Maths Literacy Matric Revision: Inflation

CAPS Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy: Finance – Inflation


Inflation is vital in understanding economic conditions and financial planning. It represents the increasing cost of goods and services over time, impacting purchasing power and living expenses. In this section, we will explore its calculation, implications, and relationship with other financial concepts covered in Mathematical Literacy.

Learning Objectives

  • Define and explain inflation.
  • Calculate the rate of inflation.
  • Understand the impact of inflation on daily life and financial planning.
  • Recognize the relationship between inflation and other financial indicators.

1. Key Points

  1. Definition:

    • Inflation is the process where the general price of goods and services increases over time.
  2. Formula:

    • Rate of Inflation (%) = (\frac{\text{end cost} – \text{original cost}}{\text{original cost}} \times 100)
  3. Types of Inflation:

    • Demand-pull inflation: Caused by an increase in demand for goods and services.
    • Cost-push inflation: Caused by an increase in the cost of production.
  4. Effects of Inflation:

    • Decreases the purchasing power of money.
    • Affects savings and investments.
    • Alters consumer and business spending habits.
  5. Consumer Price Index (CPI):

    • A measure used to track changes in the price level of a basket of consumer goods and services over time.

2. Real-World Applications

Example Scenario:

Imagine you bought a basket of goods for R500 last year. This year, the same basket costs R550.

Step-by-Step Solution:

  1. Identify Costs:

    • Previous Year (Original Cost): R500
    • Current Year (End Cost): R550
  2. Apply the Inflation Formula:
    \text{Rate of Inflation} = \frac{550 – 500}{500} \times 100 = 10\%
    So, the inflation rate is 10%.

Practical Implications:

  • Budgeting: Adjust your monthly budget to account for increased costs in groceries, utilities, etc.
  • Savings: Consider investment options that outpace inflation, like fixed deposits or stocks.

3. Common Misconceptions and Errors

  1. Misconception: Inflation only affects luxury items.
  2. Correction: Inflation impacts all goods and services, including essentials like food and healthcare.

  3. Misconception: Inflation always has a direct, noticeable impact.

  4. Correction: Small annual increases compound over time, significantly reducing purchasing power.

  5. Error: Miscalculating the rate of inflation by using incorrect figures.

  6. Strategy: Always ensure you have accurate initial and final costs and apply the formula correctly.

4. Practice and Review

Practice Questions:

  1. Last year, the cost of tuition was R20,000. This year, it is R22,000. Calculate the inflation rate.
    \text{Rate of Inflation} = \frac{22,000 – 20,000}{20,000} \times 100 = 10\%

  2. The price of a meal increased from R120 to R132. What is the rate of inflation?
    \text{Rate of Inflation} = \frac{132 – 120}{120} \times 100 = 10\%

Examination Tips:

  • Keywords: Look for terms such as “original cost”, “end cost”, and “rate of inflation”.
  • Formulas: Remember the inflation formula and practice it regularly.
  • Time Management: Allocate time to cross-check your calculations.

5. Connections and Extensions

  • Inflation affects interest rates: A higher inflation rate often leads to higher interest rates.
  • Interdisciplinary Links: In Economics, inflation is studied in-depth alongside other economic indicators.
  • Global Impact: Inflation can have different impacts globally, affecting exchange rates, trade, and international finance.

6. Summary and Quick Review

  • Inflation: Increase in general price levels.
  • Formula: (\frac{\text{end cost} – \text{original cost}}{\text{original cost}} \times 100)
  • Effects: Reduces purchasing power, impacts savings and costs.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI): Measures inflation.
  • Examples: Practical calculations reinforce understanding.


  • Formula: (\frac{\text{end cost} – \text{original cost}}{\text{original cost}} \times 100)
  • CPI: Monitors price changes in a basket of goods.
  • Impact: Affects costs of living, savings, and investment.

7. Additional Resources

  • Online Articles:
  • Investopedia: Inflation Basics
  • Khan Academy: Inflation and the Economy
  • Videos:
  • YouTube: “Understanding Inflation in 5 Minutes”
  • TED-Ed: “What Causes Inflation?”
  • Platforms:
  • Coursera: Financial Literacy Courses
  • Khan Academy: Economics and Finance modules

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