10 things you’ll pay more for in 2013
From satellite TV to baseball tickets, here’s what you’ll be shelling out more cash for this year.
(1) Steaks, hamburgers and bacon
In 2013, it will pay to be a vegetarian.
From hamburgers to bacon, most of Americans’ favorite meat products are expected to cost between 3% and 4% more this year, according to a December 2012 forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The higher meat prices are linked to the historic drought that struck much of America’s farmlands this year, causing the price of corn ‘ a common ingredient in animal feed ‘ to skyrocket.
As the price of feed rose, many farmers reduced their livestock inventory ‘ creating a meat supply crunch, said Chad Hart, an economics professor and grain markets specialist at Iowa State University.
(2) Satellite television
After a year of high-profile disputes between television distributors and programmers, many customers will see higher satellite TV bills in 2013.
DirecTV customers’ bills will rise by an average of 4.5% starting on Feb. 7, which company officials attributed to an 8% increase in programming costs. New customers paying a promotional price will not be affected.
Also citing rising programming costs, competing satellite provider Dish Network said it will raise rates by as much as $15 a month on Jan. 17. Customers in their first year of service will be shielded from the hikes.
Some cable companies have also said they will raise rates this year; increases vary by region.
(3) Baseball tickets
Baseball fans may have to dig deeper into their wallets this year. The cheapest tickets for the Mets’ opening day cost $63 ‘ more than double last year’s cheapest seats.
Baseball fans may be forced to pony up more money to see their favorite teams play.
Already reeling from a losing 2012 season, New York Mets fans will face, on average, higher ticket prices this upcoming season, especially for the most popular games. Under a so-called "dynamic pricing" model, the cheapest tickets for opening day or the home games versus the Yankees will run $63 ‘ more than double last year’s cheapest seats.
The new pricing structure appears to be geared at encouraging fans to buy ticket packages as opposed to single tickets. Mets officials declined to comment about the price hikes.
Other teams raising ticket prices include the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners. Meanwhile, high profile teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs have maintained or even lowered ticket prices.
(4) Milk, cheese and eggs
The Congressional fiscal cliff deal also averted the so-called dairy cliff, the expiration of a 2008 farm bill that would have resulted in milk prices almost doubling. However, grocery shoppers can still expect to pay more for dairy products in 2013.
The United States Department of Agriculture projects that dairy prices will increase by up to 4.5% this year, mainly because of effects of the ongoing drought.
If the projection holds, a gallon of milk would increase to $3.81 from the current national average of about $3.65. Other dairy products, like eggs and cheese, are projected to see similar increases.
The silver lining: this year’s price increases will likely be less severe than food inflation levels in 2007, 2008 and 2011, said Ricky Volpe, a research economist with the USDA’s Economic Research Service
"Will consumers feel it? Absolutely," he said. "But they’ve seen worse."
After another year of record losses for the U.S. Postal Service, sending letters and packages is going to get even more expensive in 2013.
On Jan. 27, the cost of a standard postage stamp will increase by a penny to 46 cents, while a postcard stamp will also go up by one cent to 33 cents. To send 2013 mail at 2012 prices, shoppers can stock up on Forever stamps before the price change takes place.
But with the agency facing a record deficit of $15.9 billion, other postage increases will take a bigger hit to your wallet. Shipping costs will rise by an average of 4%, while the cost of using popular priority mail flat-rate boxes and envelopes will go up by as much as 9%.
Consumers looking to avoid the increases will have a hard time: both Federal Express and the United Parcel Service have also announced 2013 rate hikes that average about 5%.
(6) Public transit
Commuters in many cities across the country will be forced to pay higher fares this year.
Chicago Transit Authority fares, for instance, will increase by as much as 120% on Jan. 14. A monthly bus and "L"-train pass will jump from $86 to $100 ‘ representing an annual increase of $168.
New Yorkers, meanwhile, will see the cost of a single subway fare go up by a quarter to $2.50 per ride starting in March. A monthly pass will go up $8 to $112.
In many regions, transit agencies continue to face higher operational costs and stagnant tax revenues, forcing fare holders to fill the gap, said Virginia Miller, spokeswoman for the American Public Transportation Association.
Even though the fiscal cliff deal helped Americans avoid some tax hikes, workers will still pay more in taxes this year.
Lawmakers allowed the payroll tax cut to expire on Dec. 31, allowing the rate to revert back to its higher level. Now, 160 million workers will pay a tax of 6.2%, rather than 4.2%, on their first $113,700 in annual income.
A $50,000-a-year worker will see their paycheck shrink by $83 a month under the new rate, while someone making $100,000 in annual income will take a $167 monthly hit.
In addition, those making more than $450,000 a year, will see income tax rates spike ‘ from 35% to 39.6%. Other changes include fewer tax deductions for upper-income Americans and a jump in the estate tax for estates worth more than $5 million.
(8) T-Mobile smartphone
T-Mobile customers will say goodbye to the $200 smartphone upgrade this year, meaning the purchase price of a smartphone will jump by hundreds of dollars.
Instead of getting a reduced-price iPhone or other smartphone when they sign a two-year contract, company officials say customers will still end up paying less in annual phone costs.
It works like this: when a customer pays full price for their phone, T-Mobile will offer a so-called value plan, such as one with unlimited minutes, texting and data for $69.99 a month. That same plan currently costs $89.99 a month with a subsidized phone and two-year contract.
Last month, T-Mobile announced that it would get rid of its smartphone subsidies altogether in 2013. The phone costs will be offset by monthly financing options and lower rates than other providers, adding that the plan would also allow customers to upgrade their phones at any time.
(9) New cars
Shoppers looking to buy a new car this year may get sticker shock.
While modest annual price increases are expected for new car models, some manufacturers are upping their 2103 sticker prices by $1,000 or more.
The base price for a 2013 Lexus CT 200h is nearly $3,000 more expensive, for example, while a 2013Hyundai Elantra sedan will cost $1,350 more than last year’s model.
And while there is always room for bargaining at the dealership, consumers on the whole will continue to pay more for their new wheels, said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with automotive research site Truecar.com. But they will also likely get more features than previous models.
"You’re paying more but you’re getting more," he said.
(10) Health care
Get ready to pay more for healthcare ‘ again ‘ this year.
Health care premiums are projected to jump 6.3%, according to an analysis by Chicago-based consulting firm Aon Hewitt. Average employee costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs, are expected to average $4,814, up from $4,400 in 2012.
Experts say employee premiums will continue to rise as companies look to cut health care costs.
Overall health care costs in the U.S. are also expected to jump, by 7.5% this year, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Health Research Institute. While the rising costs are more than triple the pace of inflation, the increases pale in comparison to previous years’ double-digit spikes.
Many consumers continue to postpone procedures and price shop wherever possible, which is slowing price growth, said Ceci Connolly, managing director at the institute.
"The rate of growth has come done and that’s encouraging for consumers," she said. "But we still know that health care spending is rising too fast compared to everything else in our society."