The official CPI figures are available online. From the last ten years the average CPI has been about 2.5% each year. According to the rule of 72, that means prices should double every 30 years or so.
I drove over to GasBuddy.com and pulled ten years of data for retail gas prices in Anchorage and the USA average.
In 2003, gas prices peaked at around $2/gallon and bottomed at $1.43, with an average around $1.75. Prices in Anchorage averaged a bit higher but were within those ranges.
In 2012, gas peaked at $4.44 (Anchorage)/$3.84 (US), bottomed at $3.24 and averaged around $4 (Anchorage)/$3.75 (US). Those averages are just WAGs from looking at the charts.
An increase from $1.75 to $3.75 over ten years is about a doubling. That works out to an annual increase of more like 8% per year.
I dug out my old college budget. I used to budget $100 per month for groceries. I did not eat a ton of ramen and easy cheese in college. We did a pasta meal once or twice a week, and I was pretty religious about finishing leftovers, but I cooked and ate normal homestyle meals, shopped at a super walmart, and didn't clip coupons. Heather had a similar budget.
Today, we go through about $300/month in groceries for the two of us. While we do buy a few things at Whole Foods, most of our shopping is done economically and in bulk. That is an increase of 50% in less than a decade. It works out to an average of ~5% every year, or double the reported CPI numbers.
Compounding the above, my credit card used to offer 5% cash back on Gas & Groceries. Now it offers 1% back. So my bill for these items has actually gone up even more then the above estimates reflect.
I don't think I really believe the CPI numbers are reflecting the reality of costs for many consumers.
Ryan asks what we're doing. That's a tough question. I am staying the course on my long term & retirement savings. In a moderately inflationary environment, stocks will do better than cash in the mattress (or savings account). I have a fair stack of precious metals. I'm paying a lot of attention to tax planning, in particular to avoid capital gains taxes on illusory paper gains that don't mean squat due to inflation.
We have a decent amount of collectibles & tangibles which will hold their value well. We are squared away pretty well for ammo, food, and other consumables. We have no debt and a healthy emergency fund.
There's really not much else one can do, I think. I guess now might be a good time to take out a mortgage at a low interest rate to pay back with inflated dollars, but I don't want to buy a home that I'm not prepared to live in forever; given the market, I could get stuck underwater in the future.