A Life-Saving Drug, Bitcoin and More: 9 Prices That Surged in 2017

While U.S. inflation remains modest, there are some striking exceptions to the rule. Here are things significantly more expensive than a year earlier.

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As the U.S. economy continued to mend from the Great Recession, overall inflation remained very modest in 2017. Still, the laws of supply and demand and other pressures apply — and that meant the cost of certain goods and services surged, or soared.

So, if you’re in the market for any of the nine following things, it may put a strain on your budget:

1. Membership at Mar-a-Lago

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New members of the Trump Organization’s Mar-a-Lago resort in tony Palm Beach, Florida, had to reach deeper into their pockets this year. That’s because President Donald Trump frequently hangs out there, drawing people who’d like to get a glimpse of the president and the world leaders he sometimes hosts there. After Trump’s election in 2016, the resort doubled its initiation fee to $200,000, effective Jan. 1, reported CNBC.

2. Bitcoin

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At the beginning of 2017, the price of bitcoin, a digital currency, was less than $1,000. In December it rose to nearly $20,000 on some exchanges. That drove the value of all bitcoin in circulation to an estimated $300 billion. European Union officials are searching for ways to increase oversight of the crypto-currency market.

Even during periods of rising prosperity, prices can fluctuate unexpectedly, said Dean Baker, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. In the case of bitcoin, he warns that a price drop seems inevitable. “I see it as a bubble,” he said. “The only question is when it will burst.”

[Even as this article was going through production, the price of Bitcoin started falling, plummeting to under $11,000 on Friday Watch this space!]

3. Rent in Sacramento

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If you’re a renter in Sacramento, you may be looking for a new place to live in 2018. California’s capital city has seen rental rates surge 9.5 percent over the past year, compared with the state average of 4.3 percent and the national average of 2.7 percent, reported Apartment List. CBS reported that the high cost of renting a home in Sacramento was the result of job growth combined with a shortage of housing.

4. Higher education


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The cost of a college education in the U.S. has been on the rise for years, and in 2017 continued to increase faster than the rate of inflation. The average tuition and fees charged by public and private colleges in 2017 rose between 2.9 percent and 3.6 percent, CNN reported, citing annual figures from the College Board. The average increase for in-state students at public four-year colleges was $300. The cost for attending private colleges rose by about $800 on average. Meanwhile, the rate of inflation was about 2 percent.

5. Admission to Disneyland

Disney Parks sign.
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The happiest place on Earth — home of Mickey, Donald and Goofy — has never been the cheapest. And the cost of visiting the theme park in Anaheim, California, jumped again in 2017. The greatest percentage increase was for parking, which rose from $18 to $20 a day, an 11 percent jump, according to the Mercury News. The cost of a single-day ticket increased between $2 to $5, depending upon the time of year.

Tickets for multiple days increased between $4 and $20, depending on the number of days visited and whether guests bought options to attend a companion theme park, Disney California Adventure, the San Jose, California, newspaper reported. Annual passes went up between $10 and $20, except for higher-cost Signature and Signature Plus passes. Local annual pass holders didn’t see their monthly cost rise by more than $1, however, the report said.

6. Wholesale prices

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Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose 3.1 percent annually through November of 2017, the Associated Press reported. That marks the biggest yearly increase in nearly six years. The spike was fueled by a surge in the cost of gasoline — which jumped 15.8 percent in November alone — and other energy products.

7. Cobalt

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The rising popularity of electric-powered automobiles made cobalt, a by-product of copper and nickel, a hot commodity in 2017. Cobalt is used to create lithium-ion batteries, which power electric cars and numerous other electronic devices. In 2017, cobalt outperformed all other commodities, according to Quartz Media. The price of cobalt increased by 120 percent. In comparison, the Bloomberg commodity index dropped by 4 percent.

8. Insulin

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The rising cost of insulin means some people are spending as much on monthly diabetes-related expenses as their mortgage payments, according to a Business Insider report. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar is too high. In 2015, 30.3 million people in the U.S. — about 9 percent of the population — had the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

In May, the list price of Humalog, a short-acting insulin, was $274.70 for a 10 milliliter bottle, a list price increase of 7.8 percent from July 2016, Business Insider reported. In May, Eli Lilly also took a 7.8 percent list price increase to Humulin, another type of insulin. Novo Nordisk in February raised its price to $275.58 for a 10 milliliter bottle, up 7.9 percent from what the list price had been since July 2016.

9. Groceries in Puerto Rico

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A temporary shortage of grocery products can drive up prices. The devastation in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria led to a scarcity of food supplies. Soft drinks were among the hard-to-get items, driving the price for a unit priced at $1 up to $1.50, NBC reported in late October.

Do any of these price increases affect you or how you shop? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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