Since the start of the year I have kept an eye on my local supermarket and service station prices in order to see whether inflation or deflation was the order of the day. It soon became apparent that trying to do this weekly or even monthly was not only quite difficult, but also a bit misleading.

My choice of items has been totally unscientific as have my attempts to ‘weight’ the figures to general usage. The prices are from one small town supermarket and a separate petrol station. So please don’t take them too seriously.

So I decided that I would do it now and again. With the election coming up I decided today would be a good time to do another check.

I have, where possible, tried to compare like with like but supermarkets do tend to chop and change their products. This is driven not just by the search for profitable lines but also due to seasonal availability of certain goods.

Since the beginning of the year risers and fallers are as follows:

Risers:

Apples, potatoes, blueberries, bananas, own brand margarine, own brand baked beans, own brand coffee, eggs, own brand toothpaste, air freshener, fuel (of course), own brand corn flakes, cod, and chicken.


Fallers:

Hovis bread, Flora margarine, own brand rice, own brand flour, own brand toilet rolls, beer (brand change drive this), Kelloggs corn flakes, Pedigree dog food, Whiskas cat food and pork chops.

Static. The following have managed to record the same price today as they did at the start of the year:

Carrots, own brand bread, orange juice, milk, own brand canned peas, Heinz beans, Gold Blend coffee, Colgate toothpaste, Harmony hairspray, own brand red and white wines, DVDs and CDs.

Overall prices:

The shopping basket now costs £119.51p as opposed to £115.99 at the beginning of January. This is a rise of £3.52, which is a tad over 3% in three and a half months.

Weighted prices are up from £119.73 to 125.10, a staggering £5.37p or a hairsbreadth under 4.5%.

The basic basket price is now the same as in February, but the weighted prices (which are more like the prices that people actually pay) are showing a marked increase. This is designed purely to try and reflect day to day living, so does now take into account big ticket items such as TVs and stereos etc. It also does not take into account domestic fuel use, which also affects day to day living through the inevitable monthly direct debits or meter payments.

The next set of data will probably be taken about a month after the general election.

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