15 Items Surging Under the Effect of Inflation

Sam Mire


A cognitive disconnect exists between official inflation figures and consumers’ shriveling bank accounts. While the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported a 3.5% rise in the cost of goods and services between March 2023 and March 2024, many suspect some numbers-cooking is making that figure appear as low as possible.

Even if some goods and services have seen a modest 3.5% inflation in the past year, there is no such thing as equality of inflation. Some items – essential items, in many cases – have proven especially vulnerable to price hikes. 

If you shop or track your finances, you may have noticed these 15 items account for an increasingly disproportionate percentage of your spending.

1. Video Discs and Other Media

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As consumers embrace minimalist, back-to-basics living, retro electronics seem to be making a comeback. Millennials and older Americans remember the thrill of perusing Best Buy’s DVD racks for hours on end. Some consumers are cutting the streaming cord, embracing nostalgia, and returning to the disc.

As retailers shutter their DVD sections, experts see DVD and Blu-Ray making a vinyl record-like comeback. Shrinking supply and rising demand would help explain the 30.1% rise in video disc prices, as would video game sellers, raising their prices by more than 16% in 2024.

2. Juice and Other Drinks

orange juice
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O.J. Simpson was recently the focus of news headlines, but let’s talk about different kinds of out-of-control juices: Orange, apple, pomegranate, and Jamba. 

Beverages saw a 27.5% price rise between March 2023 and March 2024, prompting consumers to wonder if manufacturers are squeezing too few cranberries and too many shoppers’ wallets. The masses’ essential stimulants, coffee and tea, have seen noteworthy price surges due to “supply shortfalls.” The truth is, virtually every beverage from Mott’s apple juice to Red Bull has spiked.

3. Auto Insurance

Scared woman in back seat of car
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

It’s oddly comforting to know my auto insurer is not the only one raising rates without warning or explanation. GEICO-inflicted misery loves company, after all.

Insurers continue to cite tickets and accidents as the most likely reason for rate increases, but Americans are suffering higher premiums without getting off their couches. The more likely culprit for the 22.2% rise in auto insurance premiums is rising labor and parts costs. Inflation has tentacles in every aspect of society, including the mechanic’s bay.

4. Household Repairs

DIY repairs
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Homeownership has never been more expensive. The new A/C unit or kitchen sink costs more, and you also pay a premium for the HVAC specialist and plumber’s time.

Household repairs cost 18% more in March 2024 than in March 2023. If the AI economy has you fearing for your professional future, there’s never been a more profitable time to go to trade school.

5. Caregiver Services

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You can’t even wallow in your disability without being reminded of inflation’s crushing effects. The cost of caring for sick and disabled individuals rose by 14.2% in one year between 2023 and 2024.

An aging American population has prompted greater demand for caregivers, and the average monthly cost of placing a loved one in a nursing home (in certain parts of the country) can top $10,000

6. Auto Repairs 

Man repairing car
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

As if Americans’ average auto loan interest rate of 13.5% (yikes!) wasn’t a heavy enough albatross, the cost of fixing your predatorily-financed Kia Sonata is also rising.

Your oil change costs you, on average, 11.6% more than a year ago. The oil is no better – greater than 10% more expensive. When you consider it, walking isn’t that bad of an option.

7. Beef Roasts

Roast Beef
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It seems like a random entry, but the statistics are what they are. Uncooked beef roasts, including but not limited to chuck roasts, rump roasts, and rib roasts, are roasting meat lovers’ bank accounts thanks to an 11.2% price rise in the past year. Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner (next week, if we can afford it after paying for the dog’s surgery and the light bill). 

Don’t expect any beef relief soon, either. Thousands of cows in the heart of America’s cattle country perished in recent Texan fires, and a reduction in supply is never good news for consumers’ wallets.

8. Veterinary Services 

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Vets have never been shy about adding the extra vitamin or fecal exam to owners’ bills, but the cost of bringing Fido to Dr. Doolittle is particularly gutting these days. A 9.6% increase in veterinary service expenses has many of us looking for holistic at-home remedies to our animals’ ills.

Many owners are turning to pet insurance to mitigate veterinary costs. As is always the case with insurance, though, the cost of premiums could prove a losing financial proposition (though you should consider it, just as you should consider anything).

9. Baby Food and Formula

Baby Food
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Though exceptions exist, this list is populated by items we can’t go without. Baby food and formula are non-negotiables if you like your child and want to keep them, yet you’ve paid 9.9% more (in the last year alone) to nourish your baby.

Where once experts blamed supply chain disruptions for a baby formula shortage, we now receive no sufficient explanation for why feeding our kids costs so much. “Everything is more expensive, and it’s going to keep getting more expensive. Deal with it.” say those in charge, probably.

10. Legal Services 

Corporate Lawyer
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Beating a traffic ticket or suing your employer for wrongful termination has never been so expensive. Legal services increased by 8.8% in the past year or so, and we suspect a correlated rise in the number of “what’s the difference between a lawyer and Count Dracula” jokes during that span.

Law firms are paying more to attract attorneys, rent offices, and implement the latest technology. These cost increases get passed down to (who else?) the client through higher hourly rates and contingency fees. Maybe it’s time to try LegalZoom.

11. Outpatient Hospital Services

Kid with doctor
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As you visit your doctor for stress-induced palpitations, you are certain they result from rampant inflation. Know that you’re paying 8.3% more for the visit and will likely pay even more for the same visit with each passing month.

55% of Americans have medical debt, and at least one provider charged $722  to “push” medicine into a patient’s IV. How can one justify an 8.3% annual increase to essential services already so exorbitantly inflated? 

12. Tax Services

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I dare you to find something more insulting than being charged more to slide your hard-earned money to the middle national Monopoly board. With tax preparation services increasing by 7% between 2023 and 2024, you’re paying increasingly more to “pass Go” (i.e., not go to jail for tax evasion) with each passing year.

If you’re lucky, you have an aunt who is a CPA willing to do you a big annual favor. Most Americans aren’t lucky. They’re just paying 7% more for TurboTax. 

13. Cruises (Ship Fare)

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When we read that “ship fare” has increased by 6.8%, our research leads us to believe this refers primarily to cruises. Long considered one of the most cost-effective vacations, cruises allow the most cash-strapped Americans to let loose on the cheap—but increasingly less so.

The post-pandemic jailbreak prompted a surge in cruise demand, and some fares increased as much as 37% between late 2022 and late 2023. Cruises remain one of the most affordable ways to be an international traveler (or just a drunken sailor for a few days), and prices are set to climb higher in 2024.

14. Hot Dogs

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Is nothing sacred? When highly processed, tubular mystery meat is succumbing to 6.2% inflation (in just one year), are we officially ready to write humanity’s obituary?

Americans find once-cheap food sources, including fast food and frankfurters, are no longer so cheap. We know we are in dire financial straits when Ramen is the only remaining poverty food.

15. Food from Mobile Vendors (including Vending Machines)

Vending Machines
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Whether you buy food from the taco truck outside your law office or the vending machine in your school’s cafeteria, you’ll see a 6.2% markup from March 2023 to March 2024.

Pair this price hike with the ever-present threat of shrinkflation, and it’s far more frugal to pack a sandwich and a Ziploc of chips. 

16. Lettuce

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You once thought those who said, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy” were making excuses to eat Fritos and Pop-Tarts every night. However, with lettuce rising in price by 5.8% between 2023 and 2024, your suspicions are becoming increasingly less reliable.

OK, you’re still right. It doesn’t change the fact that health foods (lettuce included) are wilting under the heat lamp of inflation.

Size Shock: 12 Household Staples Shrink Under the Weight of Shrinkflation

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Have you noticed that some of your favorite products from the grocery store are getting smaller, but their prices aren't? Welcome to the world of ‘shrinkflation,' where companies subtly decrease the size of their products while keeping prices the same.

Size Shock: 12 Household Staples Shrink Under the Weight of Shrinkflation

16 Household Items You Didn’t Know You’re Wasting Money On

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Now and again, we find ourselves discovering a useless product in our homes—an item we once believed would transform our cleaning or cooking habits from subpar to superstar. Lots of these items existed in the infamous “As Seen on TV” commercials, promising to add joy and ease into lives overflowing with mess. As these items and other random household belongings pile into the pantries, taking up crucial space, we wonder, do we need to spend this much money on nonessential items?

16 Household Items You Didn’t Know You’re Wasting Money On

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