Inflation secrets of the TV families
- 15 October 2013
- From the section Business
Using the BBC's new inflation calculator, it is possible to get an approximation of how much prices are rising for families like yours.
But it's also possible to feed in the details of other, perhaps better-known although fictional, families.
Bear in mind that there is guess-work involved, with things such as Homer Simpson's annual salary a potential subject for endless argument.
Also, you have to assume that their households are living in the UK in 2013.
Cartoon families have the advantage (for the writers) of never growing up, so Homer has been about 40 since the late 1980s.
Living in this temporal warp poses particular difficulties for establishing his income, because any hints at his earnings have been made inaccurate over time by inflation.
In Call of the Simpsons we learn that he earns $27 a week less than Ned Flanders does in his job in the pharmaceutical industry, but that is little help.
There is also some discussion about whether Homer's on-going job is as the power plant's safety inspector, to which he was appointed in Homer's Odyssey with "a big fat raise", or whether he remains a drone in sector 7G.
A reasonable guess for his salary seems to be about $60,000 (£40,000).
All that puts the Simpsons' household inflation at 3.0%.
The Brady Bunch
Now let's try one of television's biggest households, the Brady Bunch.
Mr and Mrs Brady, their six children and Alice, the housekeeper, takes their household size to nine.
Mike Brady was the senior partner in a firm of architects, which gives him an annual income of about £80,000. It probably took him five years to get his architecture qualifications.
The actor who played him was aged 36 when the show started and 41 when it ended, so let's take an average of 39.
Alice counts as part of the household.
Brady Bunch inflation comes in at a whopping 4.6%, with the wholesome household spending less than the average on alcohol and tobacco.
Less wholesome is the Trotter family from Only Fools and Horses.
The member of the household with the highest income, certainly the highest official income, is Uncle Albert. with his pension.
A good guess at Uncle Albert's age half-way through the series in which he appeared is 70.
Keep the household size to three, before marriages and the birth of Damien clouded the issue.
Goodness know what the household income should be, but let's take a guess at £15,000 and bear in mind that paying tax would never have hit Del Boy's spending power.
The Trotters inflation rate comes in at the national average of 2.6%.
The Pig family
Pre-school favourite Peppa Pig lives with her parents and her brother in an impressive detached house with a huge garden on top of a hill.
The top earner is Daddy Pig. In the episode Daddy Pig's Birthday, he has 13 candles on his cake, which may be an arbitrary number or something to do with pig years.
Let's take his age as an anthropomorphic 35.
He describes his job as: "I take big numbers, transmute them, and calculate their load bearing tangents", so he appears to be an engineer or architect.
Mummy Pig works from home on her computer, when she's not playing the Happy Mrs Chicken game, so take the household's combined income as £48,000.
The Pigs have an inflation rate of 3.1%.
The Brockman family from Outnumbered live in a fine semi-detached house in south London.
The £50,000-a-year household income is the combination of Pete Brockman's salary in the early series, when he had a full-time job teaching history, and Sue's job as a part-time personal assistant.
The Brockmans find themselves facing a relatively high 4.0% inflation.