A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the end of the year is a great time to reassess some of your expenditures and explore ways that you might be able to save some money and add to your disposable income in the new year. In this post, we’ll spotlight a less enjoyable – but equally important – topic: things you may need to budget more for in 2019.
Here’s a look at what you can expect to pay more for next year and what you can do about it to offset expected price hikes.
If you think you pay too much for groceries now, you may be in for an even more unpleasant surprise in 2019. That’s because many leading brands – from Coca-Cola to Mondelez – have all announced plans to raise prices in response to higher shipping and ingredient costs. USDA prices are also expected to increase up to 2 percent in the new year. The good news is that many meats and fruits are likely to be priced on the low end in the future, however a higher grocery bill should be expected.
What can you do? Not much if you enjoy foods from name brands. But if you’re OK with moving away from name brands to store or value brands, it could be one way to offset the increase. If you’re really committed to keeping the grocery bill down, another option is to get into couponing or explore rewards-offering credit cards offered by your favorite store.
The struggles of the U.S. postal service are well documented, and to stay viable certain postage prices are set for a significant increase come January 27, 2019. Priority Mail Express prices are set to increase by nearly 4 percent, standard Priority Mail by about 6 percent and first-class mail by about 10 percent. Stamps will also increase by about 10 percent.
If you’re not paying all your bills online, start doing that today to save on stamp costs. Also, pay close attention to the return policies of online retailers. See if you’re on the hook for shipping costs should you need to send something back. Some retailers, such as Amazon, allow you to drop off returns at its physical locations at no postage cost.
In order to keep up with increases in programming fees (and a reduction in conventional subscribers), expect a spike in your cable bill soon. This is especially true if you’re a Comcast customer, as the provider already announced a 3.3 increase for customers come January 1, 2019.
Explore cutting the cable cord. If you still want cable channels, consider subscribing to one of the streaming services available, such as Playstation Vue, YouTube TV, Sling or Hulu with Live TV, which are available at a fraction of the price of standard cable (though offer a more limited package). You’ll likely have to pony up some upfront expenses to get your home Internet in good order and to acquire streaming devices, but cutting the cord is becoming an increasingly popular and affordable long-term solution.
Increases in oil prices and the booming economy are likely to drive up travel costs in the new year. In fact, hotel prices are likely to increase by more than 3.5 percent and airline fares are expected to tick up by about 2.5 percent.
Shopping airlines and hotels for the best rates is always a good idea. Another option is to drive to your destination instead of fly, should the logistics and money savings make sense. Finally, we’d also suggest capitalizing on the loyalty rewards programs offered by many airlines and hotel chains. Even if you’re not using earned miles or night stays toward travel right away, subscribing to rewards programs will at least offer you the knowledge that you’re banking points toward a future free flight or stay.
Do you have your household budget in check for 2019? What price increases do you expect to impact you the most? Start preparing today to minimize any unwelcome surprises come January 1.