I remember when a can of Coke was 25 cents. My parents could buy candy for a penny! Today you might pay a dollar for a soda, and nothing costs a penny. So what happened?
Inflation, that's what. Inflation is often called "too many dollars chasing too few goods." It's when prices in a country rise across the board. If your favorite snack gets a bit more expensive, that's not inflation. But when the price of your snack, bread, sugar, gasoline, and many other things all rise at the same time, that's inflation. Inflation means your money buys less than it used to.
Experts have different views on why and how inflation happens. One reason for inflation is an increase in the supply of money. Generally, when the supply of something goes up, the demand for it goes down. In other words, its value goes down. So when there is a lot of money circulating, each piece of money becomes less valuable.
Another cause of inflation is a rise in production costs. This means it costs more money to make a particular product. The price of a candy bar may go up if the nuts in it are suddenly more expensive or if the workers making it are paid higher wages.
Higher taxes can also cause inflation. When items are taxed, people who produce goods don't want to see their profits go down. Instead, they raise their prices. This is called "transferring the burden to the consumer." It means that producers make the same in profits, and the people buying the products are the ones who suffer.
Inflation is complicated. Track the prices of some goods you are interested in, and see if you can understand why they've changed over time.