personal-finance

Expect to pay more for cars, groceries in 2013

Jan. 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM ET

Some popular items will cost more in 2013, while price tags on other items will be lower. TODAY financial editor Jean Chatzky, working off a list supplied by content partner Dealnews, breaks down the numbers.

1. Cars

The price of a Toyota Camry is going up $175. Some Lexus models will be up as much as $3,000. Why? Auto manufacturers are passing on to drivers the cost of making engines that meet new higher fuel economy standards. "These fuel economy standards are across the board, but your negotiating power in buying a car is always best if you are willing to sort of pair one model off against each other," she said. 

2. Groceries

Thankfully, Congress averted the so-called "milk cliff" by re-extending the farm bill, otherwise costs for keeping your cereal nice and moist could have doubled. Still, prices are set to rise 3 to 4 percent overall thanks to last year's big drought, which led to a grass- and corn-feed shortage. That resulted in higher prices for beef, poultry and grain-related products. 

3. Health care

Despite Obamacare's best intent, employee health premiums are going up as much as 6 percent, largely due to employers passing on the cost of increased premiums. How much depends on your employer and plan. Choose carefully when open enrollment comes around.

4. State universities

"States have been under a huge amount of fiscal pressure," Chatzky said. "As a result, they have not been able to fund their state universities as much to keep up with these increased tuition prices. So, more of those increases are being passed along to you." As a result, prices at state colleges are likely to go up almost 5 percent; fees at those same universities, almost 4 percent. Financial aid isn't rising either, making the gap more pronounced. For college students, it's even more important to get that FAFSA form filled out early this year. Missing that deadline will hurt even more in 2013.

Ways to save

However, there is some good news, as several items are predicted to get cheaper, such as Netflix, Kindle eBooks, the costs of solar power, and the big-screen LCD HDTVs.

Finally, after reaching the highest gas price year on record in 2012, gas prices started to fall and analysts at Deutsche Bank say the trend will only continue. They predict the price per barrel to go from $100 to $70, which means the numbers won't spin so fast at the pump.

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