From Social Security to school lunches, the BLS produces information that impacts you and your family on a daily basis.

The Value of Your Money

ConsumerAs a widely used measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures price movements for major groups of goods and services. The CPI report presents price changes on food, energy, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, and education. Average price data for the most popular items are available.

More than just a compilation of indexes, the CPI has many uses that impact the American consumer. For example:

  • Over 80 million individuals are affected by cost of living adjustments determined by the CPI, including military and Federal retirees and survivors, union workers, recipients of food stamps, and Social Security beneficiaries.
  • The costs of school lunches for millions of children are impacted by changes in the CPI.
  • Firms track changes in the CPI to adjust prices of rents charged, royalties received, and insurance policies.
  • Individuals can use the Consumer Price Index Escalation Guide to adjust payments, such as alimony and child-support, for changes in prices. 
  • The CPI is used to adjust the Federal income-tax structure for inflation.

If you would like to see how inflation has affected your income over time, the CPI also provides an inflation calculator on its homepage to illustrate buying power.

Where You Spend Your Money

Consumer Expenditures show you how much Americans are spending on things like gasoline and dining out.

You may be curious how individuals your age are spending their money.  In this table, you can compare your spending habits with the national averages in your age group.Check out these tables, by income and higher levels of income.

You may be interested in how much households like yours are spending on certain items like housing or entertainment. The three persons, four persons, and five or more persons tables will help you compare your family’s expenditures to households with a similar income. 


Other Department of Labor links help you get the most out of your money: