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What is inflation?

Inflation is a measure of how prices of goods and services are changing in the UK, and it can have a big impact on people’s household finances.

Each month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes the latest annual inflation rate, which measures the change in the price of regularly purchased products (known as the basket of goods and services) compared with the same time the previous year.

Some goods contribute more to the overall inflation rate than others – if some products see a large increase in prices, while others stay more stable, then inflation would be driven by the changing prices in that spending category.

So, how the headline inflation rate affects your household depends on which products you tend to spend your money on. This calculator estimates a personal inflation rate for your household.

How to use the calculator

This calculator estimates a personal inflation rate based on your household spending patterns and compares this with headline inflation. You will be asked how much your household spends on a range of categories including:

  • groceries
  • housing
  • transport
  • leisure

The calculator will also estimate your spending on other areas, based either on the UK average spend, or if you provide your income, then on average spending for a household on your income level. Details of how we have estimated your spend are included in the further information section. If you would like to provide your own estimates for these other spending areas too, you can do so using the "detailed" button in the tool.

The calculator will:

  • estimate how much your monthly spend has increased over the past year
  • show you how this compares with previous years
  • break down which items are contributing most to your cost-of-living increases

When thinking about your household spending, consider the spending of every person you live with, including partners and children. If you live in shared accommodation, or do not know the spending patterns of others in your household, just provide your personal share of expenses.

For the most accurate estimate, provide detailed costs for as many of the fields as possible. It is also important to consider irregular purchases, such as household appliances or a new car, and include the average amount this costs you per week, month or year.

Further information

About the calculator

Our measures of inflation are designed to reflect the change in prices of goods and services bought by all households.

The calculator uses the latest available inflation indices, but it cannot predict how prices might affect you in the future. It also cannot account for any changes in your spending habits over time or for variation in prices of products within a category (for example, whether you buy supermarket own-brand or premium-range groceries).

The calculator uses our most comprehensive measure of consumer prices inflation, which is the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH). The CPIH is identical to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) but includes the costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in one’s own home (such as repairs and home improvements). It does not measure the change in the value of a house. In this calculator, we use mortgage spend, and repair and maintenance costs, as a proxy for owner occupiers’ housing costs.

The CPIH covers household spending on goods and services but not spending by businesses.

The calculator assumes that expenditure categories are adjusted by inflation. Some expenditure, especially on large items such as vehicles, may be fixed over a period, so monthly payments would have remained unchanged.

Using data from the Living Costs and Food Survey, an indicative average spend for each category is provided to allow users to compare their spending with similar households; the inflation rate for the average household will differ slightly from our headline measure of consumer price inflation, the CPIH, as more thorough weights and methods are used for the CPIH, in line with international guidance. Indicative average spend for each category was last updated on 19 June 2023.

Indicative average spend is used in the standard version of the tool to reach your personal inflation rate. For spending categories where you do not provide your own information, the tool assumes you spend the average amount for a household on a similar income. To use your own spending for these categories, you can complete the detailed version of the calculator, accessed through the “your spending” page.

If you have any questions about this personal inflation calculator, please email cpi@ons.gov.uk.


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