What Costs More (or Less) in 2019

Entering the new year in 2019, many shoppers are concerned about rising prices. It can be difficult to budget for the coming year when you are sure some prices will skyrocket.

While there are many big-ticket items predicted to increase in price in 2019, there are also just as many items either staying the same or potentially decreasing in price.

To create a reliable budget, you need to prioritize what items you need. Once you know the items you need, check whether they are expected to increase or decrease in price. If too many of your items are increasing in price, consider looking for less expensive alternatives. Shake-ups in the stock market and recent policy changes may affect some of these items, so check prices frequently if you are in the market for big ticket items. What sales are available as well as where you shop may also impact your overall spending, so it is recommended you have a flexible shopping list. Keep in mind it is not only physical items increasing in cost, many policies are expected to rise in 2019. Some of the items or policies expected to increase or decrease in cost are covered below.

Health Care and Insurance

The cost of health insurance will continue to rise in the coming year, with the cost of employer-based health insurance rising by about six percent. This is in part due to rising drug costs, the continuing consolidation of smaller hospitals into larger ones and new treatments being developed. This will not be universal, however, as some plans may drop in price.  You can also expect higher premiums and deductibles on employee-based health plans.

The cost of health insurance for shoppers buying in the individual market is predicted to increase steeply in most cases, but not as much as they have risen in the past two years. The price you pay for health care services are also on the rise due to new clinical research trials and the increasing cost of certain medical devices or medications.

Housing

Whether you rent or buy a home in 2019, prices are expected to increase for housing across the country. There may be a jump of as much as 3.1 percent for existing homes on the market from 2018. Millennials are now in the market for houses, and supply-and-demand will determine how much housing prices rise in the near future.

Related Article: Tips for Saving Money Each Day

Mortgage rates, for those who need to take out personal loans to buy a home, are also predicted to rise 2019, making it harder for first-time home buyers to get a good deal on the home they want to purchase. In some markets, interest rates are expected to jump as much as a full percentage point. When this is viewed over a 30-year mortgage, you are paying thousands of dollars more for your home.

Automobiles

If you are in the market for a brand new car, 2019 may not be the year to take the leap. Newly imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports have already negatively affected car and truck prices. If the rumored 25 percent tariff on foreign cars is put in place, both domestic and foreign car prices may jump again in 2019, increasing by several thousand dollars.

To put this in perspective, SUVs are expected to have the steepest price increase because less than 46 percent of these vehicles are manufactured in the United States. Pickups, on the other hand, are largely produced in the U.S., so prices will not go up as much for them.

Cable Television

Cable companies have increased their rates for 2019.Comcast, Spectrum and other major providers are feeling the sting as more subscribers opt out of cable in favor of streaming programs. Some cable packages now start at as much as $250 a month. However, some cable companies also offer bundled packages for their services which helps offset the costs. If you are only interested in cable television from your provider, consider investing in an online service instead.

Debt

Debt is also predicted to rise in 2019 because interest rates on loans are increasing to match the federal reserve’s rise in interest rates. Interest rates went up four times in 2018, and experts say the federal reserve will continue to raise rates this year. The flip side of this is the rise in interest rates may get you a better return on money market accounts and CDs.

Mail, Shipping and Delivery Services

The cost of mail delivery by the United States Post Office will see an increase in 2019, including priority mail flat rate deliveries. The Post Office is also proposing increasing the cost of Forever stamps from 50 cents to 55 cents. FedEx has announced they are increasing shipping rates by almost five percent. UPS deliveries will also cost more.  Amazon is currently in the news for the online store’s increase in Amazon Prime memberships, which include free, two-day shipping.

Groceries, Especially Sweets

The cost increase for most groceries relatively slight compared to the rise in other commodities. This varies from product to product. However, sugary treats are showing dramatic price increase. Other increases include:

  • Dairy products increasing by 4 percent.
  • Vegetables increasing by 3.5 percent.
  • Fresh fruit increasing by 2 to 3 percent.

If you don’t already, learn more about grocery couponing, so you can save every time you shop.

Apple Products

If getting the latest iPhone is high on your list for 2019, you must start saving money. The cost of the iPhone XS is currently $999 with base level storage. To increase the storage capacity, you must pay several hundred dollars more.  The iPhone XS Max will feature an even steeper price tag.

Tariffs on materials and components add to the cost of these technologies, as does the cost of research and development of new technological innovations phone customers are clamoring for. There is a flip side to this, similar technologies, such as flat screen televisions, will drop in price as they become more popular and components are more affordable.

Tech Products Will Cost Less

Despite an impressive rise in the cost of most Apple products, the price of tech products in general will fall. Rival tech companies are vying to gain larger portions of new markets for items with voice-control technology. Two big competitors, Google Home and Amazon Echo, may be competing with each other through a pricing war, ultimately leading to lower market prices to appeal to a wider customer base.

Gasoline Prices are a Toss-Up

The price of gasoline dropped in the last months of 2018, but it is difficult to predict as of writing whether this trend can continue. Most market researchers say gas prices will stay low while a few say the low prices are expected to disappear mid-year. After this point, the volatile market will send gasoline prices back up. If you are concerned about gas prices, fill up while the prices are lower and keep an eye on the fluctuating market. Prices may rise, but they will not approach the record highs from the last few years, so costs should remain reasonable throughout the year, even if there is a slight increase.

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