"The only things certain in life are death and taxes."
Actually, make that death, taxes, and inflation.
Surveying the raft of end-of-year surveys floating around right now, it quickly becomes apparent that not only are our taxes set to rise in 2013, but the cost of a whole lot of other stuff is going up, too. The question is: How much more expensive will life get in the new year? Here are the grim statistics.
The USDA estimates that grain prices will be about 3% higher in the new year. Add in the cost of converting grain to meat and dairy products, and food items could take an even bigger bite out of your budget. When all's said and done, expect your grocery bill to go up about 4% in the new year. Call it $40 a month.
Health care: $247
Even if you're an optimist, though, and assume those OOPS costs hold steady in 2013, benefits analyst Aon Hewitt says you should expect a 6% hike in the cost of employee health care premiums alone: an extra $247, give or take (more likely taken), out of your paycheck.
Getting around: $3,000
Tesla's bumping the price of its flagship electro-sedan a cool $2,500 to $59,900 in 2013. The cheaper 2013 Lexus is rising nearly $3,000 in price. Meanwhile, the $2,000 price hike at Hyundai -- the "econobox" car company -- represents a staggering 16% price hike to $14,545. Of the three, Lexus' buggy sells closest to the 2012 average cost of a new car -- $30,748. So don't be surprised if many of the cars you window-shop this new year cost about $3,000 more than they used to.
Computing costs: $20
Next year, expect an Office Home & Student 2013 disk containing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote to set you back $140 -- $20 more than Office 2010 did last year. If you need the more powerful Office Home & Business 2013 suite, that'll come with a similar $20 bump (to $220).
Everything else: $47
That's particularly distressing, because in December, both FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) announced they're raising rates. FedEx says it's hiking the cost of shipping via FedEx Express by 3.9% on Jan. 7, and upping the cost of FedEx Ground service by 4.9%. Taking its cue, UPS said it will raise its own UPS Air rates 4.5%, and UPS Ground will cost 4.9% more.
Now consider that InternetRetailer.com estimated that the average consumer spent about $1,207 online in 2012. Consider further that although many online stores advertise their goods as coming with "free shipping," there's rarely such a thing as a free lunch. Generally speaking, when an e-tailer says it will ship something "for free," it means the shipping cost has been built into the item's price. That being the case, online shopping in 2013 could conceivably cost you $47 more than it did last year... just to guarantee FedEx and UPS their Christmas bonus.
Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith thinks higher taxes and more inflation are still better than the alternative. Slightly. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Amazon.com, FedEx, Microsoft, Tesla Motors , and United Parcel Service.