13 Things That Will Be More Expensive in 2015

Photo (cc) by cyclonebill

This post comes from Josie Rubio at partner site DealNews.

Love bourbon, bacon and chocolate? Too bad. Those are just a few of the things you can expect to pay more for next year, thanks to droughts, increased demand and, possibly, hipsters.

Take heart, there’s some good news, too. In spite of the earthquake in Napa Valley this August, wine prices aren’t likely to increase, and even though L.L. Bean has been experiencing a shortage of its signature duck boots, a company spokesperson told DealNews there are no plans right now to raise prices. (With a waitlist of more than 100,000, though, you might want to order a pair for next winter.)

Also, national average gas prices have fallen every day since the end of September, are at four-year lows, and are expected to continue dropping.

To see what you might want to stockpile, read our list of items predicted to be more expensive in 2015.

1. Bourbon

Some think the impending bourbon shortage announced by Buffalo Trace earlier this year is nothing but a marketing ploy to drive up prices and demand, but a spokesperson for the company recently told Business Insider that the shortage is “very real.”

Within the last five years, sales of domestic bourbon have increased 36 percent, and while there’s no minimum aging time for bourbon, most are aged for at least two years or longer. (Buffalo Trace, for example, ages its whiskey for four to 23 years.)

Not predicting the craft cocktail- and hipster-fueled popularity, some bourbon distilleries are rationing their bottles for the first time since the end of Prohibition and, of course, raising prices.

2. Beef and pork (yes, bacon, too)

Remember the bacon shortage panic of 2012? While those reports were exaggerated, the price of bacon has increased, hitting an all-time high in 2014.

It’s not entirely the fault of hipsters and foodies. (Though they’re almost certainly drinking all the bourbon.) Aside from increased demand, a pig-killing virus and higher feed costs have been causing the bacon and pork price hike. Higher feed prices are also affecting beef prices. In fact, Chipotle has even reported that customers are opting for chicken instead of steak after the chain’s menu prices changed to reflect the rising beef costs.

Beef and pork prices will continue to increase in 2015.

3. Avocados

Speaking of burritos, it might cost more to make guacamole. It looks like 2015 will be the year of the avocado shortage, largely because people are eating too many of them. (The real question is, how has everyone been making guacamole without limes?)

4. Chocolate

Well, this is just getting depressing. Top chocolate manufacturers have warned of a cocoa shortage, a disaster that Stephen Colbert predicts will be heralded by “the 3 Musketeers of the apocalypse.”

Ebola-stricken countries produce only 0.7 percent of the world’s cocoa, so the main culprit is a West African drought, as well as increasing worldwide demand for chocolate. Chocolate prices have been rising, particularly in the case of small artisanal chocolate makers who use quality ingredients and often more cocoa for dark chocolate.

If prices of sweet treats don’t increase, it’s not necessarily luck. Some confection experts predict that candy makers will use less chocolate and more of other ingredients — nuts and raisins, for example — to keep costs down, while others will use cheaper ingredients, such as palm oil. Even the Easter Bunny is expected to fill baskets with smaller chocolate eggs this year.

5. Air travel

Fuel prices have been falling, but while airlines are paying less for jet fuel, 17 percent less than a year ago, they are increasing their prices. “An improving economy and the airlines’ skill at operating at full capacity will mean fewer flight bargains,” says Tim Leffel, author of “The World’s Cheapest Destinations” and editor of the Cheapest Destinations blog.

According to the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2015, there will be a 6 percent increase for short-haul business flights, while the Global Business Travel Association Foundation and Carlson Wagonlit Travel predict a 2.5 percent increase in cost for business air travel within North America, slightly higher than the 2.2 percent hike worldwide, but lower than the 3.5 percent Latin American air travel increase.

6. Hotels

“For hotels, business travel is up and unemployment is down, so rates will continue to tick up,” says Leffel. The CWT and GBTA project a 2.2 percent increase in hotel costs for business travelers worldwide, with North America seeing a 3.5 percent increase. Hotel rooms in Latin America are expected to cost 6.5 percent more because of a shortage of rooms.

7. FedEx and UPS fees

FedEx and UPS are implementing dimensional weight pricing in 2015, meaning the price of all packages, not just those larger than 3 cubic feet, will be based on the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its weight. As of Dec. 29, UPS will increase prices 4.9 percent for ground, air, international and freight services in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Beginning Jan. 5, FedEx prices will also increase an average of 4.9 percent for U.S. domestic, import and export services, as well as for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.

However, the U.S. Postal Service offered some good news. Come January, there won’t be any postage increases, though a price hike might just be postponed.

8. Coffee

Last year, coffee prices were expected to drop, but a drought in Brazil, the world’s largest grower of coffee, caused prices to increase among such brands as Folgers, Dunkin’ Donuts, Maxwell House, Gevalia and Starbucks. While Smucker’s, which owns Folgers, said the price hike by as much as $2 per can was a “misstep,” it doesn’t look as if prices will drop in the coming year.

Following an increase in K-cup prices by Keurig, Kraft Foods recently announced an approximately 9 percent price increase for Maxwell House, Yuban, Gevalia and McCafe single-serve K-cup packs.

9. Olive oil

Brazil and West Africa weren’t the only areas affected by drought this past year. Italian olive growers have just weathered what they called the worst year in memory, decreasing olive oil output from Italy by 37 percent, while Spain, the top olive oil exporter to the U.S. and Japan, suffered a drought that’s expected to raise prices worldwide.

10. Some sports cars

If you were thinking of buying a car, keep in mind that some models for 2015 will be more expensive. For example, for the 2015 Ford Mustang, prices have increased about $1,000, says Jeff Ostroff of CarBuyingTips.com. At some Ford dealerships, he says, “they were selling all the new Mustangs at full sticker price off the truck last month, and all were selling.”

11. Redbox rentals

As of Jan. 6, the price of renting a video game from a Redbox kiosk will increase by $1 to $3 per day. In December, Redbox raised DVD rentals by 30 cents to $1.50 per day, while Blu-ray disc rentals increased by 50 cents to $2 per day.

12. Girl Scout Cookies

Before you start hoarding Thin Mints, relax — unless you live in California. Prices of Girl Scout Cookies are set by each of the 112 Girl Scout councils across the country, so prices vary.

San Francisco Girl Scouts raised prices last year to $5 a box, and in 2015, Orange County and Los Angeles-area Girl Scouts are following suit. (Just keep in mind that about 75 percent of sales go back to the Scouts, and you’ll make a girl aiming for a badge very happy. Also, Girl Scout Cookies in Hawaii have been $5 per box for years.)

13. Health care

Medical costs will increase by 6.8 percent in 2015, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute report.

The institute’s survey found that 85 percent of employers are implementing or considering increasing employee cost-sharing within the next three years, and 18 percent of employers now offer a high-deductible health plan as the only health insurance option for employees.

Some insured under the Affordable Care Act could pay up to 20 percent more for health insurance if they don’t reconsider their current plans. During open enrollment through Feb. 15, it’s possible to switch to a plan that will cost less, taking into account the ACA tiers of coverage, monthly premiums, deductibles, and possible tax subsidies and cost-sharing reductions.

If that weren’t enough, a new AARP report and the Segal 2015 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey predict the continuing dramatic increase of name-brand prescription drug prices. “Typically, less than 1 percent of all prescriptions are specialty drug medications, yet these drugs now account for more than 25 percent of total prescription drug cost trends,” says Edward Kaplan, Segal’s national health practice leader.

Oh, and generic drug prices are going up, too.

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