No, you’re not going crazy: The sticker shock you’ve been feeling the last year is very real.
According to new data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index, the government measure of what Americans pay for goods and services, rose by 7 percent in 2021, marking the highest rate of inflation since 1982. December 2021 was also the third month in a row in which it rose by over 6 percent. Even taking out the notoriously unstable costs of products like food and energy, the inflation rate in December for the remaining consumer products was 5.5 percent, still the worst since 1991.
"[T]his report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Wednesday.
SKIP AHEAD Ongoing sales to shop this week
Nevertheless, companies have found that they can raise prices without losing customers, who for now haven’t slowed down their shopping, according to Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.
“In the past six months, we’ve heard a chorus of CEOs on quarterly company earnings conference calls talk about their ability to raise prices with very little pushback from consumers,” he told NBC News.
To combat inflation, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates three or four times in 2022. The last time inflation rates reached this level, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates significantly, which led to a recession but also brought down inflation.
Higher prices or no, Pinterest has still published its Pinterest Predicts 2022 report, prognosticating about what people will be buying this year. Among the trends it’s seeing in the near future: curved furniture, bright colors in apparel, silk loungewear and lingerie, and old-school oversized clocks and luxury men’s watches.
For now, though, frigid temperatures have crept over much of the continental United States, which is why we spoke to experts about the best heated gloves you can buy right now. Paired with our piece on smart thermostats, you should be cozy inside or out until the winter winds die down.
New from Mark Levinson, Malaya Organics and State Bags
Here are new launches we think you’ll want to know about.
Launched at CES 2022 and available to buy now, Mark Levinson has unveiled its first portable product, the No. 5909 wireless headphones with adaptive active noise cancellation. According to the company, these headphones have 34 hours of playback (30 with noise cancellation), aluminum core components, a leather headband and replaceable leather ear cushions and 40 mm beryllium-coated drivers. (Many audiophiles believe beryllium creates less distortion when used in the drivers, which are the part of the headphones that convert electrical signals to sound.) They come with a hard-shell carrying case.
The female-founded beauty brand Malaya Organics is now selling five of its most popular skin care products in a single travel-ready gift box that covers five steps of a beauty regimen: cleanser, exfoliant, mask, hydration and moisturizer. Describing it as a “complete,” all-in-one facial care system, Malaya has also put the Discovery Kit on sale.
New York City-based State Bags has described its new Smith Zero Waste bag as exactly that: a backpack that contributes no waste to the environment, made from a zero-waste pattern and recycled materials. It can fit up to a 15-inch laptop in its laptop sleeve, has a roomy main compartment and front zip pocket for smaller items and has an interior pocket for a phone, according to the company.
Ongoing sales to shop this week
Here are notable sales and deals from popular retailers and Select reader favorites.
- Walmart’s End of Year Clearance Sale means you can get up to 85 percent off select products.
- Madewell will give you up to 70 percent off select items with the code CLASSIFIED in a sale ending today.
- Victoria’s Secret is reducing prices by up to 60 percent for its Semi-Annual Sale and will give you $20 off a $50 purchase through Feb. 23.
- HP will take 58 percent off select products during its Back to Business sale through Jan. 15.
- EyeBuyDirect is slashing prices by 50 percent on select styles.
- Sur La Table‘s Winter Sale price reductions are 50 percent off select items.
- Ulta will let you take up to 50 percent off select skin care during its Love Your Skin event through Jan. 22.
- Kate Spade will reduce prices by an extra 30 percent for sale styles with the code LNGWKND through Jan. 17.
- Leesa will take up to $400 off mattresses, 15 percent off bundles and 30 percent off bedding and cushions through Jan. 14.
- Bed Bath & Beyond is having its Big Bed & Bath Event through Jan. 17, with up to 25 percent off.
- BuyBuy BABY is hosting a Big Deal Baby Sale through Jan. 17.
- Lululemon has discounts on select men’s and women’s styles during its We Made Too Much sale.