape into a little entertainment and recreation. Alas, even that oasis of calm is coming at a higher price these days.
Prices are surging for recreation commodities, a category that includes many types of items, such as:
- Video and audio products
- Pets and pet products
- Sporting goods
- Photography equipment and supplies
- Recreational reading materials
- Toys and games
- Sewing machines, fabric and supplies
- Musical instruments and accessories
Computer software and accessories
Latest 12-month price increase: 3.6%
High-tech is getting highly expensive, with the prices of software and accessories seeing their largest 12-month increase on record in October.
Latest 12-month price increase: 4.5%
The fact that prices in this broad category just saw their largest 12-month increase on record is a reminder of how widespread price increases have become. Some of the things included here are:
- Hair care, dental care, shaving and other personal care products
- Stationery, stationery supplies and gift wrap