Did you know that a movie ticket used to cost only $5?

Barney from How I Met Your Mother saying,

In 2001, it was much cheaper to see a movie in a theater. In 2020, it cost over $9 — and that's not even including popcorn or drinks (also more expensive).

So what gives?

How did things get so expensive in your lifetime?

You can blame inflation for that!

A man in an interrogation room smiling and raising his hands, saying,

What's Inflation?

A person pressing an up button on an elevator

Inflation happens when prices for the things you buy go up year after year.

Every year, people who study the economy keep track of how much it costs to buy necessary goods like groceries and gas, or pay for services like transportation.

They compare these prices to the prices of the same goods and services from the year before. Then they calculate the percentage prices rose from one year to the next.

So if a basket of groceries cost $100 last year, and the cost went up to $102 this year, the inflation rate is 2% (2 dollars is 2% of $100).

How Do I Calculate Prices After Inflation?

A woman eating a candy bar. The candy bar label reads

Imagine a future where you can buy luxury chocolate 🤑

It's the year 2030 and a chocolate bar costs $100,000. The inflation rate is 1% and the chocolate bar company wants to raise the price at the rate of inflation.

To figure out how much the bar will cost in 2031 after inflation:

  • Take the starting price — $100,000

  • Multiply it by 1.01

    • 1.00 stands for 100% of the starting price

    • the added .01 stands for the 1% increase = 1,000

    • 100,000 x 1.01 = 101,000

In 2031 the bar will cost $101,000!


You want to buy a pair of sneakers for $65. If you apply a 3% inflation rate to the price, how much will the sneakers cost if you buy them a year from now?

How Does Inflation Happen?

Flaticon Icon Too much demand for a product, not enough supply.

  • Demand means how many people want to buy a product.

  • Supply means how much of that product is available to buy in the market.

    • Example: 6000 people want to buy the latest VR game, but only 3000 downloads are available. The VR streaming service raises the price because gamers will pay more to get in on the action.

Flaticon Icon It costs more to make a product.

  • The materials to make a product cost more than they did before, and/or the workers who make the product get paid more than they did before.

    • Example: The game designers got a pay raise this year, and electricity rates went up, too! The company charges more to cover the extra costs.

Flaticon Icon Problems with shipping a product.

  • Accidents, natural disasters, or political problems cause delays in delivering the product to the market.

    • Example: A tropical storm leaves cargo ships stranded in China. Stores in the US only have a few VR headsets to sell, so they raise the price to make up for lost profits.

What Does Inflation Mean For You?

In the future, you won't be able to buy as much with a dollar as you can today.

Imagine you're saving up to buy a $399 gaming console for your birthday next year. The inflation rate is 2.9%. By the time your birthday comes around, the console will cost $410.57 if the price increases at the rate of inflation.

Your purchasing power — how much you can buy with your money will be weaker.

A man playing a video game. He taps on the controller button and video game coins pop out of the controller.


If the rate of inflation stays at 2.9%, how much will the game cost in 2 years if you apply the inflation rate to the price?

Take Action

An animated graphic of a shopping mall. A sign that says

Learn more about inflation!


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