It’s the time of year when lists are made forecasting the rise and fall of household expenses, big and small. Accordingly, it may also be time to tweak the family budget.
The top ten list from CNN Money of things that’ll cost more this year is dominated by everyday expenses, including meat (specifically steak, hamburger, and bacon), which is projected to increase in price by 3% to 4%, and dairy (milk, cheese, eggs), which could be 4.5% more expensive in the near future. Things could be a lot worse. During occasional freakouts over the past year, consumers were warned that there would be an “unavoidable bacon shortage” in 2013, and that dairy prices could double if Congress failed to pass a new farm bill. By comparison, a price hike that’s only slightly higher than inflation seems like a deal.
Other items in the roundup include satellite TV (reflecting rising programming costs), new cars (base prices are rising—and the average price paid per car has never been higher), and pro baseball tickets (no one should expect them to be cheap to begin with), as well as mail (stamps are going up by 1¢) and public transportation in big cities like Chicago and New York. Mind you, those latter two expenses are still relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things, even after a price hike.
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Then there are a couple of price increases that are truly painful—taxes and health care—in that they’re expenses that generally can’t be avoided, and that most people think that that they’re already too burdensome to begin with. Most workers will see their paychecks shrink by 2% in 2013, and health care premiums are projected to rise 6.3% this year. Together, they’ll make the average worker roughly $1,500 poorer in 2013.
In a dealnews post featuring 12 things that’ll be more expensive in 2013, there is plenty of overlap with the CNN Money list. Health care, cars, and various groceries are on both lists. The dealnews roundup also highlights college tuition (which goes up every year like clockwork, no?), shipping costs (for UPS and Fedex, not U.S. mail), and a few oddball categories, such as copper and services offered in daily deals from the likes of Groupon.
According to dealnews, prices for certain high-end electronics, such as cutting-edge computers, TVs and theater systems are on the rise too. On the other hand, another dealnews post points out that plenty of tech will be getting cheaper in 2013, including laptops, smartphones, hard drives, tablets, and big (60-inch) LCD HDTVs. The costs of streaming video and ebooks are expected to drop as well.
(MORE: The Top 5 Tech Biz Stories of 2012)
At the start of the year, Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD and the Wall Street Journal weighed in with his tech predictions for 2013, including what’s likely to get cheaper (smartphones and plans) and more expensive (higher-quality digital music players). Here’s how inexpensive smartphone plans can be:
Some companies are beginning to offer really cheap monthly plans. One example: Republic Wireless, which offers unlimited voice, text and data for $19 a month on a small, Android phone, the Motorola Defy XT, using older software that has been modified to make voice calls where possible over Wi-Fi instead of a costlier carrier network.
Finally, in the dealnews post about things that will be cheaper, gas prices are forecast to drop in 2013. Or rather, keep on dropping, as most drivers are aware that gas prices took a nosedive toward the end of 2012, with the national average decreasing by about 60¢ per gallon in a two-month span.
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But considering that the periodic gas price forecasts of experts were wildly off the mark again and again throughout 2012—and that it was the second year in a row in which drivers paid all-time highs at the pump—it’s probably unwise to bet what gas prices will do in the days.