Inflation is the word on everybody’s lips. Are prices going to rise faster than incomes in 2021? Are we going to have cost of living pressures on top of our new high unemployment rate?

The latest inflation data came out this week and they tell a story of rising prices – but only after falling prices in 2020. That’s right. In the midst of the turmoil of 2020, life actually got cheaper. You may not have noticed, and that’s OK – there was a lot going on – but prices fell sharply in the middle of the year and are bouncing back now as the next chart shows.

Life actually got cheaper for Aussies as COVID took hold.

Life actually got cheaper for Aussies as COVID took hold.Source:Supplied

If you zoom out enough, it actually nets out. After falling a bit, prices rose a bit and we ended up with low inflation for the last year: The average price of things rose just 0.9 per cent.

But the detail is not neat and calm and perfect. The pandemic has scrambled many parts of our economy. Some things that were once cheap are now expensive. Some things that were expensive are now cheap. To avoid getting screwed and not waste your money, you need to know what’s moved.

Here are some of the great post-pandemic bargains.

Bargains of the pandemic include cakes and women’s clothing.

Bargains of the pandemic include cakes and women’s clothing.Source:Supplied

A lot of these are things we didn’t buy much of in 2020. Like, it’s nice that bus fares have gone down I guess, but I have been avoiding public transport for many months now, and judging by the mostly empty buses I’ve seen going by, so have you.

That’s the way economics works unfortunately. Things we need desperately go up and the things we’re not buying go down. Supply and demand, baby! Jump on them early before everyone else does and the price goes back up.

But there are a couple of surprises in the mix. One is cakes and biscuits. Is everyone on a diet now after packing on the COVID kilos?

The other one that looks like a surprise is women’s clothing. But is it really? With working from home still in full flight, the need for women to buy a new Gorman top for the office is lower than ever before. And actually, women’s clothing has been falling in price for some time. In the last eight years, men’s clothing hasn’t gone up or down but the price of women’s clothes has fallen almost 20 per cent.


The pandemic made some things a lot dearer. This is what you should be avoiding if you can.

Cleaning products and cars have become more expensive.

Cleaning products and cars have become more expensive.Source:Supplied

Can I just say to the cigarette smokers of Australia, you’re experiencing more inflation than anyone else. The price of cigarettes goes up 10 to 20 per cent every year, and it’s mostly tax. You’re really taking the hit for the team there.

For the rest of us, the surprise price rise is cleaning products. We all went hygiene-crazy when COVID came along and that hasn’t gone back to normal. It’s been a big year for Spray ‘n’ Wipe.

Also, notice that appliances have gone up. We’re spending much more time at home and everyone is deciding it is time for a new fridge or a dishwasher. But if you get on that train now you’ll be spending 10 per cent more than you would have a year ago.


Overall food prices are up 2.3 per cent compared to a year ago. That’s uncomfortable. But if you buy beef your grocery bill is probably looking even heftier.

Beef has had a steep rise in price in Australia.

Beef has had a steep rise in price in Australia.Source:Supplied

Best to stick to those drumsticks and wings for a while yet: The price of chicken is still at December 2019 prices. In fact, chicken prices have gone up only about 5 per cent in 10 years, while beef is up over 40 per cent in that same time. Mmm, chicken. Tastes like value.

Extracted in full from: