5 Cheap Items That Used To Be Expensive

photo by Satish Krishnamurthy via Flickr. 

It’s hard not to get down on the economy. Since the recession hit in 2008, the middle class has taken an economic pummeling, but despite financially trying times people (even some of the poorest) tend to have more commodities than they used to.

The plummeting cost of some items may have a lot to do with Americans’ material influx. Here are 5 things that are getting cheaper (unfortunately none of them are your rent).


The cost of many electronics has plummeted in the past decade. Between Moore’s Law which dictates that the number of transistors in a circuit will double every two years (meaning faster processing, smaller price tag, and better technology) and the fact that many manufacturing jobs are now sent overseas to lower wage countries, electronics like PCs have seen a 90 percent drop in price in the past decade.

Televisions are also among the electronic items in retail price free-fall, dropping over 100 percentage points in the last decade when taking into account new features.

Cell phone service

If you’re in the market for a cell phone, now is the time to seize your opportunity. Cell phone services are among the decreasing costs throughout the decade–falling almost 40 percent.

This may have much to do with the sheer volume of cell phone users since 2004, which has further driven prices down. According to a recent U.N. poll, over 6 billion people have access to cellphones worldwide–astonishingly, the report points out, this is more than people who have access to toilets.


Though modest compared to electronic devices, clothing has seen a dip of almost 20 percent in the last decade. Much like electronics, however, clothing has seen a dramatic decline in price due primarily to the institution of outsourcing manufacturing jobs–many of which have travelled all the way to Cambodia in an attempt to deliver cheaper and more profitable products.

Some have deemed an increase in prices over more recent years as an indication of the end to the era of cheap clothing. So back to school shopping may not be such a bad idea–even if you’re not a student.

Used and new cars

In spite of a noteworthy uptick in price between 2007 and 2013, new and used car prices have fallen by around 20 percent in the last decade. This is undoubtedly due to a drastic alteration in the manufacturing processes of large automotive industries.

Over the last decade, robotics have swept the automotive industry by storm, and automated a formerly human operated process of piecing together automobiles. This, of course, has resulted in the loss of automotive manufacturing jobs, as well as a significantly smaller price tag.


If the definition for the phrase ‘silver lining’ was accompanied by a picture, it would be one of a post-recession house. A symptom of the great recession has been a major depreciation in home values nationwide.

This has led to about a 2 percent drop in home values since 2004. Luckily, for homeowners, despite a recent spike in prices, the rate at which home costs are rising appears to be slowing down. This might be the time to nab that white picket fence you’ve been dreaming of.

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James Pero