Five expenses are probably causing consumers the most pain

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Many of the costs consumers pay regularly have gone up over the last year

February’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose more than expected but inflation over the last 12 months has moderated, rising at a rate of 3.2%. But some things that consumers pay for regularly have gone up a lot more, and these expenses may be causing the most pain.

Car insurance, car repair and maintenance, renting or owning a home, pet care and child care are steadily increasing, putting a dent in most household budgets.

One of the biggest pain points is car insurance. Over the last 12 months, the cost of insuring a motor vehicle has shot up by 20%. It didn’t go down in February, rising 0.9%.

Industry experts point to several reasons for the increase. They say there are more serious traffic accidents and the costs of parts and labor to have risen. When vehicles are a total loss, the costs of replacing them are also higher.

And it costs more to keep them running

Not only is it costing more to insure cars and trucks, but repair and maintenance costs have risen 6.7% since February 2023. Those costs were up 0.4% in February.

Next is shelter, which rose in cost by 0.4% last month and is 5.7% higher than February 2023. Renters faced a 0.4% one-month increase with rents up 5.8% year-over-year. 

Shelter wasn’t any cheaper for homeowners. Owners’ equivalent of rent expense rose 0.4% for the month and is 6% higher than a year ago.

The cost of caring for a pet is also still rising. Veterinarian services rose 0.9% last month and are up 7.9% yearly.

Caring for children also costs more. Childcare services are lumped in with tuition and school fees, all of which went up 0.4% in February and are 3% higher on the year.

While it’s true that some costs have actually gone down – like airfares – they aren’t costs that consumers usually have to pay each month.

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