Recently, consumer site DealNews put together their list of items that will be more expensive this year, from cars to milk. Using that list, we’ve focused on where you can save or offset the hike.
Fuel Efficiency Ratchets Up the Cost of Cars
Cars are getting more expensive, according to Deal News. When the Obama administration issued new standards requiring automakers to improve fuel efficiency, the price of engines went up and, on the whole, so did the price of cars. The 2013 Toyota Camry, for example, is about $175 more expensive this year than the 2012.
Offset the Hike: The rule of thumb is to spend no more than 15%-20% of your take-home for a car and, despite changes in the market, stay in that range. When it comes to fuel economy, eco-friendly cars like the Ford Fusion hybrid get 47 miles per gallon – 50% better than most vehicles in their class. They’re slightly more expensive, but the small upfront expense can go a long way, saving you nearly half the cost of gas at the pump. Now is also a good time to be in the market for a inexpensive automobile. With new models rolling onto lots, 2012 models will be available at a steep discount. Shop carefully by getting the best terms to finance a vehicle and with an eye on resale vale.
Grocery Prices to Increase by as Much as 4%
With anticipated droughts in 2013, expect an increase in everyday grocery items including cereal, baked goods and milk. The USDA expects food prices -specifically for meat, poultry, grain and dairy- to rise 3.5% to 4% in 2013.
Offset the Hike: One thing we can all do is set weekly food budgets to get a handle on what we spend on meals. Some less obvious options: As the price of meat is expected to go up, consider having a “vegetarian night” at least once a week. Another tried-and-true tip is to buy meat in bulk. A whole chicken, for example, is 30% cheaper than buying it in pieces.
New Computing Features Raise Prices
Whether you’re redoing your home office, sending a kid off to school, or if yours just crashed – you’ll find yourself back in the market for a computer sooner or later. And according to Deal News, as tablets gain momentum, computers are returning to their original function as work machines and becoming more expensive. Faster processors, more space on average and other features are sending the price of personal computers higher than before.
Offset the Hike: Shop around. The best thing about our saturated electronic space is that there are tons of makes and models and you can pretty much get the features you want a la carte. Sites dedicated to comparing electronics for consumers include: PC Mag, PC World and PriceGrabber.com. Search by price but keep an eye on the handy ratings offered by the sites’ reviewers. PC Mag, for example, has machines listed by Toshiba, Dell and Microsoft – all under $750 and with above-average ratings for performance.
Shipping Costs on the Rise
Finally, with most Americans doing significant shopping online, hikes in the cost of shipping come as bad news. This year will see a 4.5% to 4.9% hike in shipping costs from both UPS and FedEx. Online retailers offering free shipping could pass the expense off to consumers but where you’ll see the biggest impact, according to Deal News, is with “independent” sellers on sites like eBay and Etsy,
Offset the Hike: When shipping something yourself or shopping online, always shop around for the cheapest option. A lot of factors go into the cost of shipping an item, most notably, speed. Allow yourself some lead time, avoiding costly next-day shipping when you can. For everything else, ShippingSidekick.com has a useful tool to compare costs with different carriers based on distance, weight and time. You can also find daily deals on shipping at www.FreeShipping.org.
Photo Courtesy, bradleygee.