Rising Costs in 2013

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  • It’s a new year and Mellody Hobson is here to get us in shape financially for 2013.

    So we avoided the fiscal cliff but there are other things in store for us in 2013 and I want you to be prepared. First of all, certain popular items are going to cost more.

    For starters, cars will cost more. The government issued new fuel economy standards that require car companies to upgrade engines, and auto manufacturers are passing on those rising costs to drivers. The Toyota Camry will cost $175 more and for luxury cars, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h is nearly $3,000 more than last year’s model.

    Next, grocery prices may rise as much as 4% according to the USDA. Last year’s drought led to a grass- and corn-feed shortage. That resulted in higher prices for beef, poultry and grain-related products. We avoided the dreaded “milk cliff” with a farm bill passed by Congress, but if that hadn’t happened the price of milk could have doubled overnight.

    A third rising cost is health care. Employee health care premiums are expected to rise an average of 6% in 2013. Again, we’re looking at higher costs for employers who pass those expenses downward.

    Finally, state college and university tuitions are expected to rise 4-5%. States have been feeling the economic squeeze and haven’t been able to keep up with rising tuition prices. Compounding that rising cost is the fact that financial aid isn’t rising.

    I have one more, and you’re not going to like it. The price of copper is on the rise.  Thanks to a move by the SEC to approve a fund to trade the metal, we could face copper scarcity and higher prices. Copper is used in plenty of consumer items, including residential water pipes, wire, pots, and kettles, and here’s the kicker, equipment for brewing beer. Who’d have thought that price of copper could affect how much you pay for a six-pack?

    There are ways to save. For college students, it’s even more important to get that FAFSA form filled out early this year. That’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Deadlines vary state to state, but you need to get it in early, so get crackin’!

    Also, for as many things that will cost more in 2013, there are popular items expected to cost less.

    First, expect lower prices on streaming video. Netflix has a new competitor in Redbox which may force them to cut prices. Also, eBooks will cost less. Last spring, the Justice Department sued five major publishers (along with Apple) over eBook price-fixing charges. The suit was a major win for Amazon and is expected to lower prices on ebooks going forward. Finally, experts are predicting lower prices for solar power and big-screen HDTVs.

    Last but certainly not least, oil analysts at Deutsche Bank are predicting pleasure at the pump for a change. They predict the price per barrel to go from $100 to $70, which means drivers will pay less to fill up.  This is a great way to save after having to pay a little more for your new car. Next week, I’ll talk about a bunch of great ways to save on grocery shopping to offset the rising costs of food.

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