While we like to focus on saving money and falling prices, it’s also important to recognize when certain items are becoming more expensive. And unfortunately, consumers can expect select smartphones and otehr electronics, cars and food to cost more in the coming year.
Thanks to mature technologies, a lack of innovation, higher prices for precious metals, added features and a drought, 2013 looks like it will be just a little more costly.
Here are 12 areas where prices will rise in the new year:
Gas prices may be falling, but cars that run on it are getting more expensive. Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued new standards that require automakers to improve fuel efficiency, and the cost of upgraded engines alone is driving up prices. Toyota hiked prices on its midsize Camry by roughly $175, and among best-selling luxury vehicles, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h will be almost $3,000 more than the 2012 model.
Meat, poultry and dairy prices are all expected to rise, thanks to last summer’s drought. Feed corn and grass were hurt the most, and the impact from their scarcity will soon be felt at the grocery store. Price increases will hit right along with the new year.
Since drought conditions forced ranchers and farmers to reduce the size of herds and flocks to combat higher feed costs, the price of beef and chicken is also slated to rise. The cost of dairy products, too, will be affected, as fewer and leaner cows produce less milk. Overall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects food prices to rise 3.5% to 4% in 2013.
Cereal and bakery product prices will rise too, as a result of the 2012 drought and lower wheat yields. Prices in this category began creeping up in October, and the USDA’s Economic Research Service forecasts cereal and bakery product prices to rise 2.5% to 3.5% next year.
Health insurance premiums
Obamacare notwithstanding, employee health care premiums are expected to rise an average of 6% in 2013, according to Aon Hewitt, a human resource consulting firm. That amount will vary by state and type of plan, but overall, employers will face higher premiums, and the increased costs will be passed along in part to employees.
High-end TVs and home theater systems
While there will always be budget home entertainment options, folks who want the latest and greatest in this department will face some shockingly high price tags in 2013. According to Jeff Joseph, a spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association, ultra-HD TVs — which include an extremely high pixel density — will sell for $20,000 to $25,000.
High-end audio manufacturers too aren’t holding back, as they incorporate premium features like Apple Airplay and standard DLNA that let users control the entire system wirelessly. These features can drive up the cost of AV equipment in an instant.
As tablets continue to gain momentum in the consumer electronics realm, computers are returning to their original function as work-related machines — albeit more powerful and expensive ones. According to Stephen Baker, the vice president of industry analysis at the NPD Group, Apple’s new notebooks with retina displays are among the highest-priced models out there, and Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, is driving the adoption of premium touchscreen PCs. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)
Even geeks and gamers could see higher prices, as Intel plans to release processors that are soldered onto motherboards in 2013, rendering them un-upgradeable. This would make DIY upgrades to a desktop machine impossible, forcing the computer-savvy to opt for custom configurations from the manufacturer, which is, as a general rule, more expensive then getting a deal on the boxed CPU and upgrading it on your own.