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9 things that dropped in price this year

9 things that dropped in price this year
Posted at 7:30 AM, Apr 05, 2024

If life has seemed more expensive in the past couple of years, you’re not imagining it. Inflation reached its peak of9.1% in June 2022, which went down in history as the largest increase in four decades, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Inflation has since backed down, with current rates at 3.2%, according to the latest federal data.

What does that all mean for you? You’ve probably noticed your grocery runs are more expensive, you may have received notice that your rent is going up, and your utility bills are probably a little higher, too — all of those are some of the highest-cost categories that, indeed, are affected by inflation.

However, there are some common household items and expenses that actually cost less this time of year compared to last, something that’s known as deflation.

We mined the CPI data and talked to finance experts and found that these nine items have actually gone down in price over the last year.

1. Gas

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Filling up at the pump got a little bit cheaper this year, with gas prices down 4.2%, according to the CPI. (If you fill up with premium, the savings are a little less.) There are many different ideas for why gas prices are going down, but it all comes down to supply and demand, says Kendall Meade, a financial planner at SoFi, a personal finance site. One reason, she says, could be due to more U.S. production of oil.

2. Televisions

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Even though the Feds have indicated they’ll drop interest rates this year, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (the most popular loan type) are still hovering around 7%.

So, how does this affect something like a new LED TV?

“As interest rates increase, we tend to see less discretionary spending,” Meade explains.

TVs are down almost 7% from last year, according to the CPI. The cost of video equipment is also lower.

3. Washers and Dryers

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The overall cost of appliances is down 5.2%, according to the CPI data. But if you really want to save, zero in on washers and dryers because those appliances plummeted by more than 11%, Meade points out.

Just like TVs, these appliances can often fall into the discretionary spending category that’s stagnant.

“While we may still need some appliances as old ones break, you may see less people simply upgrading,” Meade says.

If you’re looking to save on washers and dyers, you may find some additional discounts around Memorial Day.

One of my favorite tips is to shop scratch-and-dent factories, where you can get deep discounts (sometimes as much as half off) on appliances that have small cosmetic issues, like scratches or slight dents. Often these imperfections are on the side of the appliances so you don’t even see them once they’re placed in your home.

4. Smartphones

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The CPI shows that the cost of smartphones went down by 10.5% this year, and this may cause you to scratch your head if you’re going to be spending slightly more on the latest iPhone model. That’s because this category comes with a big caveat: Smartphones are getting better tech and companies are constantly building upon their previous models to make each new release better. So if your phone becomes more valuable with these upgrades, but the price is staying around the same, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as a price drop.

Again, Meade points out, upgrading your smartphone often falls into the discretionary spending category, which helps tamp down on price increases when interest rates are high.

5. Used Vehicles

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As of February 2024, the latest statistics available, the cost of used vehicles went down 1.8%. This is interesting, Meade points out, because new vehicles actually went up slightly, by 0.4%.

It’s a relief to see car prices finally starting to dip a bit, or subside some, says Joe Camberato, CEO of National Business Capital, a lending platform. “Maybe it’s because things are getting back on track with the supply chain, and the crazy rush we saw during COVID-19 has calmed down,” he said.

One thing to consider, though: If you’re financing a vehicle, you typically get better interest rates on a new car because it’s tougher for lenders to nail down the value of a pre-owned vehicle, according to Equifax, a credit bureau. Nerdwallet shows that those with prime credit scores (661-780) can expect to pay 7% interest rates on new cars versus 9.73% on used ones.

6. Apples

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An apple a day can keep inflation away?

Overall grocery prices are up, but there’s certain staples that have actually tumbled in price. While bananas are up 1.7% this year, apples cost 1.7% less than this time last year.

“Last year was a great harvest for apple farmers, but the supply far outstripped the demand,” says Scott Lieberman, founder of Touchdown Money, a finance site. “When that happens, prices start to drop, and that’s the case here. There’s a glut of apples in the market, so now’s the time to buy and break out those recipes.”

Other fruits and veggies that are lower in price this year include citrus, potatoes, and canned fruits and veggies, according to the CPI.

7. Car Rentals

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If you rented a car in 2021 or 2022, you probably were faced with some sticker shock. Rental car companies during the pandemic were selling off cars from their fleet, and then when travel rebounded, they had far fewer cars to meet the demand and prices skyrocketed.

“The market was never going to pay this forever,” Lieberman says. “Renting a car is coming back down to earth slower than we’d like, but it’s getting there.”

The cost of renting a car is down 10% from last year, according to the CPI.

8. Furniture and Bedding

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If you were looking to redecorate or spruce up your bedroom, now may be an ideal time. Furniture and bedding, which also falls into discretionary categories, is down overall by 3.7% this year. The biggest drops are seen in living room, kitchen and dining room furniture, which is down 4%. Bedroom furniture has dropped 2.3%. Clocks, lamps, and other home decor items are down 3%. One thing to note, though: Indoor plants actually went up in cost to the tune of 4.6%.

9. Dresses

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Another interesting trend in the CPI data is men’s and boy’s clothing has gone up in price over the last year by 2.7%, with the exception of suits, which actually went down in price. However, women’s and girl’s clothing went down 1.5%, with dresses, specifically, dropping in cost by almost 4%.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.