It's not your imagination---almost everything does cost more today.
Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports on a comprehensive study done by Mark Dotzour, an economist at the Real Estate Center of the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, and he says from fruit to nuts to almost everything you buy, stuff costs more today than it did in 2009--with one significant exception.
"Everything we buy that has been exported from China is cheaper," he said.
It's true. Television are down 67% in price since 2009. Cameras are down 28%. The cost of toys are down 25%. Personal computers are down 39%. Appliances are down 9%.
But the cost of cable television to watch on that cheap TV is up 16%. Airline tickets are up 31%. Car insurance is up 24%. All types of food costs are up, with uncooked ground beef up 30%, eggs up 12%, carbonated drinks are up 4.6%, and coffee is up 7%.
Staying at home doesn't help. Electricity costs are up 9.7%, water and sewer service up 35%, and homeowners insurance is up 18%.
Many of the increases can be died to the 117% increase in the cost of gasoline since 2009. But Dotzour concedes that 2009 was the depths of the Great Recession, and, with fewer people working and fewer factories operating, the market price of a barrel of oil fell to a low of $33, and gasoline in San Antonio was selling for as low as $1.30 a gallon.
"If all you did was buy television sets every year, your cost of living is going down a lot," Dotzour joked.
He says despite all the hand wringing about the minimum wage and the plight of the middle class, it is rising wages as well as the rising cost of gas which is leading to the price increases.
He says the Internet is also helping keep prices down for items which are frequently purchased on line, like electronics.
He says items which are made overseas are the ones that are falling in price.
"The television set, the stereo, your personal computer, sporting goods, toys, all that stuff that we import from China has all gotten cheaper," he said.
Dotzour says from electricity to cigarettes, the rising costs of federal regulation has also been responsible for rising prices.
He also points out the droughts in Texas and elsewhere are responsible for much of the rise in food prices.