BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Before we get to the bad, there is some good. Some of the best deals we've seen since Black Friday are expected to drop overnight and I'll feature those right here for a major Ways 2 Save tomorrow.
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As if it wasn't already expensive enough! More changes and practices from the airline industry will bring price increases for the year ahead. Want a hot meal on a long-distance flight? You could soon be paying extra for that. On top of the increases we've already saw last year, airfare analyst and CEO of FareCompare.com, Rick Seaney, ticket prices will increase around 7%.
Although it has not officially been announced, many insiders expect increases to baggage fees, as well as onboard options and seat selection.
#2 Digital Cameras
You can blame the smartphone and smaller tablets equipped with cameras.
Fewer people are buying consumer-grade digital cameras, which means manufacturers are producing fewer cameras, leading to fewer discounts. In 2011, I was able to flag quality higher-end 14 MP cameras for $40 during the holidays. In 2012, the exact same cameras sold for $60 during the same sales period. Prices only go up from here. Expect a $20 to $30 price increase per unit.
#3 Steaks & Hamburgers
Enjoy those Omaha Steaks deals the second they drop! According to the most recent forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, higher meat prices are due to an intense drought that plagued almost all farmlands across the U.S. this past year. This caused corn and other animal feed ingredients to skyrocket, passing the price increase along to consumers. Expect a price increase of around 4% per cut.
Copper prices are on the rise, as part of a 2013 price increase flagged by freelance writer/consumer reporter Laura Heller. According to Heller, "it's copper's time to shine." That's due to a move by the SEC to approve a fund to trade the metal. The fund could lead to the diminished availability of the metal in the U.S., affecting equipment for brewing beer and distilling liquor.
The push to get higher megapixel cameras into devices like smartphones and the ripple effect of a recent decision by T-Mobile will dramatically affect prices throughout the industry. Later this year, T-Mobile will push no-contract cell phone plans, but charge consumers full prices for their phones. This elimination of the mobile phone subsidy is being observed very closely by competing companies and analysts suggest this is a game-changer for us all. On something like a new iPhone that can be purchased for $199 when it's released on a two-year contract, customers would pay $600 instead. Even if installment plans are available, this is a major change for the average customer to wrap his or her head around.
You can blame portable computing. In 2010, I received close to 200 requests for desktop computers from Ways 2 Save viewers. In 2011, I received about half that number. Last year, I received a whopping 15 deal requests for desktops. The diminished demand is being felt even moreso by the companies that produce desktops. This year, fewer models will be produced from fewer companies, resulting in higher costs. Expect to pay $50 to $100 more per desktop.
In the same way desktops are affected by portable computers, laptops are influenced by hyper-portable, powerful tablets. Try and find someone who didn't have an iPad Mini on their wish list this past Christmas! With the Microsoft Surface now on the market offering Microsoft Office applications in an extremely sleek and portable presence, laptop demand will further drop this year. With less laptop competition, expect to pay up to $80 more per unit on mid-end laptop configurations.
#8 Shipping Costs
I noticed it when Amazon.com started launching categories of "add-on only" items. Despite the fact I already pay $79 per year for Amazon Prime (which also gets me the Amazon Video streaming service), items that I'd regularly be entitled to with free two-day shipping, now cannot be shipped unless a minimum order total is met. This is just a single example of price increases directly attributed to UPS and FedEX. Both shipping giants are increasing prices by up to 4.9% for 2013.
Stream, stream, stream! The increased demand for streaming services has manufacturers like LG and Samsung scrambling to build Wi-Fi and Netflix/Hulu/Vudu-ready televisions. With the majority of the older LCD television stock depleted over the course of 2012, the current LED technology commands a higher price. Based on the sales numbers I've seen, consumers can expect to pay around $60 more per mid-end to high-end LED television.
#10 Cable Television
The number of people dumping their cable providers for services like Hulu and abandoning settop boxes for Roku and Apple TV will result in higher rates. As cable companies jump to cover their operating costs with fewer customers, rates are expected to increase, although this will vary by region and provider. Initially, package increase costs are not expecting to be more than $5 on average per customer.
#11 Satellite TV
The two biggest players in the satellite world, Direct TV and Dish Network, have significant rate hikes planned this year. In 10 days, some DISH customers will have their rates raised by as much as $15. DirecTV customers will see increases of around 5% across the board. You can blame the increase in programming costs affecting service providers.
Every year, we see modest car price increases across the board, but this year, certain manufacturers are increasing prices by almost $1,400. CNN Money flagged the base price for a 2013 Lexus CT 200h up $3,000 this year and the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Sedan at $1,350 more. The nice thing about base price increases is that local dealerships always respond with better promotions and on the whole, I expect you to get more for your money when it comes to features this coming year.
It probably shouldn't surprise you to see tuition increases this year, as that's the case every year, but DealNews.com has paid particular attention to state school tuition increase, which weren't initially on my radar. According to their research, which they pulled from the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, public 4-year colleges will increase tuition by 4.8% on average with an increase of 3.7% in fees. The almost 9% collective increase will affect students and their families across the country.
Despite the increases, there are some superb January purchases jam-packed with savings that can benefit the consumer all year. I'll feature those right here tomorrow on Ways 2 Save.