Following a steady decline and last month's 13-month low, several commentators were predicting a rise in CPI inflation for May, but it has remained unchanged at 2.40%.
This is despite the fact that petrol prices have risen 4.6p per litre to 125.3p, the largest monthly rise since January 2011. Prices for crude oil have risen by more than 40pc in the past year.
However, according to the Office for National Statistics, these effects have been partly offset by price falls in computer games and by energy costs rising by less than they did at this time last year.
So, if you don’t stay indoors playing computer games all day and instead spend money on petrol, perhaps you don’t believe that inflation has been falling recently!
And of course, falling inflation doesn’t mean falling costs – it just indicates that prices are rising more slowly than they were a year ago.
It is also worth remembering that owner occupiers’ housing (OOH) costs are not included in CPI – these are the costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in one’s own home and are included in a different index, called CPIH. And while housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased by less in May 2018, compared to May 2017, the CPIH index did creep up slightly from 2.20% in April to 2.30% in May.
Your personal inflation rate is probably very different to the CPI or CPIH measure – these indexes should of course only be viewed as a general indication of rising costs – but only you really know how much your costs are rising and by how much.
However, if your personal inflation rate is similar to the ONS figure, there are a number of inflation-beating savings accounts to choose from.
Four years is the shortest term that offers an interest rate of more than the current rate of CPI inflation, with Vanquis Bank paying the top rate of 2.52% gross/AER*.
All in all, there are now 20 fixed term accounts that match or beat the CPI inflation rate of 2.40%.
In addition, there are a handful of interest-bearing current accounts and children’s savings accounts that could be used to counteract the effects of inflation - albeit usually for smaller amounts and/or with fewer savers able to access those accounts.
For those who need access to their money or are not able to tie their money up for a longer term, even though they might not be able to beat inflation, switching to a competitive savings account can still mitigate some of the damaging effect that inflation can have on their cash.
Don't accept some of the paltry rates on offer from your high street provider - switching to mitigate the effect of inflation is far better than leaving the funds earning next to nothing.
If you leave your funds languishing in an easy access account paying 0.05%, a deposit of £50,000 would have fallen to just £44,520 in real terms over five years, assuming an inflation rate of 2.40%.
If you were to choose the current top-paying easy access account today, paying 1.30% - available from the likes of RCI Bank* and Shawbrook Bank - whilst the real value of your money would still be lower, it would be worth around £2,800 more, at £47,372.
Refer to our easy access best buy table for more information and alternatives.
Whilst the rate of inflation did not fall again in May, at least the rise that some predicted did not materialise and for savers there are still a number of accounts that are paying interest rates that are greater than inflation - albeit over the longer term.
But even if you can't tie up your money for the longer term, by choosing the best rates for the rest of your funds, you are doing all you can to mitigate the effect of inflation on your accessible money.
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