The Wall Street Journal reported this week that smartphones are biting into family budgets. But while it’s true that better phones are bringing higher costs these days, they’re hardly the most costly budget items for middle-class households. The real budget eaters are the same budget eaters families have faced for the last few decades: housing, health care and education. While global competition, better technology and other developments have brought down the prices of everything from TVs to socks, these three categories just keep getting more expensive.

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