High Gas Prices and street scene

Rampant Inflation Continues to Bust Consumers' Budgets

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High Gas Prices and street scene

No Relief in Sight

Inflation remains an unwelcome presence in 2022, driving prices through the roof everywhere, from the grocery store to the gas pump. According to the Labor Department, the Consumer Price Index jumped 8.3% from April 2021 to April 2022, easing off an 8.5% rise in March, but still hovering near 40-year highs. The latest numbers break down these price increases in painful detail, and we've combed through them to find some of the most sobering.

Related: Steps to Take to Outsmart Inflation, According to Experts

U-Haul truck at rest stop

Moving Services: 7.1%

Moving is always a pain, and it’s always expensive. This year,  it will be more of a pain,  with the cost of storage and freight playing into the sticker shock — and prices are unlikely to ease during the busy summer season.

Related: People Are Packing Up and Leaving These States

Female staff at McDonald's deliver food to customers through the door of the car at the pick up point in Bangkok, Thailand

Dining Out: 7.2%

If you’re seeking relief from the high cost of groceries by eating out, we understand. Unfortunately, you’re not getting much of it — the cost of food away from home is up 7.2% compared to last year, though that is better than the overall cost of food at home, which is up 10.8%. Full-service meals are up 8.7%, while fast food isn't much better: Limited-service meals are up 7%. 

Related: The Best Value Meal Deals at Chains Across the Country

Car Rental Rewards

Car Rentals: 10.4%

While rental cars aren't as hard to find as they were in early 2021, prices remain high compared with last year. Experts say they're likely to stay high while the microchip shortage continues to squeeze vehicle supply. 

Yard Work Tool In a Shed
A. Hart/istockphoto

Tools and Outdoor Equipment: 11.2%

If spring has you eyeballing all those around-the-house projects, we’ve got bad news: Getting handy will cost you this year, and as the weather warms up, higher demand doesn't do prices any favors. Outdoor equipment on its own costs 11.9% more than it did at this time last year.

Related: Tools That Are Still Made in America

Real installation of washer and dryer in laundry room

Large Appliances: 12.1%

If ever there was a year to wait for a Memorial Day weekend discount on new appliances, it’s this one. The usual suspects are driving the increase, including labor and materials shortages, factory shutdowns, transportation snags, and pent-up demand. 

Dealer New Cars Stock
Refreshing hot cup of coffee at a cafe

Coffee: 13.5%

High demand, bad weather, and supply-chain issues have all conspired to make your morning pick-me-up much pricier these days. Roasted coffee is up 14.7%, while the instant stuff costs 7.8% more. And no, there’s no relief by grabbing a cup to go — Starbucks, for instance, recently announced its third price hike since October. 

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Buying meat at a supermarket.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish: 13.8%

Unless you’re vegetarian, many meals are going to cost a lot more, driven by the (much) higher price of meat. Ground beef is up 14.8%, pork is up 13.7% (sorry, bacon lovers), and even lunchmeats are up 14.4%. Prefer poultry or seafood? You’ll pay 15.3% and 11.9% more than last year, respectively.

Related: The Price of Bacon the Year You Were Born

Scanning parcel barcode before shipment

Delivery Services: 13.9%

If sending something across the country has given you sticker shock lately, you're in good company. Fuel and inflation surcharges are the name of the game, and even Amazon has started charging third-party sellers a new fee that is likely to trickle down. 

New winter tires for sale in store

Car Parts and Equipment: 14.5%

Car prices are insane right now, so fixing what you have is a smart move. Still, that's also much costlier than last year. One particular pain point: coolants including oil, which are up 17.1% from 2021. The price of tires is up 15.7%. Meanwhile the cost of body work is up 13%. 

shelves of refrigerated milk in store

Milk: 14.7%

This breakfast-table staple continues to creep up in price, and that's unlikely to change a whole lot: The USDA recently forecasted a drop in production from ripple effects in the agricultural markets thanks to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Couple and sofa

Furniture and Bedding: 15%

Whether you want to spruce up the living room or outfit your bed in some crisp new sheets, it will cost you big time. And thanks to supply-chain disruptions at just about every turn of the furniture business, you might not get any furniture orders until long after you’ve placed them. (We especially hope you don't need new blinds or curtains — the price of window coverings is up 24.5%.)

Rolled butter

Fats and Oils: 15.3%

Who can blame us for heaping on the butter or salad dressing in a time of crisis? Unfortunately, the prices of these staples are up big time. Margarine in particular is up a whopping 23.5%.

Navel Oranges in a Wooden Crate
Brycia James/istockphoto

Citrus Fruits: 18.6%

Sorry, orange lovers. Florida’s crop is going to be one of the smallest in decades this year, largely thanks to disease, and international growers have battled bad weather. The news isn't much better for other fresh fruit, either. The whole category is up 8.3% over last year. 

Still life image of brown and white eggs in cardboard egg cartons
Couple travelers with medical masks on hotel reception talking to male receptionist

Lodging: 22.6%

It's never been cheap to stay at a hotel or rent a crash pad for a much-needed vacation, but here’s some bad news for would-be travelers. The hospitality industry has been slammed by plenty of pandemic-related forces — most recently, staff shortages thanks to omicron — and it's still reeling from a massive decline in business travelers even as leisure travel tries to bounce back.

Row of pre-owned cars for sale

Used Cars: 22.7%

With new car prices up so much, plenty of buyers are turning to used cars. The only problem? So many people are trying to save a buck that used-car prices are up big time, too. Experts expect soaring prices to slide later this year.

Related: Cars That Cost More Used Than New

Utility Meter Readers

Energy: 30.3%

Looking at utility bills is never fun, but it has been even less so this year. The cost of electricity is up 11%, but that’s the very least of it. Piped gas costs 22.7% more; propane, kerosene, and firewood cost 26.5% more; and fuel oil is an extremely painful 80.5% more.

Related: A Look Back at the 1970s Energy Crisis

Travelers in a train station during pandemic Covid 19

Airfare: 33.3%

That summer getaway may be calling your name, but the plane tickets will be busting your budget. And rising fuel prices mean we're unlikely to see major price drops anytime soon. 

African American woman at gas pump wearing mask

Gasoline: 43.6%

Gas prices keep hitting record highs, and you probably shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for relief. Experts are warning that $4 gas could be a reality for awhile thanks to several factors, including fewer refineries — and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict is further clouding the picture. 

Related: The Cost of Gas the Year You Were Born

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