15 Things That Are More Expensive This Year

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What goes up doesn’t usually come down, at least when it comes to consumer prices.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index — a common gauge for inflation — prices increased by 2.5% overall from January 2019 to January 2020.

Here’s a look, in no particular order, at some goods and services that saw price hikes in 2019 or that increased in price over the course of last year, meaning they are more costly in 2020 than they were a year or so ago.

1. Eating out

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Prices probably went up at your favorite restaurants in 2019. According to the BLS Consumer Price Index report for January 2020, the cost of dining out rose 3.1% from January 2019.

If your budget is feeling the pinch, check out “A Former Restaurant Critic Shares Her 11 Best Tips for Dining Out Cheaply but Well.”

2. Postage

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The price of a first-class stamp went up 5 cents to 55 cents in January 2019. Priority Mail prices also rose.

Then, the Postal Service kicked off 2020 with another round of price hikes, this one affecting international letters and various Priority Mail packages, as we recently reported. First-class stamps remain 55 cents.

3. Cable TV

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Multiple major cable TV providers, including Comcast and Charter, raised rates by as much as 50% in 2019. And AT&T hiked prices for its U-verse and DirecTV services starting in January, as we report in “3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020.”

4. Streaming TV services

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It’s not just cable: Streaming TV also has gotten more expensive. AT&T TV Now and Hulu + Live TV, for example, hiked their prices not once but twice during 2019, as we recently reported.

Perhaps it’s time to check out free moving streaming.

5. Traditional Medicare

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In 2019, deductible amounts rose for Medicare Parts A and B, and the standard monthly premium went up slightly for Part B, as Money Talks News reported. Fortunately, the Part B standard premium rose only $1.50 per month and the deductible rose $2 per year. The Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible increased $24.

This year, these same Medicare deductibles and premiums saw much bigger increases. For example, the Part B standard premium rose by $9.10 per month, while the Part B deductible rose by $13 per year.

6. College tuition and fees

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The College Board says tuition and fees increased across the board over the past decade, rising by the following amounts during that time:

  • $670 at public two-year colleges
  • $2,020 at public four-year institutions
  • $6,210 at private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities

Feeling overwhelmed? Check out “10 Colleges Where Tuition Is Free” and, if you’re 60 or older, “10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors.”

7. Credit card late fees

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The federally allowed thresholds for credit card late payment penalties rose by $1 each at the start of 2019 and again by $1 each in 2020, as Money Talks News recently reported. These thresholds are now:

  • First late payment penalty: $29
  • Subsequent late payment penalty: $40

8. Movie theater tickets

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The average price for seeing a film in a theater rose to $9.16 in 2019, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. That is up from $9.11 one year earlier and up from $7.50 one decade ago.

Still, there are plenty of ways you can cut costs — see “13 Easy Ways to Save Big Bucks at the Movies.”

9. New cars

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The cost for that “new car smell” went up 1% overall in 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book.

But increases were not across the board. Intriguingly, KBB finds these changes in prices from November 2018 to November 2019:

  • Hyundai Kia: up 9.9%
  • Ford Motor Co.: up 6.6%
  • American Honda: down 2%
  • Volkswagen: down 0.3%

10. Credit card interest rates

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The average credit card annual percentage rate (APR) hit 14.87% in the fourth quarter of 2019. That’s slightly higher than the 14.73% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve.

11. Rent

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Monthly lease amounts rose 1.6% over the past year, according to Apartment List’s National Rent Report.

The analysis notes that virtually all of the rent rise — 1.3% –happened from March to June 2019:

“Although this was the fastest growth over any three month period since the summer of 2017, this spike was short-lived, and rents have otherwise remained stable over the past twelve months.”

12. Stocks

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The price of shares for U.S. stocks, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, rose more than 25% in 2019 as of early December, according to Sam Stovall of CFRA Research, an investment research and analytics company.

When we checked on Dec. 30, the S&P 500 had returns of 28.5% compared with Jan. 1, 2019.

13. Groceries

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The price of groceries increased 0.7% overall from January 2019 to January 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index listing for the “food at home” category.

The grocery category that saw the biggest rise during this 12-month span — 2.7% — was dairy and related products.

14. Newspapers and magazines

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The cost of being informed also rose during 2019. U.S. readers paid 6% more overall for newspapers and magazines in January 2020 than in January 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

15. Cigarettes

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Smokers paid 5.9% more for cigarettes in January 2020 than in January 2019, the BLS Consumer Price Index shows.

It remains to be seen how sales in 2020 will be affected by the legal tobacco-buying age being raised nationally to 21.

What 2019 price increases have hurt you the most? Have rising prices caused you to change your buying habits? Share your comment below or on our Facebook page.

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