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Your tax refund will be a little late this year, and more money is coming out of your paycheck to satisfy Uncle Sam. The last thing you’ll want to hear is that prices are going up on everything from sandwich meat to satellite TV, but brace yourself.
There are various reports out there on how much deeper you’ll be digging to make it through the year:
Food: Steak, hamburger, bacon and other favorite meats are expected to cost 3 percent to 4 percent more this year, according to CNN Money’s list of top price increases, citing forecasts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The meat price hikes result from lower livestock inventories and the higher cost for grains farmers use for feeding following last year’s U.S. drought, which also pushed prices higher for eggs, cheese and milk. The price of milk is expected to rise 3 to 4 percent this year.
College: Higher education in Georgia will cost more this fall. The State Board of Regents raised tuition by 2.5 percent for students attending 32 of the 35 colleges in the University System of Georgia. Georgia Tech will see the largest increase at 6 percent. Students will pay $3,859 per semester, a $218 bump. At the University of Georgia, a 5 percent increase awaits students, hiking their tuition by $182 to $3,823 per semester. Georgia State students will pay 3.5 percent more, with semester charges growing by $127 to $3,768. Georgia, however, isn’t alone, according to the the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, which says U.S. college students face paying nearly 5 percent more for in-state tuition and 4 percent more in fees this year.
Gas: The volatility of gas prices is expected to continue, depending on conflicts in the Middle East, disruptions due to hurricanes, seasonal fluctuations and the usual market speculation. The average price of regular unleaded Friday in metro Atlanta was around $3.34 a gallon, according to AAA. that’s up 4 cents from a week ago and up 10 cents from a year ago.
Health insurance: Health insurance premiums are expect to rise as much as 6 percent, thanks to Obamacare, and employers are expected to pass much of that cost on to their workers.
Cable, satellite TV: CNN Money reports satellite and cable TV will cost more, with DISH raising prices as much as $15 starting Jan. 17 and DirecTV raising average bills 4.5 percent starting Feb. 7.
Car prices: Automakers are hiking the prices of their vehicles, partly because of more stringent fuel-efficiency standards. Some Lexus models, for example, are going up as much as $3,000 while other Toyota models also seeing price hikes, like the $175 higher cost for a Camry.
Computers, smartphones: Electronic gadgets will cost more, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and expect to pay more for laptops, tablets and smartphones as these become more sophisticated.
Stamps: Even the U.S. Post Office is getting in on the act, charging you a penny more to mail a standard letter as the price of a stamp rises to 46 cents starting Jan. 27. CNN points out that both Atlanta-based UPS and Fedex also have announced rate hikes for package deliveries averaging about 5 percent.
All this comes as millions of employees face more money being taken out of their paychecks to cover a 6.2 percent Social Security tax, instead of the 4.2 percent tax they paid in 2011 and 2012. Congress allowed a payroll tax cut, which saved the average household around $1,000 a year, to expire Dec. 31.
How will you cope?