Money Matters

Seven Price Hikes - and How to Save in Spite of Them

When headlines announce price hikes for coffee and chocolate, consumers tend to get frazzled. However, dishing out a few extra cents on these indulgences doesn’t create a major financial burden. When expenses like healthcare and bank fees rise, everyone needs to perk up and learn how to protect personal and family finances.

Here are seven goods and services with prices on the rise, along with tips on how to squash extra spending on such essentials.

1. ATM Fees

The cost of accessing your own money has increased over 20 percent in the last five years, according to recent reports. With the average fee to withdraw funds amounting to over $4.50, consumers should find fee-free alternatives to get cash. Ask your financial institution if they’re a member of Allpoint, a surcharge-free network of over 55,000 ATMs where you can access your cash for free. You can also withdraw cash using debit when shopping at a grocery store, drugstore and other retailers.

2. Breakfast Foods

America’s favorite breakfast foods are costing families more than ever, with eggs at record-high prices and cereal seeing cost increases of 20 cents per ounce over the last five years. These price hikes can be managed through bulk buying, as both eggs and cereal are less-per-unit when purchased from warehouse club stores. For other ways to combat rising breakfast costs, check out my detailed tips here.

3. Healthcare

We’re in the throes of open enrollment season and many consumers have seen their healthcare costs go up, especially as companies push price hikes onto their employees. With premiums increasing as much as 30 percent compared to last year, it’s imperative families review plans carefully. While low premium plans may seem appealing, these often come with high deductibles of $1,000 or more a year, and those out-of-pocket expenses can become a huge financial burden. Opt for supplemental insurance to help cover those potential costs, with most plans paying cash benefits so you always have money on hand. If your employer doesn’t offer this voluntary benefit, ask your HR representative to consider it.

4. Shipping Surcharges

Despite fuel cost decreases of around 35 percent, both UPS and FedEx are increasing surcharges between 60 and 67 percent. This could significantly impact e-commerce over the next few months, especially small retailers who can’t negotiate lesser rates or swallow the cost of shipping charges. These increases will likely trickle down to the consumer in the form of higher product prices or shipping fees. Always look for online savings with coupon codes from sites like, and mark your calendar for Dec. 18 for this year’s Free Shipping Day when hundreds of retailers waive minimum order requirements and offer guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

5. Mobile Plans