Though each person is effected by the rate of inflation, the unique individual circumstances means it is not the same. For example, the following chart shows how 1994 inflation was broken down into its components

Category % you spend Inflation Your

per category factor Inflation

Food/beverages _________ 0.023 _________

Housing _________ 0.025 _________

Apparel _________ -0.007 _________

Transportation _________ 0.033 _________

Medical care _________ 0.047 _________

Entertainment _________ 0.025 _________

Other _________ 0.044 _________

Total 100% _________

The typical breakdown in 1994 was

Food and beverages 17%

Housing 41

Apparel 6

Transportation 17

Medical Care 7

Entertainment 4

Other 7

To figure out you personal inflation, let's say that you spend 22% of your income on food and beverages. Put that in the form above, multiply by 0.023 and enter on the far column. Do that for each category and the total will determine how you actually did compared against the "norm" of 3% for last year.

Admittedly the percentages change each year and I'll see if I find some new figures. Otherwise, the use of comparable numbers now is probably O.K. since inflation overall is staying low.