Tuesday, January 28, 2014

10 Things You’ll Pay More For In 2014

Nuts

pay more for nuts
Combine a poor crop with soaring consumer demand, and you have the perfect recipe for sky-high prices for one of the country’s favorite snack foods.
A cold, wet winter in the United States and frost and heavy rains during Spain’s primegrowing season hurt global almond supplies, according to a November Department of Agriculture report. Pistachio crops were also smaller, while U.S. walnut production is expected to be down slightly.
Overall, wholesale nut and seed prices were driven 9% higher during the first 11 months of 2013. As suppliers pass the extra cost on to consumers, that could translate into even higher prices at the grocery store, said Annemarie Kuhns, an agricultural economist at the USDA.
Meanwhile, demand for nuts keeps increasing as consumers look for healthy snack options, said Matthew Hudak, research analyst at Euromonitor, a market research firm.
“There is a huge demand for nuts right now, which would be hard for any agricultural area to keep up with,” he said.

Mail

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Mailing a letter or a package is going to get more expensive this year … yet again.
On January 26, the U.S. Postal Service will raise the price of a stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents.
The hike, which is the largest in years, includes a one-cent increase to keep pace with inflation. The additional two cents is intended to be a temporary increase in order to help the Postal Service recoup some of the losses it incurred during the recession. The agency reported a $5 billion loss in the most recent fiscal year and a $16 billion loss in 2012.
To save on mailing costs, stock up on Forever stamps before the hike.
Meanwhile, shipping will also become more expensive this year as the Postal Service, FedEx and UPS all plan to institute rate hikes.

A house

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Hoping to buy a home in 2014? Be prepared for some sticker shock.
Home prices aren’t expected to surge like they did in 2013. But they are expected to increase by almost 5% this year, according to CoreLogic.
At the same time, the cost of borrowing will be more expensive. While mortgage rates reached historic lows last year, average 30-year fixed rates have already risen roughly one percentage point to around 4.5%. That translates to almost $60 more a month for every $100,000 borrowed on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
With the Federal Reserve officially starting to slow its monthly bond purchases in January, rates will likely continue to tick upward. Meanwhile, a strengthening economy could also push rates higher, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage information site HSH Associates.
“I think borrowers should be prepared for rates to work their ways into the fives” he said.

Rent

pay more for rent
Home buyers aren’t the only ones facing higher housing costs in 2014. Fueled by the slowly improving economy, rents are also expected be on the rise.
Market research firm Axiometrics predicts that apartment rents nationwide will rise 3.1% from 2013′s average of $1,107 a month, or even more if hiring picks up.
“We have so much pent up demand, so many kids that are prime renter age living at home,” said Axiometrics president Ron Johnsey. “If the economy recovers better than we are forecasting, then they can become renters.”
Rents are expected to jump the most in hot real estate markets like California’s Bay Area, Portland and Seattle, which are all benefiting from strong local job markets, said Johnsey.

Honey

pay more for honey
Honey lovers beware: After a surge in prices at the end of 2013, you will be shelling out a lot of money for the sweet, golden stuff.
Poor weather conditions and dwindling bee populations due to ongoing cases of Colony Collapse Disorder, have significantly reduced U.S. honey production in recent years. Meanwhile, consumer demand continues to grow, pushing prices upwards.
In December, average retail prices for honey reached $6.04 a pound, up nearly 7% from the beginning of the year, according to the National Honey Board, a trade group. In December, the American Bee Journal, a trade publication warned that many U.S. beekeepers expected to be sold out of honey by early 2014, which would likely keep prices high throughout the year.

Chocolate

pay more for chocolate
More bad news for your sweet tooth. As cocoa prices continue to rise, you may have to shell out more money for your favorite candy bar.
The culprit: growing demand in emerging markets and bad weather in major cocoa producing countries have created a major supply problem.
World cocoa production fell by 3.7% during the 2012-2013 crop year and production from this year’s crop, which started in October, is expected to be even smaller, according to Mintec, which analyzes commodity prices.
Candy companies often look for other ways to absorb increasing costs, such as shrinking a product’s size or reducing the candy’s cocoa content. Still, chocolate prices will likely go up by around 3%, said Hudak, research analyst at Euromonitor.
Dark chocolate lovers will likely be hit the hardest because those candies require more cocoa and are typically made by smaller companies, which struggle to absorb the rising costs.

Satellite TV

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Satellite TV watchers will once again see higher bills in 2014.
Both DirecTV and Dish Network will increase prices for almost all of their packages, with fee hikes ranging from $2 to $5 a month. Both companies raised their rates last year as well.
The companies blamed the increases on television networks, citing the need to keep up with higher programming fees. Dish subscribers will notice the change on their January bills, while DirecTV’s hike will take effect in February.

Public transportation

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It doesn’t always pay to be green.
Public transit users in several major cities are going to be paying more this year. Fares for Metro North’s New Haven line just went up by 5% on Jan. 1. A person who commutes from Bridgeport, Conn. to New York City, for example, will pay nearly $20 more for a monthly pass.
In San Francisco, Bay Area Rapid Transit riders saw a fare increase of 5.2% on Jan.1, which the agency says will help pay for new train cars. Transit officials overseeing the Washington D.C. Metro are also proposing an average 3% fare hike, which if approved, would go into affect July 1.
Meanwhile, commuters across the country could pay more due to a shrinking tax break. In 2014, the amount of pre-tax money that workers can set aside to pay for public transportation falls from $245 to $130 per month.
As a result, an individual’s annual commuting costs could increase by up to $1,380 a year, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Health care

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Obamacare may finally be in full swing, but most Americans are still going to be paying more for health care.
Health care premiums for large employer-sponsored plans are expected to rise by as much as 7%, compared to a roughly 3.3% increase in 2013, according to an analysis by Aon Hewitt.
Average employee costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles, are expected to reach nearly $5,000, an increase of almost 150% from a decade ago.
“We’ve seen that consistently year-over-year, more and more of the cost is being shifted to employees, something we expect to continue going forward,” said Geoffrey Kuhn, a senior vice president at Aon Hewitt.

Taxes

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Don’t be surprised if you owe Uncle Sam more for the 2014 tax year.
Dozens of tax credits and benefits — on everything from supplies purchased by teachers to energy-efficient home improvements — expired on Dec. 31. While some or all of the tax breaks could be reinstated by Congress, don’t count on it.
The Affordable Care Act’s tax penalty for those who didn’t enroll in health insurance for 2014 also takes effect. Taxpayers without proof of a qualified healthcare plan will have to pay a fine of $95 or 1% of income, whichever is higher. (Money.cnn)
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