Load up your freezer, stock up on undies, and rethink that road trip. Prices on everything from meat to clothes to gas are on the rise.
1. Food. Global wheat prices more than doubled from June 2010 to January 2011, the World Bank says, while corn and sugar prices rose 73%. According to walletpop.com, increased demand from newly affluent countries like China and decreased supply due to drought, flooding and other weather-related factors are the reason, as is government sponsorship of ethanol, made from corn. And when corn prices take off, so does the price of meat, since that’s what feeds most of the world’s cattle. In other words, expect to pay more at the supermarket for everything from cereal to soda to steak.
2. Clothing. With cotton prices up 80% since last year, look for companies like underwear manufacturer Hanesbrands to pass along an increase of 10% to the consumer, reports The Wall Street Journal. On some items, Hanes may hike prices three times before year’s end, predicts the New York Daily News. And polyester prices are also on the upswing: With the cost of oil climbing (see below), so is the fiber made from it—between 20% and 25%, The Wall Street Journal adds.
3. Gas. First came rising demand from developing countries, most notably China; now the unrest in the Middle East promises to only add to the woes of America’s drivers. Some experts predict oil prices will go as high as $100 a barrel, which could translate to roughly $4 a gallon at the pump by summer in some areas of the country, reports the Huffington Post. And if fuel costs skyrocket, so will the price of everything shipped by truck.
4. College tuition. Dealnews.com reports that for the 2010-11 school year, tuition continues to soar much faster than the rate of inflation, up almost 8% from the previous year for public 4-year colleges and 4.5% at private colleges. And the cost will only continue to climb next year. Find out what your total tuition bill will be at collegeboard.org.
5. Sports tickets. Fans who have to shell out more at the ballpark can blame the huge expense of all those new ballparks, says dealnews.com. If you want to take in a game at Yankee stadium, for example, expect to pay 47% more for non-premium seats in 2011 and as much as $260 for field-level seats. Deals can be had on MLB tickets, but you need to buy now. Walletpop.com found Yankees tickets, for instance, being sold for as low as $5 by ticket-holders eager to unload them before the season begins.
And dealnews.com predicts the sticker shock won’t end there, listing everything from stamps to chocolate to car insurance on its round-up of goods and services that will cost more to buy in 2011. But it’s not all bad news: electronics such as Blu-ray players, Kindles and iPhones will all be cheaper next year, the website says.