scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Housing, cars, food: With inflation surging, how much more does everything cost?

Customers stand in line to check out at a market in San Francisco, California.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The last time inflation was this high, it was 1982.

“E.T. the Extraterrestrial” had just premiered, and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” dominated the Billboard Top 100 chart. It was a different world, but like today, the skyrocketing costs of food, gas, energy, and housing were straining Americans’ finances. (Some even called it The Great Inflation.)

The Consumer Price Index jumped 6.8 percent in November, compared to a year earlier, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s not a new problem — inflation rates have trended upward across the globe for months, sparking concern within the Federal Reserve and other areas of business and government.


Here’s what it all means for your wallet.


The items in pantries and fridges have seen dramatic increases in sticker price, with an average bump of 6.8 percent since November 2020.

That’s impacted breakfast favorites: cereal (up 5.7 percent), sweet rolls (4 percent), and muffins (6.6 percent). Egg prices saw an 8 percent rise. And sure, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, unless it’s 7.4 percent more expensive than last year. Coffee, too, is up 7.5 percent.

Keep note: A Dunkin’ spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about iced coffee and donut prices. Dunkin’ costs were up 8 percent nationwide in July, according to the Gordon Hackett analysis.

Fruits and veggies are 4 percent more expensive. Peanut butter (6.8 percent), salad dressing (8.2 percent), and salt/seasonings (6.7 percent) saw the largest gains. Food away from home — at restaurants, fast casual spots, and vending machines — averaged a 5.8 percent increase in price.

An NBC News analysis said it rounds out to a 14-cent bump in orange juice and 24-cent increase on bread loaves.

But ‘tis the season for all things potato: fries, wedges, mashed, and baked. Its price is down by 0.2 percent.


A Mobil gas station in Massachusetts. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/David L Ryan, Globe Staff


Significant increases in fuel oil and gas prices have driven a surge in energy costs, which are now 33 percent higher than last November. Utility gas service also costs 25 percent more. Electricity is up 6.5 percent.

The Associated Press reported that the average cost to heat a home this winter will be an estimated $972, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association. That’s up from the $888 average consumers paid for heat last year.

Last week, Eversource, New England’s largest utility, announced it is seeking a 25 percent rate hike in Eastern Massachusetts due to the surging cost of natural gas, which it uses to power its electrical plants. The company is awaiting a decision but sent an e-mail to customers about its expected approval.

Still, gas prices have started to drop a bit in northern New England. A gallon of gas in Massachusetts averages $3.402, down from $3.404 a month ago, according to AAA.

A year ago, it averaged $2.114.

Transportation and housing

The car market has been disrupted since 2020, when the ongoing supply chain crisis hampered vehicle production. For November, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an 11 percent price increase for new vehicles and a 31 percent increase for used ones.

It’s also more costly to insure (5.7 percent), repair (5.1 percent), or buy new tires (11 percent) for your car. Transportation services overall are up by 3.9 percent. Airlines fares dropped by 3.7 percent, though holiday demand for travel has neared 2019 levels.


The “shelter” category increased by 3.8 percent, with rent up 3.9 percent over the year. Home sales in Greater Boston mellowed out last month with costs down from record highs this summer.

And (almost) everything else

All in all, paychecks won’t go as far.

Everything from bedroom furniture (9.9 percent) to tools and hardware (6.9 percent) sell for more than they did last year. It extends to your closet: men’s apparel (up 7.6 percent), women’s dresses (8.6 percent), and footwear (4.7 percent). And even your holiday shopping plans: Gift wrap prices have increased by 7.3 percent.

See the full item breakdown from the Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

Diti Kohli can be reached at her @ditikohli_.