Wages, home prices, and the stock market have all been dropping over the past few years. The American consumer is seeing the U.S. dollar buy far less than it did just a decade ago. At a time in our economy when asset prices seem to keep going down, there are a few things that just keep increasing in price. If you want to win with money, you must identify what those items are that constantly increase in price, plan for those upcoming expenses, and continue to work on increasing your income. Here are a few big ticket items that always seem to increase in price:
1. College Tuition
The cost of higher education always seems to be going up. The average cost of college tuition at a private four year college is $26,273. According to College Board, college tuition will increase anywhere from $172 to $1,096 over the next 12 months. Not long ago, colleges used to offer lock-in programs. The cost of your tuition your freshman year was the same price as your tuition cost your senior year. While tuition lock-in programs may have gone the way of the dinosaur, you can still lock in tuition costs by investing in a prepaid savings 529 plan. The prepaid savings plan guarantees tuition payments at most in-state colleges. If you have kids, college planning is an essential part of your long-term financial plan so your children have the opportunity to get a college degree, and you nor your children should go into debt to get this degree if you have the ability to save for it now.
Does anyone actually like paying taxes? The problem with state and federal taxes is that they only go in one direction, UP! Federal income taxes are likely to continue to rise in the future as the government has to address rising Social Security, Medicare costs, and a growing national deficit. States will also keep increasing taxes to meet budgetary shortfalls in payroll and pension programs. Even property taxes continually rise when housing prices are dropping. You can escape state income taxes if you don’t mind relocating to Texas, Florida, Washington, South Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, and Wyoming. Now the federal part, on the other hand, there is no legal way around that!
3. Postage Stamps
The United States Postal Service just announced the postage stamps will be increasing in price again in January. The postal service just increased rates last May of 2009. A first class stamp will now rise nearly 5% to 46 cents. The U.S. Postal Service is trying to raise money to cover its budgetary shortfall. The federal agency lost $3.8 billion dollars last year and is facing a $7 billion dollar shortfall this year. You can get around paying the proposed increase by stocking up on forever stamps now. You could also eliminate the need to mail bills by using online bill pay at your local bank or credit union. It’s a free service. You will rarely need to send letters with the advent of email, texting, and Skype.
The cost of healthcare is steadily increasing nationwide. Healthcare premiums only increase as you get older. Healthcare costs are expected to rise 9.5% over the next year despite the new healthcare reform bill. Employers are switching employees to high deductible health plans causing employees to pay more money for out-of-pocket expenses. If your employer has given you a high deductible insurance plan, you are eligible to enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSA’s can significantly decrease your premium payments and employers may even choose to offer matching contributions.
Do you know of any other items that are always increasing in price?