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If your New Year’s resolutions included trimming the fat from your budget, you’ll want to avoid these nine purchases that will see a price hike this year.
1. Cable and Satellite TV
NBC recently reported that DirecTV and AT&T’s U-verse packages, channel bundles, and premium channels will see increases ranging from $2 to $8 per month, a change that went into effect Jan. 28. Dish Network customers also will experience a similar pricing increase on its bundles, which started on Jan. 14.
Cable industry watchdog Chris Brantner (Mr. Cable Cutter) says these increases are not limited to just a couple companies. In fact, most of the big national names in the cable and satellite TV game will be jacking up prices.
“Comcast is raising its broadcast fee to $5 from $1.75, and its sports programming fee to $3 from $2,” he says. “Time Warner is raising both broadcasting and sports fees as well — from $1 to $3.75 and $2.25 to $5, respectively. This seems to be a yearly trend, as pay-TV prices have skyrocketed over the last few years, with average bills breaking $100 a month.”
2. Medicare Premiums
If you’re retired and new to Medicare Part B, beware. Double-digit price hikes — about 16% over last year — went into effect at the beginning of the year. Previously enrolled Part B recipients aren’t faced with the increase because Social Security didn’t see a cost-of-living adjustment in 2016, and Medicare payments, by law, are prevented from increasing faster than SS payments. Thus, just consider the $16.90 more you have to pay per month than older retirees your dues for being the new kid on the block.
Remember back in 2011 when Netflix announced it would increase its then $10 dual streaming-plus-DVD-by-mail combo plan to $16, and the Internet lost its collective mind? Netflix stock dropped 40% after the announcement, and some called on CEO/co-founder Reed Hastings to resign. Because unlimited DVDs, y’all!
Well, Netflix has learned several lessons since then, and while it abandoned all those 2011 plans (including an ill-fated breakaway brand called Qwikster), it raised prices $1 to $8.99 in 2014, and it plans to increase the price of its streaming service by another dollar to $9.99 this May for new customers. If you’re already a Netflix subscriber, however, you won’t get hit until 2017.
If you can’t trust Forbes, who can you trust? Its 2016 consumer predictions include higher prices for chocolate. According to the publication, “the Ivory Coast, center of world cocoa production, is under strain from drought — putting the world’s chocolate industry at risk.”
Better start rationing those leftover Kisses from Christmas.
5. Domestic Wine
If you fancy a nice glass of wine, you may have to switch up what you’re drinking — at least from domestic bottlers.
The blog SVB on Wine reports that according to its annual State of the Industry report, 41.74% percent of winemakers plan to implement a small price increase, while another 16.12% are planning a moderate increase in 2016. Another 2.07% are really going for the jugular with a strong increase. Alas, at least 34.71% of respondents will have pity on your pocket when you’re at the liquor store: They’ll hold prices steady they said, while an additional 5.37% will decrease prices slightly.
A summary of postage rate increases show prices for First Class Mail Letters, metered mail for First Class Mail Letter, and First Class Mail Flats will remain constant into 2016, but most other services will see an increase.
Priority Mail Express recently saw an average rate increase of 15.6%, while traditional Priority Mail has increased 9.4%, as of Jan. 17. Other hikes include 11.6% for Priority Mail Express International, 10.2% for Priority Mail International, and 21.6% for First Class Package International Service.
7. Girl Scout Cookies
Your undying love for the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints will make your wallet a little thinner now that boxes of the good stuff are $5 in some areas like Massachusetts and California, up from $4 last year. Pricing is set based on factors like ingredient costs, market size and availability, and shipping costs. From the new fee structure, troops would receive about $.90 per box sold opposed to the $.62 they made on the $4 box. Expect more troops across the country to adopt the new pricing in 2016.
MarketWatch reports that according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook, hotel prices around the globe are expected to rise this year, with North America taking the lead with a 4.3% increase. Hotel prices are estimated to increase 1.8% in Europe, 3% in Asia Pacific, and 3.7% in Latin America. Luckily, there are plenty of deals to cash in on — if you’re a savvy shopper — and you can also save some dough by booking private short-term accommodations from services like Airbnb and Roomorama.
9. Prescription Medication
Drug companies aren’t relenting on seemingly never-ending price increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Pharma players like Pfizer, Amgen, Allergan, and Horizon Pharma “have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts.” Vanda Pharmaceuticals increased by 10% the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, resulting in a 76% hike from when it was introduced in 2014.