One thing is for sure: 2022 is going to cost you.
Between inflation and ongoing supply chain issues, prices are rising on consumer goods nearly across the board.
“I really don’t think there’s any way to escape,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t shop smarter for the things you need and want.
Here’s a list of some of the major items that will cost more in the year ahead, and what you can do about it now.
For some, buying a house has been one of the pandemic’s greatest challenges, even as mortgage rates hit record lows. Unfortunately, 2022 could be another year of new highs as home prices continue to appreciate two-to three-times faster than a year ago — across all cities, according to CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Selma Hepp. “An expected increase in mortgage rates next year will present further challenges,” she added.
Pro tip: Higher rates could help dampen demand for homes, at least a little, which may result in less dramatic home price growth and fewer bidding wars, eventually making it easier for some homebuyers to get in the door. And with rent prices going up, it will still be a good time buy.
Going to the grocery store is going to start eating away at your budget very quickly. It’s not just staples like eggs, meat and milk that are getting more expensive; Coca-Cola and PepsiCo also announced price increases, thanks to more supply-chain and labor problems. Even Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Sour Patch Kids will cost more in 2022, Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put recently told CNBC — starting with a 7% price hike in the beginning of the year.
Pro tip: It’ll be hard to avoid getting gouged on groceries. Watch for weekly sales and stock up when you can, Ramhold advised. And while clipping coupons may seen outdated, many stores have digital deals or membership discounts that will save you money. A credit card with grocery rewards can help with your weekly spending, as well.
Americans are finally ready to say goodbye to their sweatpants but this isn’t going to be the best time to shop. Even though clothing sales are expected to make a full recovery this year with many shoppers looking to refresh their pandemic-era wardrobes, supply chain pressures will drive retail prices higher by an average of 3.2%, according to a report on the Business of Fashion by McKinsey — and 15% of fashion executives expect to increase prices by 10% or more in 2022.
4. Heating costs
Heating bills could put you in a cold sweat this season. Nearly half of households that heat with natural gas are projected to spend 30% more than they did last winter on average, according to the Winter Fuels Outlook 2021 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Propane users will spend 54% more, while heating oil users could see bills go up 43% and electricity users are expected to spend another 6%, according to the report.
Pro tip: Consider a home energy audit to spot and fix potential leaks and find areas for improvement, like sealing drafty windows, for starters. In some states, utility companies may even offer the service for free.
After gasoline prices jumped a whopping 58.1% over the past year, it’s hard to imagine paying even more at the pump. And yet, in some states, including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, gas prices are likely to bump up even further “very soon” due, in part, to a rise in wholesale prices, according to GasBuddy.com.
Pro tip: Depending on where you live, there can be big price swings between gas stations. Even if the difference in price per gallon doesn’t seem like much, it can still add up to hundreds of dollars a year.
6. Dining out
Restaurants have been under pressure since the very start of the pandemic and ongoing staffing challenges aren’t going away anytime soon. As a result, most have had to raise wages to attract workers on top of paying more for food and that means menu prices will be going up, too.
Pro tip: Look for weekly specials or dining deals, like two-for-one burger nights. Sometimes getting more for your money is a good way to add value even at a higher price.
New car prices are at an all-time high, while used car and truck prices, which used to be a good way to score a deal, have been driving the inflation burst, up 31.4% year over year, making this a particularly challenging time to shop for an automobile.
Pro tip: You may not be able to get the price down, but dealers are paying more for used autos, which means you could get more on a trade-in, or a lower-than-market price in a lease buyout.
8. Computers and electronics
Computers, TVs and video game consoles have all been hard hit by the ongoing chip shortage and that means there’s much less inventory, even if you are willing to pay a premium — which many people are since it’s become basically impossible to buy a video game console during the pandemic-fueled boom for gaming.
Pro tip: Some the best sales of the year are coming up around Presidents’ Day and Super Bowl Sunday when retailers mark down last year’s models to make room for this year’s offerings. Otherwise, score what you can when it’s in stock, Ramhold said. These prices aren’t likely to come back down even when supply finally catches up with demand.
Sheltering at home sent most people into a renovation frenzy, but even small updates won’t come cheap. Furniture prices could rise by more than 10% in the year ahead due to higher container freight rates, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Not to mention the price of building supplies for more major makeovers.
Pro tip: A good decluttering and a fresh coat of paint can provide a much-needed boost until some of the shipping delays and supply-side problems ease up on those bulkier items.
10. Medical care
Paying for health care was a problem long before the pandemic. Now, health costs are up 8.4% from 2020, according to a medical index published by consulting firm Milliman, pushing the cost of care just out of reach for many Americans.
Pro tip: Don’t delay going to the doctor. One way to help with the cost is to use tax-advantaged accounts for medical expenses — specifically, health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts. To be able to use an HSA, you need to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, or HDHP. Contributions then grow on a tax-free basis and you can invest that money to keep pace with or beat health-care inflation.