Florida’s pandemic popularity quickly made it more expensive

In the end, it doesn’t matter where you live; you’re probably struggling to keep up with skyrocketing inflation, which hit a 40-year high last year. But in some places the rate of inflation is actually rising more than in others.

Personal finance site WalletHub looked at the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report in 23 major U.S. metropolitan areas, comparing the CPI to that of two months ago and one year ago.

It turns out that neither New York nor San Francisco made it into the top five, despite all the fanfare about how unlivable they are. That honor went to Miami, where inflation rose 9.9% year over year. For perspective, the New York metro area ranked 10th with a 6.3% increase, while San Francisco was 18th with 4.9%. Headline inflation rose 6.5% year-on-year in December.

Here are the top 10 urban areas where inflation is rising the fastest:

  1. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: 9.9%
  2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida: 9.6%
  3. Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, Texas: 8.4%
  4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: 7.5%
  5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: 8.4%
  6. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Asia: 9.5%
  7. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA: 7%
  8. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Co.: 6.9%
  9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: 8.1%
  10. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-NJ: 6.3%

Don’t let Miami’s number one location fool you. According to Travel + free time, is still one of the best places to live in Florida. So is Tampa, which ranks second on the list.

That Florida takes the top two spots on the list may not be pure coincidence. Many people moved to the Sunshine State during the pandemic, seeking better weather, tax havens and more space. More high-income people moved to Florida than to any other US state during the pandemic, nearly four times the number who moved to Texas, the second most popular destination.

In fact, half of the top ten are Sun Belt states — largely where people with the means left during the lockdown, many of whom made the move permanent. But as more and more remote workers moved into these regions, the cost of living that initially lured them in rose. It’s only logical that inflation grows fastest in cities where demand is hottest.

Regardless of whether your city made the cut, there’s no doubt you’re noticing consumer prices going up — especially if you’re taking a quick look at the egg cartons. Unfortunately, there is no magic way to reduce the underlying costs. But there are small changes you can make to alleviate the overall damage.

The number one step to dealing with spending is to track every dollar, said Lisa Fischer, chief lending and growth officer at Mission Lane Financial Consulting. Happiness. “Write everything down. Whether it’s scribbling in a notebook or entering an organized list, keeping a detailed record helps you visualize your cash flow and cut back where necessary.”

Other top tips that can double as New Year’s resolutions: Make a plan to ask for a raise, replace eating out with meal prep, research investment strategies, and hit some no-spend days.

Staying nimble during such intense inflation can feel like an insurmountable task. But for inspiration, look no further than Cardi B, who said it plainly: “You’re going broke if you don’t start budgeting.”

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