The current inflation rate is 3.7% — higher than the Fed’s longstanding target of 2%, but much more forgiving than in 2022, when it was at 40-year highs and approaching double-digits.
Even so, prices are not cooling evenly, and some products and services are still getting more expensive. Many others cost much more than they did just a few years ago, even if their prices are now holding steady.
GOBankingRates used inflation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the St. Louis Fed and a variety of other sources to identify 100 things that are breaking household budgets. Here’s a look at the products, services and experiences that cost way too much.
A Trip to Disneyland
Disney’s California theme park announced yet another round of parkwide price increases — the last one came exactly one year earlier. Day passes, multi-day passes, park-hopper tickets, annual passes, parking and hotel valet service are all more expensive, with some increases topping 10%.
A Visit to Disney World
It’s not just Disney’s SoCal location. Its flagship park in Orlando also hiked annual pass prices by nearly 10% — the most expensive Incredi-Pass now sells for $1,449.
Whether you visit Disneyland or not, you should expect to pay 10% more to fly than you would have pre-COVID-19 pandemic due to high fuel costs, a labor shortage, fewer flights and strong customer demand.
In 2023, the average U.S. hotel room rate was 17% higher than in 2019 and 38% higher than when rates were unusually low during pandemic-era shutdowns.
If the rising cost of hotel rooms turns you off, don’t expect to find relief with p2p rentals. The cost of Airbnb bookings rose by 36% between 2019 and 2023, more than doubling hotel inflation over the same period.
At the end of 2023, a survey by campsite booking app The Dyrt found that half of all campsites raised their rates in 2022, another half planned to raise their rates in 2023 and more than a quarter raised their rates in both years.
The cost of sugar has been rising quickly and steadily since the pandemic. In September, the price hit a record $0.97 per pound, up from $0.60 at the start of 2020.
While the infamously high price of eggs has fallen dramatically since its peak in 2022, cereal is now making breakfast more expensive. Prices have risen 14% year over year, with a single box now commonly costing more than $5 thanks to rising grain and sugar prices.
A gallon of milk cost about $2.85 at the start of 2019, but the pandemic sent dairy prices soaring to over $4.20 in the fall of 2022. While prices dipped in the ensuing months, a gallon is now approaching $4 once again.
The price of crackers, too, is outpacing inflation. The cost rose by nearly 7% between last September and this September.
Cooking Fats and Oils
The cost of edible fats and oils — including peanut butter — is up 5.6% year over year.
The cost of rice rose by 5.5% between the end of last summer and the end of this summer, outpacing the overall rate of inflation.
Even as food inflation has been subsiding, the price of apples rose by 8.5% between last summer and this summer.
Household Paper Products
The price of housekeeping supplies, in general, went up over the last year, but household paper products have led the pack with a 6.5% increase since last fall.
Meat and Seafood
The pandemic made bacon prices sizzle, peaking at over $7.60 a pound in October 2022. While breakfaster lovers got some temporary relief in the ensuing months, it’s now back over $7.00, up from $5.25 in March 2020.
The price of shelf-stable fish and other seafood is up 5.3% from the start of last fall.
Already pricey in the post-pandemic meat aisle, the cost of uncooked beef steaks jumped by nearly 10% between last fall and this fall.
Beef and Veal
It’s not just T-bones and ribeyes. The cost of beef, in general, as well as veal, rose by 7% year-over-year this September.
The price of poultry, in general, has dropped over the last year, but not uncooked turkey — expect to pay nearly 7% more for your bird this Thanksgiving than last.
Sweets and Snacks
In 2023, the year-over-year cost of baked goods jumped by 12.9% — double the rate of food inflation and more than three times overall inflation. Cookies are 16% more expensive than last year and bread is 12% more expensive.
Major food companies like Nestle, Pepsico, Coca-Cola and Unilever have increased their prices over the last year even as overall food prices have cooled, sending the cost of the dozens of popular snacks they produce skyward.
Candy and Chewing Gum
The rising cost of sugar has pushed up the cost of candy by 7.5% between last September and this September.
On Oct. 23, cocoa futures hit $3,786 per metric ton, the highest since January 1979, due to global shortages. Since there’s typically a delay between changes in commodity futures and supermarket prices, the cost on the shelf hasn’t changed much. However, analysts agree that the highest cocoa prices in 44 years are certain to translate to soaring chocolate prices in the coming months.
Vending Machine Food and Drinks
If you’re planning to avoid the high price of the cafeteria at work or school, don’t expect much relief at the vending machine — prices rose by a sky-high 16% year-over-year.
The price of beer, wine and spirits all rose faster than overall inflation since last fall, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to Vinepair, the price of packaged adult beverages has soared by nearly 103% since 2000.
Frozen Juices and Drinks
Consumers have enjoyed significant relief at the grocery store over the last year — but not in every aisle. The cost of frozen juices and noncarbonated drinks soared by more than 21% between September 2022 and September 2023.
Frozen and Refrigerated Bakery Products
Frozen bakery food like pies, tarts and turnovers are 7.7% more expensive than they were at the start of last fall.
Juices and drinks aren’t the only budget busters in the freezer aisle. The September CPI report found that frozen vegetables cost 14.7% more than they did at this time last year.
Sauces and Gravies
A 6.7% increase in sauces and gravies between last summer and this summer has made it harder for families to add flavor to their meals.
Although shoppers noticed that prices weren’t rising as fast in the produce aisle over the last year, the cost of salad dressing rose by 12.1% between August 2022 and August 2023.
Anyone who hosted a barbecue the last two summers in a row might have noticed that the price of condiments soared by 8.9% between last August and this August.
Rising restaurant prices were one of the defining features of post-pandemic inflation, and diners are still watching menu prices rise faster than food, in general. The cost of dining out grew by another 6% between September 2022 and September 2023.
The price of full-service dining is up, but not as much as fast food, which saw prices rise by 13% in 2022. While prices are no longer rising nearly as quickly today, it’s now common to see value meals that sold for $5 six years ago at places like McDonald’s going for $13, $14 or even $15.
Fast Casual Dining
Between fast food and full-service dining is fast casual, which no longer guarantees a less expensive meal out of the house. Industry giants like Chipotle have raised their prices four times in the last two years.
The School and Work Cafeteria
The cost of eating at employee sites and schools rose by an eye-popping 56% between last August and this August.
While used car prices have fallen from their post-pandemic record highs, the average previously owned vehicle is still selling for $26,510. With the average loan APR at 11.4%, the average monthly payment for a previously-owned vehicle is $569.
New car buyers face an average price of $48,334. The average monthly car payment is now $736 with a loan APR of 7.5%.
The cost of renting a car rose by 48% between May 2019 and this summer, meaning that a car that cost $100 to rent pre-COVID-19 costs $148 today.
Industry data shows that Uber’s average fare jumped by 30% from the start of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, then by 41% between Q3 2019 and Q3 2022 for a total of 83% over the entire 45-month period — about 17.5% per year.
Gas cost $1.35 per gallon or less from 1978 to 2000 when adjusted for inflation and didn’t breach $2 until 2004. The price topped $3 briefly in 2008 and then again from 2011 to 2014. While the cost per gallon has fallen from its $5 record-high peak in the summer of 2022, it has been stubbornly stuck above $3.50 ever since.
The price of fuel oil has risen by 8.5% year over year since last fall, more than doubling the overall inflation rate.
Car Repairs and Insurance
Leftover pandemic-era challenges and long-term trends sent car repair prices up by 20% between the summer of 2022 and the summer of 2023 — even as overall inflation dropped significantly in that time.
In August 2023, the price of car insurance rose by more than 19% compared to August 2022, the highest annual increase in 44 years.
While the price of some bikes has fallen slightly in 2023, the COVID-19-era boom still has most bikes costing between 10% and 40% more than they did in 2019.
The price of boats climbed by 20% between 2019 and 2021. Then, in 2022, the average MSRP jumped by another 10%. In 2023, prices continue to rise, with the values of outboards and sterndrives increasing especially quickly.
The price of personal watercraft (PWC) like Jet Skis, WaveRunners and Sea-Doos is dramatically outpacing inflation, same as boats. According to JetDrift, a high-end PWC cost $2,399 in 1982, when a typical household could buy 9.8 PWCs with an entire year’s salary. In 2022, a comparable PWC costs $19,199, leaving the typical household able to buy just 3.5 units with one year’s pay.
The median home price has fallen from its peak of nearly $480,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022, but only to $416,100. It was about $320,000 from 2018-2020.
With construction materials and hourly wages up more than 40% since 2019, the cost of most major home remodels has increased by double-digit percentage points.
The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage topped 8% in late October, the highest since 2000.
According to Rent.com, the average monthly rent is $2,011, which is just short of the record high. Rent rose by 9.29%, or $171, over the last two years and by 22.5% since the start of the pandemic, adding $368 to the monthly tally.
Across-the-board supply price increases have forced hot tub retailers to raise prices by double-digit percentages every year since the pandemic, often adding thousands of dollars to the MSRPs of these already expensive big-ticket items.
According to Pool Magazine, nearly three out of four pool builders raised their prices by more than 30% between 2020 and 2022, with a majority increasing prices by 40% to 50%. Pools that cost $40,000 pre-pandemic are more likely to set homeowners back $65,000 today.
Outdoor Equipment and Supplies
The price of tools, hardware and outdoor equipment and supplies rose by more than 6% — but outdoor gear dragged the category down the most with an 8.1% year-over-year increase.
As attendance continues to decline, movie tickets keep getting more expensive. The average ticket now costs $11 — up from $9.11 in 2019 — but it’s more like $28 in places like Manhattan.
According to the Wall Street Journal and SeatGeek, the average price of a concert ticket has doubled in post-pandemic times, from $125 in 2019 to $252 in 2023.
According to Morningstar, the average cost for tickets to a sporting event was $109 in August 2023, up from $89 one year earlier. The average NFL ticket costs $612 this year, up from $468 in 2022 and $418 in 2019.
According to Global Toy News, more than four out of five retailers raised the price of toys in 2022 — fewer than industry analysts expected, considering that 95% of toy companies received price increases last year.
Cord-cutting was hailed as a cost-effective alternative to cable TV, but thanks to “streamflation,” it now costs $87 to maintain subscriptions to the top streaming platforms — more than the $83 average monthly cable bill. The average cost of a monthly streaming subscription increased by 25% this year.
The cost of listening to recorded music and music subscriptions also adds to the price of household media budgets. The price rose by nearly 7% between September 2022 and September 2023.
Cable and Satellite TV
If you’re considering switching to cable or satellite for relief from high streaming prices, consider that providers have raised their prices at an average of 10%-15% annually for the last decade. Xfinity prices went up by 18% in 2023. DirecTV increased its prices by 17%.
The price of sporting goods soared from 112.29 CPI points in 2019 to a record-high 127.554 in 2022, putting everything from cleats and baseball bats to fishing rods and kayaks out of reach for many families. The ripple effects have doubled the cost of hiring an umpire from $40-$50 pre-pandemic to roughly $90 now.
The average gym membership cost $112 in January 2019, then cratered to roughly $100 per month when the pandemic hit. But in the ensuing years, prices have recovered and then some, with the average fitness club now charging nearly $130 a month for an increase of almost 15% since the pre-COVID-19 era.
According to the Care.com Cost of Care Report, here’s how the weekly price of child care has risen over the last decade:
- Nanny: $736, up 56% from $472 in 2013
- Daycare: $284, up 53% from $186 in 2013
- Family care center: $229, up 80% from $127 in 2013
- Babysitter: $179, up 92% from $93 in 2013
Baby Food and Formula
Baby food and formula, already at an all-time high, rose by more than 9% year-over-year since last fall.
At the start of the 1970s, the average person spent $1,951 in today’s money on health care, but by 1980, it was more than $3,000, and by 1990, it was more than $5,000. By 2021, per capita healthcare spending was $12,914 per person, and today, it’s just shy of $15,000.
Medical Equipment and Supplies
Part of the reason health care is so expensive is that the cost of medical equipment and supplies has risen by 8% in the last year alone.
Per capita spending on retail prescription drugs has soared over the last six decades, from $101 in 1960 — adjusted for inflation — to $147 in 1980, $433 in 2000, $820 in 2010 and $1,147 today.
It’s not just trips to the pharmacy that have gotten more expensive. The price of non-prescription drugs rose by 8.4% year-over-year, ending in September.
It’s not just toothpaste and floss. According to a new study from Synchrony, more than nine out of 10 people are putting off dental care because they can’t afford the treatment they need. The price of dental work rose by 5.3% in the yearlong period ending in August alone.
Personal Care Products
The cost of shaving and oral hygiene products rose by 7.2% in the last year alone, on top of post-COVID-19 increases from the two years prior.
Personal Care Services
Personal care services for things like beauty and fitness are nearly 6% more expensive this year than last.
Consumers paid 14.3% more for electricity in 2022 than in 2021, and electricity for heating homes is expected to cost 10.2% more this winter than last.
Water used to be the cheapest utility bill, but in 2022, the average monthly water and sewage bill was roughly $118 — 51% more than the year before.
The cost of removing your trash from the curb is getting more expensive, too, rising by nearly 7% between last fall and this fall.
The price of cell phone plans has risen by 34% over the last decade, with 4% year-over-year increases since 2013. The average is nearly $160 per month or roughly $2,000 per year.
Those still clinging to landlines have probably noticed that the ever-rising price of residential phone service increased by more than 6% last year alone.
Since the start of the pandemic, “Consumer electronic companies have been increasing prices two to three times a year by almost 2%-4% each time due to rising input costs,” according to the Economic Times. The result is an average price increase of 18% to 25% on everything from smartphones to laptops between February 2020 and today.
The USPS is proposing its fourth stamp price increase in two years and its 18th since 2000. If enacted, the price of basic postage will rise by two cents, from $0.66 to $0.68.
It’s not just the post office. Shipping costs are rising much faster than the overall inflation rate, too. FedEx and UPS will both raise their rates by 5.9% in late December, which could be interpreted as good news — both carriers hiked their prices more last year.
Men’s Pants and Shorts
The price of apparel, in general, rose by 2.3% over the last year, but men’s pants and shorts carried most of the category’s inflation with an 8.1% rise in prices between last September and this September.
The other apparel category that has suffered heavy inflation is women’s outerwear, which rose by 9.3% year-over-year.
Women’s Underwear and Swimwear
This summer, the price of women’s swimwear and underwear was up by 7% from the summer of 2022, nearly doubling the overall inflation rate.
Similarly, the price of jewelry was up 7% year-over-year this summer, nearly twice the general inflation rate.
The price of dry cleaning and laundry services rose by 10.1% between May 2021 and May 2022. This September, the BLS reported another year-over-year increase of 6.7%.
Other Apparel Services
Other apparel services like alterations, shoe repair, clothing repair and clothing storage more than doubled the inflation rate of dry cleaning, rising by 14.5% over the last year.
Few products succumbed to post-COVID-19 inflation more than pet food, with average Amazon prices for popular dog food brands rising by 45.5% between 2020 and 2023, from $27.91 to $39.56 per product. A case of wet dog food that cost $19.92 in 2020 now costs $28.65.
Vet bills rose by 7.5% since last fall, and other pet-related services weren’t far behind at an inflation rate of 6%.
Hobbies and Skills
The average cost of musical instruments rose by 7.5% from 2021 to 2022, with some — like trombones, trumpets and flutes — soaring by 20% or more. Then, between September 2022 and September 2023, the average price rose by another 7.9%.
Sewing Equipment and Supplies
If sewing is your hobby of choice, expect to pay 5% more for sewing machines, fabric and other supplies — and that’s just the year-over-year increase ending in September. Average prices had already risen significantly between the start of the pandemic and 2022.
Nearly three out of four parents have at least one child in extracurricular sports or other activities, and according to Lending Tree, almost two-thirds have had to take on debt to afford the $731 annual per-child cost.
The cost of attending a four-year college full-time — including tuition, fees, room and board — rose from $10,231 a year in 1980, adjusted for inflation, to $28,775 in 2019-2020 for an increase of 180% over 40 years. According to the Education Data Initiative (EDI), the cost in 2023 is $38,436.
According to the EDI, the average cost of K-12 private school tuition in 2023 dollars is now $12,350. The average family now pays $312,026 for kindergarten through four years of post-secondary study.
School supplies are no longer affordable for many households, with some studies showing that the cost rose by 25% over the past year alone. The average family now shells out about $230 from the start of the school year.
Law firms have been raising their rates to compensate for inflation. The result is a 12.4% increase in the cost of legal services between last September and this September.
The average funeral cost is now more than $7,800, a 6.6% increase over five years. According to the BLS, inflation increased the price of funeral services by another 6.3% between September 2022 and September 2023 alone.
The cost of tax preparation increased by nearly 10% in the last year alone.
The cost of having your house professionally cleaned has risen by 15% over the last five years on average, but in big cities like New York, prices have risen much faster.
In 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported that Americans were dusting off their old lawnmowers, because landscaping services were much more expensive — services like mowing and power washing rose by more than 20%.
Storage and Moving
While storage unit prices have fallen from their 2022 peak of $1.19 per square foot, they still average $1.04, up significantly from pre-pandemic prices of $0.88.
While the average cost of moving is down from its 2022 high of $454, it’s still hovering just over $400. In 2019, it was less than $350.
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