The INFLATION GAME: As prices rocket, let our guide ease the squeeze
The inflation rate has soared to its highest level in nearly a decade. Price rises over the past 12 months hit 4.2 per cent in October — up from 3.1 per cent in September — and economists have warned inflation could soon hit 5 per cent.
But what exactly does it mean for your pocket? From the climbing cost of petrol to the falling price of pizza, Money Mail has analysed reams of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data to help you understand where you might be feeling the pinch, so you know where to make cutbacks that can ease the pain.
Rebecca O’Connor, head of pensions and savings at Interactive Investor, says: ‘Prices are rising generally, but look closely and you’ll see that the increases from product to product vary significantly.
Price rises over the past 12 months hit 4.2 per cent in October — up from 3.1 per cent in September — and economists have warned inflation could soon hit 5 per cent
‘This means it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on your bills and compare what you paid last month or even last week for regular items to see where the biggest hits are.’
Food and drink: Up 1.2%
Food prices have now risen by 1.3 per cent, while the cost of non-alcoholic drinks, such as coffee and juice, have increased by 0.7 per cent.
But supermarket bosses have warned that prices could rise by as much as 5 per cent before the end of the year, as the industry struggles with supply issues.
The choices you make in the supermarket could help mitigate the impact of inflation. The price of whole milk has soared 4.9 per cent, while low-fat milk is up just 2.1 per cent — so could be a good swap.
Food fight: But supermarket bosses have warned that prices could rise by as much as 5% before the end of the year as the industry struggles with supply issues
Butter has risen by 6.4 per cent, but margarine is up 15.6 per cent. Bread now costs 1.6 per cent more, but flour is down 14 per cent after surging during lockdown.
Meanwhile, chocolate is down 1.5 per cent, but ice cream is up 5.5 per cent. Yoghurt costs 9.7 per cent more, but cheese is cheaper by 0.3 per cent.
Pizza and quiche are 2.7 per cent cheaper, and pasta 1.2 per cent. But rice is up 3 per cent.
Similarly, the price of lamb and goat has risen 8.5 per cent, while poultry is just 1 per cent more. And while the price of dried fruit and nuts is up 4.8 per cent, the cost of fresh fruit has risen by 1.9 per cent.
You could save by choosing tea (0.3 per cent cheaper) over coffee (4.2 per cent more expensive).
Alcohol and tobacco: Up 1.8%
IF you are a drinker or smoker, then you will feel the pinch more. The price of wine has risen by 2.7 per cent, while for beer it’s 0.5 per cent.
Fortified wine such as port now costs 5.4 per cent more, but spirits have fallen 0.2 per cent in price.
Cigars have soared in price 6.9% and cigarettes cost 2.9 % more
The cost of tobacco has risen 2.4 per cent, with cigars soaring 6.9 per cent in price and cigarettes costing 2.9 per cent more.
Clothing: Down 0.4%
Buying a new wardrobe is slightly cheaper than it was a year ago. Though, while men’s clothing is down 0.3 per cent in price, women are paying 1.4 per cent less. And men’s shoes are 2.9 per cent more expensive, yet women’s shoes are 1.4 per cent less so.
Children’s clothing is 1.9 per cent more costly, so too are all clothing accessories, which are now priced 9.6 per cent higher.
It will also set you back 8.6 per cent more to hire or repair clothing, and cleaning prices are up 3.1 per cent.
Household bills: Up 6.8%
The rocketing price of energy is a major factor behind spiralling inflation. Gas has now surged 28.1 per cent in price, while electricity is 18.8 per cent dearer. Water costs 2.5 per cent more.
Yet there is very little bill-payers can do to save on utilities. The rising cost of energy means providers are no longer offering discount deals to those who switch suppliers.
Building materials needed for home repairs and renovations have also risen 13.6 per cent.
Home furnishings: Up 5.7%
Now is not a cheap time to be sprucing up your home’s interior. The price of furniture, furnishings and carpets has shot up by more than 10 per cent in all.
Curtains and fabrics now cost 2.1 per cent more, carpets and rugs are priced 5.5 per cent higher, and bed linen is 5.2 per cent pricier.
Household appliances are also more expensive than before. A fridgefreezer is 12 per cent dearer, washing machine prices are up 7.2 per cent and cookers cost 6 pc more.
The only household items included in the ONS data to fall in price are cutlery and silverware, which have decreased 1.5 per cent.
Healthcare: Pills and medical equipment are now slightly less expensive but health costs are higher as dental services now cost 3.8 % more, and hospital prices are 6.7% up
Health costs: Up 1.2%
Pills and medical equipment are now slightly less expensive — with prices falling by 0.6 per cent. Eye glasses and contact lenses are also down in price by 0.5 per cent.
But health costs are higher, as dental services are now 3.8 per cent more expensive, and hospital prices, including private surgery and nursing home fees, are 6.7 per cent up.
Rising transport costs, along with energy prices, are responsible for much of the UK’s inflation surge. And the cost of travel by car has soared over the past year.
Second-hand car prices are now 22.8 per cent higher, owing to a shortage of new motors. Petrol costs 22.5 per cent more, whereas diesel is 20.5 per cent pricier. New motorbikes are 6 per cent more, and bicycles cost 15.7 per cent extra.
But it’s not just motor vehicles that have been hit by inflation. Air travel costs 16.2 per cent more and train tickets are up 3.2 per cent.
Down: Women’s shoes are 1.4 % less expensive than last year. Children’s clothing is 1.9% more costly, so too are all clothing accessories which are now priced 9.6% higher
Communication: Up 1.4%
The cost of sending cards to friends and family this Christmas will be higher than last as postal service prices have risen 5.6 per cent.
The good news is that mobile phone prices are down 4.2 per cent and landline telephones are 1.9 per cent cheaper than last year.
Yet internet access costs 1.5 pc more, and broadband and phone deals are 2.2 per cent pricier.
Leisure and recreation: Up 2.5%
The bad news ahead of Christmas is that toys and games are now 3.8 per cent more expensive.
Garden products are 9.2 per cent pricier, sport equipment is 4.7 per cent more costly, and vet services for pets are up 4 per cent. Camping equipment is also more than 10 per cent higher in price.
Yet books are 1.1 per cent less expensive. And while cinema, theatre and concert tickets are 9.5 per cent pricier, a visit to a museum or zoo will cost you 4.9 per cent less than last year.
Wardrobe: Men’s clothing is down 0.3 % in price but men’s shoes are 2.9 % more expensive
Restaurants and hotels: Up 6.3%
Eating out now costs 5 per centmore than it did last year. And you can’t escape the increase by ordering fast food and takeaways, as these will also cost you 3.4 per cent more.
The rises can be blamed in part on climbing food prices, and the end of VAT relief for restaurants and cafes during the pandemic.
And you’ll have to spend a little more time saving up before you book any holidays, as hotel stays will set you back 14.7 per cent more, and campsite costs are 16.9 per cent higher.