Our basket is representative of the goods and services we all use and buy, obviously different people spend different amounts and buy different types from what we use to calculate the basket, but overall, we believe the products provide an example of a typical cart that allows us to measure on a yearly basis. You can find below a more detailed list of what we included and the dates and locations prices gathered from
Price Basket Consist of the following January 2020 PricesBread (Sara Lee White Bread) - $ 2.08 - Potatoes (Russet) - 78¢ cents per LB - Milk Prairie Farms - $4.12 - Bacon (Hormel 16 oz) - $4.98 - Dozen Eggs (Walmart Brand Regular) - $1.58 - Coke (24 pack can) - $7.68 - Water (12 pk Ice Mountain) - $2.48 - Tomatoes (LB Roma) - 88¢ - Butter (15 oz Can't Believe It's Not Butter) - $2.98 - Cornflakes (18 oz) - $3.28 - Pizza (Jacks Pepperoni) - $2.50 - Sugar (4 LB) - $1.74 - Flour (5 LB) - $1.22 - Ground Beef (LB Lean) - $5.24 - Tide Powder (5.93 LB) - $12.96 - Folgers Classic Roast (Sizes - 1 LB 14.5 OZ) - $6.96 - Green Grapes (LB) - $1.48 - Toilet Paper Rolls (Scott 4 pk) - $3.82 - Chicken Soup (Cream of Chicken Campbells 10.5 oz) - $1.48 - 1 Gallon of Gas $2.38
1. Our basket shows a decrease from year to year starting in 2014, which is not surprising when you consider that the price of gas has decreased recently.
2. Some manufacturers change the weight of items which makes it more difficult to reflect real price changes. Most notable was the weights of Coffee and Laundry detergent. They are consistently variable. We have also noticed that the bag of Sugar has been reduced from the traditional 5 Lbs. to 4 Lbs.
3. We have taken food prices from our local Wal-Mart and try to update every few months when we have the time. This is not a super scientific method but we still believe it can show some of the basic effects of inflation on prices in the long term.
4. Fresh produce prices can rise and fall depending on the season, but we still include them with the hope that it will contribute to the information in the long term.
5. Prices from 2008 to 2012 were taken from a Wal-Mart located in a Rural/Small Town populated area in SE Wisconsin. Prices from 2013 to 2016 were taken from a Walmart located in a more densely populated area in Indianapolis, IN.
6. The prices in the graph include all of the food items plus one gallon of gas.
7. These figures are also dependent on special offers by the store or manufacturer or a combination of both.
We spent many hours researching cost of living information for each year and I created this page after being asked a number of times about why I did not include current prices alongside our cost of living information for each year and thought this was the easiest way to make the information available. includes Average Cost Of New Home, Average Wages, New Car cost, Gallon Of Gas and a 1lb Hamburger Meat, 1920 to 2021
We have struggled to find reliable, unbiased figures on the cost of healthcare over the past few years so we do not include that in what we have provided but thought it was important to address the subject with a few observations. Over the past few years, healthcare costs for the average person have seemed to increase significantly, taking up a larger portion of a person's wages than before. What many figures and reports tell us, and what many working people already know, is that employers have been shifting the cost of healthcare to employees by reducing the number of fuller coverage options available for insurance and encouraging employees to use high-deductible plans which end up costing more out of pocket for the individual or family. These changes can significantly contribute to the reasons that wage stagnation has felt particularly hard on the American consumer's wallet in the past few years. There have also been prescription drug price increases as well as decreases with more generic options available, these can also effect the overall cost of healthcare.
The cost of college tuition in most public institutions has also increased dramatically over the past few years, with out-of-state prices increasing a little more than in-state, in general. This has contributed to the fact that more students are leaving college with larger student loans than before. Having large student loans can impact the amount of extra income that many new entrants into the working world have at their disposal as those loans have to be paid back and often have higher interest rates than the current Federal rate. This can make it more difficult for the younger generations to save money, buy homes, and contribute to the economy through spending on higher ticket items like cars and other investment options.