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4 Things Getting Cheaper in 2024

You won’t feel much relief, but there are some categories where prices are coming down a little bit

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Inflation reared its head again in March, with the Consumer Price Index increasing 3.5 percent year-over-year. Driving the uptick in prices during March was shelter and gasoline, which contributed to more than half of the monthly increase in the index. The food index, which has seen double-digit increases since the pandemic, was unchanged. Nonetheless, many consumers aren’t feeling it, since prices on everyday household items remain high. 

“Lower inflation doesn’t mean we are rolling the clock back to 2019 prices,” says Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate. It means “prices will be growing more slowly,” he says. 

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Price declines aren’t widespread, but some consumer products are getting a little cheaper, including these four:

1. Airline tickets

Fuel is a big expense for airliners, but despite higher gas prices, consumers should see airline ticket prices continue to fall. In March, ticket prices dropped 7.1 percent year-over-year, according to the CPI.

“Airline tickets benefit from a downstream effect,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Matt Colyar. “That’s why vacations cost one price this month and another the next week.”​

2. Home heating oil

Like airline tickets, the cost to warm your home is also getting a little cheaper. As of March, oil was down 3.7 percent compared with last year.

When fuel is down, “that provides relief for things like home heating, airline fares and goods,” Rossman says. 

3. Cars

Prices for new and used cars have fallen for months, with new-vehicle prices seeing a slight decline in March and used vehicle prices down 2.2 percent compared with a year ago. Driving the trend is that pandemic supply chain issues are over, which means there is more inventory on showroom floors and used car lots. Also, rising interest rates make it costly to borrow money to buy a new car. That has pressured sellers to resist raising prices pricing in 2023 and will continue to do so in 2024.

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“For new and used vehicles, each month there were modest declines in 2023,” Colyar says. “The same dynamics will continue in 2024.”

Moody’s expects new vehicle prices to decline less than 5 percent in 2024 and used car prices to drop around 8 percent.

4. Certain food at the grocery store

You wouldn’t guess it from your grocery bill, but food prices have been decelerating for several months. The problem is that prices are coming down off record highs, so consumers aren’t feeling the relief. Nonetheless, the USDA expects grocery store prices to decline 0.6 percent in 2024. In March, food at home was unchanged, although sausage, fish, eggs, cheese and some fruit saw year-over-year declines. Eggs are down 6.8 percent year-over-year, apples are 10.1 percent lower and cheese is 3.1 percent cheaper. Breakfast sausage prices are down 4 percent, ham is 4.2 percent cheaper, and fish and seafood cost 2.6 percent less.

“Grocery bills have gone up substantially,” Rossman says.“If it levels off and even declines slightly, that could be a welcome change.”

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