While the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for increasing the prices of many things, it also led to some things lowering in cost. Continue reading to see what got cheaper in 2020.
According to an article published by ABC-affiliate, WCPO, 60% discounts on clothing for work or social gatherings were common in 2020. For example, the cost of women’s dresses declined 11.2% from December 2019 to December 2020.
The cost of men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear dropped 13.4% from December 2019 to December 2020. So, what caused these steep declines? Simply put, demand for them dropped significantly since most people were on lockdown. As a result, the items were not selling.
9. Non-Motor Fuel Oil
Prices of non-motor fuel oil, a.k.a. residential fuel oil, saw the steepest decline last year on the Consumer Price Index, dropping 20% from December 2019 to December 2020. Non-motor fuel oil includes oil used for heating, cooling, cooking, lighting, and other appliances and household equipment.
Firewood, kerosene and propane are not included in this category. These three fuels saw a decline of 2% collectively in 2020. Additionally, homes heated with oil may continue to get a break during the winter.
According to an article published by The Associated Press, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected a 10% decline in spending for home heating oil this winter. This is especially good news for those living in New England, an area that is heavily dependent on heating oil, The Associated Press said.
Gasoline prices fell 15.2% from December 2019 to December 2020. And, it makes sense as demand dropped due to stay-at-home orders. Even early in the year many states had seen their average gas prices drop below $2 a gallon. And, it wasn’t just one type of gasoline that saw price declines.
According to an article published by Money Talks News, all three types of gasoline included in the Consumer Price Index fell in price last year. Unleaded regular saw a decline of 15.6%, unleaded midgrade saw a 13.1% price decline, and unleaded premium saw a price decline of 12.9%.
FYI: Gasoline wasn’t the only type of motor fuel that fell on the Consumer Price Index last year. Other motor fuels such as propane, natural gas, kerosene, alcohol and electricity sold for use in consumer automobiles saw an even steeper price drop than gasoline.
Airline fares saw a price decline of 18.4% from December 2019 to December 2020. Not only that but hotel rooms in big cities like New York and Chicago that used to go for $400 were going for just $100 a night. Rental cars were cheaper, too.
Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told CNBC that travelers should expect prices to go up once travel bounces back after there’s widespread access to the coronavirus vaccine. However, that shouldn’t cause too much worry.
“What’s important to note is that you don’t buy average fares, you buy available fares,” said Keyes.
In other words, people will be buying flights based on where they live and what’s a good deal for them.
In August 2020, mortgage rates were near an all-time low of 3% on a 30-year fixed, and they dropped to a record low yet again in December. According to Bloomberg, it had been the 16th time mortgage rates dropped to a record low that year.
“The average for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 2.66%, down from 2.67% last week and the lowest in data going back nearly 50 years, Freddie Mac said in a statement December 24, 2020,” a Bloomberg article reads.
“The housing market is poised to finish the year strong as low mortgage rates continue to fuel home buyer demand,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Moving into 2021, we expect rates to hold steady, but the key driver in the near term will be the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the execution of the vaccine.”
5. New Cars
According to an article published by Cincinnati, Ohio, ABC-affiliate WCPO, new cars became cheaper in 2020. For example, both Kia and Hyundai offered 0% financing on some vehicles.
Meanwhile, others offered big cash back bonuses. Ironically, though, used cars were not cheaper. In fact, the cost of used cars rose.
“The average used car is now $21,000 according to USA Today, up $700 this summer,” WCPO reported back in August. The reason was due to short supply and high demand for cheap used cars.
4. Student Loan Payments
Ever since the pandemic arrived and people began losing their jobs or have had to take a cut in pay, lenders have been very flexible, giving borrowers a break on their debts. That’s true of the federal government as well, who cut the interest on federal student loans to 0%.
The government has even been allowed borrowers to skip payments. This 2020 student loan relief was scheduled to end on January 31, 2021, but newly-elected President Joe Biden extended that relief to September 30, 2021.
Do you do a lot of your shopping online? If you do then you should you know that many retailers (Sephora, Staples, Walgreens and others) are now offering free shipping during the pandemic. If, by chance, you happen to be on a website and don’t see free shipping offered, ask the live chat operators for it anyway.
“A lot of times these live chat operators are just sitting there with a coupon code for free shipping ready to hand out to those who politely ask,” Rather be Shopping blogger Kyle James says, according to an article published by Click2Houston.com.
2. Credit Reports
It’s important to know what’s in your credit report. It lists financial information such as your current debt, loans, bill payment history, and bankruptcy filings. It also shows where you live and work, and if you’ve ever been sued or arrested.
Companies and lenders use your report to calculate your credit score, which is used to determine your interest rate on loans and credit cards. Your report is sometimes even used to determine your eligibility for a job.
So, as you can see, it’s important that you access your credit report to check for inaccuracies and then fix those errors as soon as possible. But, in order to gain access to your credit report, you must first pay a fee — at least if you want to check your report more than once a year. However, thanks to the pandemic, the three credit reporting agencies have now been offering free weekly online reports good through April 2021.
Many artists in 2020 were forced to cancel their tours due to the pandemic. As a result, many of them gave live concerts from their homes for their fans to view online.
Meanwhile, other artists participated in Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz battle series, which pairs up two prominent singers who compete to see whom has the better catalog.
It’s the “must-see remote-but-live viewing for rap and R&B fans while live shows and festivals are sidelined by COVID-19,” Vulture.com wrote on its website.