The past several months have seen growing inflation concerns; most major news outlets have been publishing stories about fears of rising costs. Indeed, costs overall are rising faster than usual right now. That’s according to the most recent consumer price index (CPI) report released in April by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It showed the cost of goods increased by 4.2% overall.
While costs are rising in many cases, that does not mean they are rising across the board. In fact, the CPI report shows that 57 items have actually gotten cheaper over the past year. As we go through this list, we will find some items we could have predicted (such as admission to sporting events) and some that are not as easily explained by the pandemic (such as nonprescription drugs).
Thus, some of these items will likely start to increase in cost soon as many events and activities start to look more like they did before the pandemic. As for the others, it’s tough to predict how prices will fluctuate as things slowly return to normal.
Nevertheless, these items were cheaper in April 2021 than they were the year before. Let’s take a look at exactly which items those are based on the percentage decline in price, starting with No. 57 and going to No. 1.
Bread, Coffee and More
- 57. Bread other than white: -0.1%
- 56. Chicken: -0.1%
- 55. Sauces and gravies: -0.2%
- 54. Roasted coffee: -0.2%
- 53. Photographic equipment and supplies: -0.2%
- 52. Cheese and related products: -0.3%
- 51. Financial services: -0.2%
As you can see, there are several food items here with a couple of wildcards thrown in. While these decreases might not seem very large, they would make an impact as you buy more.
Ice Cream and Personal Care
- 50. Personal care products: -0.3%
- 49. Ice cream and related products: -0.3%
- 48. Hair, dental, shaving and miscellaneous personal care products: -0.3%
- 47. Tenants’ and household insurance: -0.4%
- 46. Stationery, stationery supplies, gift wrap: -0.4%
- 45. Cosmetics, perfume, bath, nail preparations and implements: -0.4%
- 44. Beer, ale and other malt beverages at home: -0.4%
- 43. Women’s apparel: -0.5%
- 42. Admissions: -0.5%
- 41. Snacks: -0.5%
Ice cream, snacks and beer are all cheaper now? Very good news indeed. Interestingly, in addition to several food and drink items here, there are also two that would fall under personal care. There is also women’s apparel, which may be tangentially related.
Butter, Flatware and More
- 40. Cereals and cereal products: -0.5%
- 39. Nonprescription drugs: -0.6%
- 38. Butter: -0.6%
- 37. Music instruments and accessories: -0.8%
- 36. Frozen noncarbonated juices and drinks: -0.8%
- 35. Frozen fish and seafood: -0.8%
- 34. Cookies: -0.8%
- 33. Rice, pasta, cornmeal: -0.9%
- 32. Dishes and flatware: -0.9%
- 31. Club membership for shopping clubs, fraternal or other organizations, or participant sports fees: -1.1%
We have mostly food and beverages here plus dishes and flatware for serving it. The exceptions are nonprescription drugs, musical instruments and club memberships.
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More Food and Computer Software
- 30. Soups: -1.1%
- 29. Computer software and accessories: -1.1%
- 28. Women’s dresses: -1.2%
- 27. Bread: -1.2%
- 26. Women’s suits and separates: -1.3%
- 25. Flour and prepared flour mixes: -1.3%
- 24. Tomatoes: -1.4%
- 23. Floor coverings: -1.4%
- 22. Medicinal drugs: -1.5%
- 21. Fresh whole chicken: -1.6%
Still plenty of food items here, but there are four that fall outside of that category. Computer software and medicinal drugs are among the “other” items in this bunch.
Prescription Drugs and Health Insurance
- 20. Frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts, turnovers: -1.7%
- 19. Baby food: -1.7%
- 18. Prescription drugs: -1.9%
- 17. Potatoes: -2%
- 16. Window and floor coverings and other linens: -2.1%
- 15. White bread: -2.3%
- 14. Motor oil, coolant and fluids: -2.8%
- 13. Health insurance: -3%
- 12. Men’s shirts and sweaters: -3.2%
- 11. Audio equipment: -3.2%
The previous two groups included drugs on them, both medicinal and nonprescription. In the group 20-11, we have prescription drugs, which had the largest decrease of any type of medicine at -1.9%. This group is also not completely dominated by food, with only four food items.
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Banking Services, Men’s Outerwear and More
- 10. Checking account and other bank services: -3.3%
- 9. Intracity mass transit: -3.9%
- 8. Medical equipment and supplies: -5.5%
- 7. Admission to sporting events: -5.5%
- 6. Video discs and other media: -6.4%
- 5. Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear: -7.4%
- 4. Eggs: -8.9%
- 3. Window coverings: -9.4%
- 2. Telephone hardware, calculators and other consumer information items: -17.4%
- 1. Food at employee sites and schools: -35.2%
Finally, we have items 10 through 1. Some of these are probably what you would expect, such as intracity mass transit at -3.9% and admission to sporting events at -5.5%. Topping the list is food at employee sites and schools, at a staggering -35.2%.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates used the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2021 Consumer Price Index (CPI) data by detailed expenditure category. GOBankingRates then isolated all (nonrepetitive) expenditure categories that had a price decrease from (1) April 2020 to April 2021 unadjusted percent change in CPI. For these 57 isolated expenditure categories, GOBankingRates also found the seasonally adjusted percent change in CPI for (2) January 2021 to February 2021; (3) February 2021 to March 2021; and (4) March 2021 to April 2021. All data was collected on and up to date as of May 24, 2021.