Cost of living: See how much your spending has increased over the past five years | UK News



Prices increased over the past 12 months at the fastest rate in 40 years, putting pressure on already stretched household budgets.

The latest increases have been driven by rising household energy and fuel costs. But how much has your individual spending gone up in the past five years?

Use our new calculator to see how much prices are rising on the groceries, clothing and leisure activities you buy.

Which prices are increasing fastest?

Food costs have increased, but you won’t notice the fastest price rises at the supermarket.

The prices of goods, such as clothes, have gone up the most. Womenswear now costs a third more than it did in 2017, while menswear prices have increased more than 25%.

Bikes cost £200 more than they did five years ago, an increase of almost two thirds.

Services have also become a lot more expensive. The average takeaway costs 22% more than it did five years ago.

A few things have become cheaper, such as potatoes and washing up liquid, but most items have gone up in price.

More than four-fifths of the items in our database are more expensive than they were in 2017.

Is it more expensive to live a healthy lifestyle?

People on plant-based diets may feel the pinch more than meat-eaters. Vegetable prices have increased 9.8% on average since 2017, compared to just 3.6% for meat products.

Alcohol has only gone up by 5.8% on average. Although, you will notice more of a difference if you like to drink out, as alcoholic drinks at pubs and restaurants now cost 11.9% more than they did in 2017.

Is there worse to come?

Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, says that we’re still at the “thin edge of the wedge of inflation”.

“There’s still a lot more pain to come,” he says. “And it’s the least affluent households that are going to see much higher rates of inflation as they spend more of their income on food and energy.”

We’ll continue to update our spending calculator over the coming months so you can see how you’ll be affected.

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Methodology

The ONS collects these prices by visiting thousands of shops across the country and noting down the prices of specific items. There are upwards of 100,000 prices published every month, from more than 600 products.

The items that form the ‘official shopping basket’ change each year to reflect how the purchasing habits of the population have changed. For example in March 2021, after a year of the pandemic, hand gel, loungewear bottoms and dumbbells were added, while canteen-bought sandwiches were among the items removed.

Where there aren’t the exact equivalent items available at a survey shop, ONS officials pick the best alternative and note that they’ve done this so it’s weighted correctly when the averages are worked out.

Shops are weighted as well, so the price in a major chain supermarket will have a greater impact on the average than an independent corner shop.

To get our figures, we’ve made an average for each item in each month that takes into account the weightings of these shops and the month of the entry, so more recent price information is weighted more heavily. We’ve ended up with a figure that takes into account every price entry from the previous 12 months. We will be updating these figures each month while the cost of living crisis continues.

During the pandemic, more of the survey was carried out over the phone and work is ongoing to digitise the system to be able to take in more price points by getting data from supermarket receipts, rather than making personal visits.


Data journalists: Daniel Dunford, Amy Borrett
Interactive: Ganesh Rao
Design: Phoebe Rowe, Brian Gillingham


The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We gather, analyse and visualise data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite images, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.



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