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9 Things That are Cheaper Than They Were Years Ago


WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock.com

Rising prices are front and center for American consumers right now as inflationary costs for many familiar goods and services start sinking in. (Here’s “5 Things Getting Hammered by Inflation Right Now.”)

Look back 10 years, though, and you’ll see that prices for some everyday purchases are still low by comparison.

From mortgage rates to milk, we’re paying less now than a decade ago for the following things.

Pasta

African American couple cooking
Uber Images / Shutterstock.com

Pasta is one of the foods we cite in “20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling” due to how long it can keep.

More good news about this staple: The average price for a pound of spaghetti or macaroni is at a 10-year low, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s down to $1.09 per pound as of this July, versus $1.27 per pound in July 2011.

Mortgage rates

Couple with house keys
Rido / Shutterstock.com

Freddie Mac, a federal agency, has tracked mortgage rates paid by borrowers since 1971.

The average monthly rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87% this July — down from 4.55% in July 2011.

And if 4.55% sounds high today, consider that the average rate for the same type of loan has been as high as 18.45%, a peak reached in October 1981.

If you’re in the market for a new mortgage, you can get an idea of what rates you could qualify for by using Money Talks News’ mortgage rate comparison tool.

Solar energy installation

Worker installing solar panels
zstock / Shutterstock.com

The cost to install a home solar system fell dramatically in the last decade. In the last quarter of 2020, prices reached “their lowest levels in history across all market segments,” says the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The group’s research finds that “an average-sized residential system has dropped from a pre-incentive price of $40,000 in 2010 to roughly $20,000 today.”

Wondering how you can get an incentive like a tax credit for installing solar energy? Check out “8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners.”

Cheese

Cheddar cheese
HandmadePictures / Shutterstock.com

Prices for two popular cheeses tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — American processed and natural cheddar — are down from 10 years ago.

As of this July, the average per-pound price was $3.97 for American processed cheese and $5.39 for natural cheddar cheese. Those are down from $4.09 and $5.60 in July 2011, respectively.

Airfare

Traveler holding boarding passes and passports at the airport
TravnikovStudio / Shutterstock.com

The inflation-adjusted average price for a domestic airline ticket hit $260 in the first quarter of 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics‘ most recent data.

That’s up compared with the all-time low of $248, reached in the third quarter of 2020, amid the second peak in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But the latest inflation-adusted average domestic airfare is far less than it was in the first quarter of 2011 — $422.30.

Coffee

Man with a coffee mug
Anutr Yossundara / Shutterstock.com

Java lovers, rejoice: The average price of a pound of 100% ground roast coffee has dropped from $5.55 in July 2011 to $4.56 this July, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

It’s nice to know that your morning fix sets you back a good bit less these days.

Gasoline

A couple pumps gas at the gas station
View Apart / Shutterstock.com

Unleaded regular gasoline was $3.23 per gallon this July, versus $3.65 in July 2011. Unleaded mid-grade gasoline was $3.58 this July, versus $3.78 a decade prior. Even unleaded premium is a hair below its July 2011 price, BLS data shows.

Diesel, at $3.32 per gallon in July, is down from $3.95 at the same time in 2011.

Flour

woman putting food in pantry
maroke / Shutterstock.com

The average price of 1 pound of all-purpose white flour has fallen from 53 cents in July 2011 to 37 cents as of this July.

Household fuel oil

Heating oil is delivered to a home
Palatinate Stock / Shutterstock.com

The average price of household fuel oil, such as heating oil, has fallen from $3.70 per gallon in July 2011 to $2.98 this July.

Milk

Little girl with milk moustache, smiling.
karelnoppe / Shutterstock.com

Despite being up from prices in 2020, the cost of a gallon of fortified fresh whole milk remains down slightly compared with a decade ago. The average price was $3.63 as of this July, versus $3.65 in July 2011.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.