The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has diminished over time. If you wanted to purchase something for $1 a decade ago, you’d need $1.34 today to afford that same item. In short, today’s dollar can buy about 76% of what it could 10 years ago.
Given how much the dollar has changed over the past decade, you wouldn’t be alone in wondering how it might change over the next 10 years. While it’s safe to say that your purchasing power is bound to fluctuate during this time, there are no guarantees of just how much.
But since inflation continues to outpace the dollar, there’s a good chance that certain things you can afford now won’t be as manageable in 10 years.
Here are the top household expenses you either won’t be able to afford or will struggle to pay for in less than a decade.
A high-quality mattress is essential to ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, which can also improve your general health and mood. But a good mattress today already costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and costs continue to rise.
“Quality and essential household supplies such as a quality mattress that helps improve your health and reduces your dependence on painkillers from frequent back and body aches” will become painfully unaffordable, said Mafe Aclado, a financial expert and the general manager of Coupon Snake.
Housing and Rental Expenses
The average cost of rent in the U.S. is $1,354, according to Apartment List. Meanwhile, the average inflation rate over the past 10 years is 2.95%. If inflation continues at its current pace, that same apartment would cost around $1,747 in a decade.
“We have seen [rent and mortgage prices] skyrocket relative to the rise in incomes,” said Sebastian Jania, owner of Ontario Property Buyers. “If the trend continues, rent and mortgages will simply be unaffordable for most people.”
Digital Privacy Services
Common digital privacy services like VPNs are currently available to the general public, but they might not be as affordable in the future.
“With the increasing concerns over online privacy and data security, there’s a growing demand for digital privacy services,” said Skyler Fernandes, founder of Finally Fund Admin. “These services, such as encrypted email providers and VPNs, offer protection against data breaches and online surveillance. They come at a cost but are becoming essential as the digital landscape evolves.”
The cost of healthcare is already unrealistically high for many people, as evidenced by the fact that so many struggle to keep up with their medical bills. But as prices continue to rise, it’s only going to become harder to afford this common household expense.
“Medical expenses, insurance premiums and pharmaceutical costs have consistently outpaced inflation, placing individuals in a precarious financial position,” said Edward Reay, owner of Build Fanatic. “As healthcare costs continue to rise, people may find it increasingly difficult to maintain adequate health coverage without incurring substantial financial strain.”
The cost of groceries has risen significantly over time, and it’s predicted to continue to do so in the next 10 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of groceries rose by 13.5% in 2022.
“Grocery bills have gone up over the last couple years with the rise of inflation and look to continue to do so,” Jania said.
Meat in particular seems to be experiencing a significant increase in price.
“From my perspective, the cost of meat might skyrocket, with lab-grown alternatives taking over due to sustainability issues,” said Nikita Sherbina, CEO of Aiscreen. “I predict a 200% increase here.”
Cars and Gasoline
New vehicles also have continued to increase in cost over the years. While you might be able to cut down on these costs by buying a used model that’s still in good condition, that won’t necessarily make buying a car any easier in the next decade. This is especially likely when it comes to cars that run on gas.
“It’s feasible that with electric vehicles becoming the norm, maintaining a [gas] car could cost 50% more due to dwindling supply,” Sherbina said.
The cost of gas won’t make it any easier to afford one of these vehicles either. As gasoline prices increase, Jania said, it “will ultimately result in people not being able to afford gas for their vehicles.”
Home Air Quality Services
Although not every household has specialized home air quality services yet, these have gained in popularity over the years. There’s also a chance that they’ll increase in cost over time.
“As awareness of indoor air quality grows, specialized services for monitoring and improving air quality in homes are gaining traction,” Fernandes said. “These services include regular air quality assessments, HVAC system upgrades and air purification solutions.”
Right now, the cost of fully replacing your HVAC system can range from $5,000 to $10,000 — depending on the size of your home, whether you do the installation yourself and other factors.
If inflation continues at its current rate, replacing such a system could cost upwards of $13,000.
For many families who send their children to private schools, and for those who attend college or university, the rising cost of education has become a serious problem — and a major household expense.
“From elementary school to college and postgraduate studies, the expenses associated with education are continuously rising,” said Scott Allen, co-founder of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. “This may become even more unaffordable in the next 10 years or so, as the demand for skilled labor and higher education continues to rise.”
Utilities and Power
“Historically, energy prices, including electricity and heating, have exhibited an upward trajectory,” Reay said.
Several factors have contributed to these rising costs, including inflation and environmental regulations.
“In the coming years, the transition to cleaner energy sources may further impact utility costs,” Reay added. “As the world shifts towards sustainable energy alternatives, the upfront costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and the development of renewable technologies may temporarily drive energy prices higher.”
More From GOBankingRates
- 5 Frugal Money Habits Americans Can Learn From Other Countries
- The Average Retirement Age in 2023 in the US vs Canada
- 3 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000
- 9 Key Signs You've Mastered the Savings Game