While we're sure 2014 will be filled with new and exciting price drops, logic implies that some of our favorite things are just going to cost more. Here at DealNews, we've been watching the trends and can unfortunately report that consumers will see price hikes on a variety of goods and services in the coming year. Beloved foods, restaurants, cars, and smartphones all made our list of things that will be more expensive in 2014. Read on to see why wine, the new iPhone, and McDonald's food will probably cost more next year.
Foul French weather will leave many upscale lushes longing for a cheaper glass of wine in 2014. Storms that raged through the country's finest wine regions — Bordeaux in particular — caused a dismal grape harvest that is certain to lead to higher wine prices. According to the Wall Street Journal, the French national supply of wine has already dwindled to its lowest point in more than 12 years. Fortunately for wine drinkers with less particular palates, Spanish vintners experienced a bountiful harvest this year. This surplus is "likely to create exceptional value for consumers, though willingness to switch from Bordeaux to Spanish wines remains to be seen."
2. Getting a GED
The opposite of fancy French wines, people seeking a GED will have to pay more to take the US high school equivalency exam. The cost of the new GED test varies by state; in North Carolina, for example, the cost is being increased from $35 to $120. Along with the cost, the test format is also being upgraded; in 2014, GED seekers will, for the first time, complete the test on a computer.
Fans of organic Tex-Mex are sure to enjoy Chipotle's separation from genetically modified ingredients — unless they're on a budget. The restaurant has begun a shift toward more organic foods, such as cooking oils made from non-genetically-modified seeds, but these ingredients are not cheap. As a result, Chipotle announced that it may increase prices in the middle of 2014.
Although the doomsday warnings of doubled and tripled milk prices are probably overblown, signs definitely point to the staple being more costly in 2014. A combination of forces, including increased demand for milk exports overseas and Congress' reticence to pass an extension of U.S. agriculture subsidies, are conspiring to raise milk prices next year, according to Bloomberg. We'd suggest hoarding dairy products in the face of the coming milkpocalypse, but that would probably start to smell.
Originally the Postal Regulatory Commission had decided to increase the price of a first-class postage stamp by just a penny in 2014, but the organization has since opted for an even larger 3-cent jump; starting on January 26, these stamps will cost 49 cents each. Currently the increase is only temporary, and will last no more than two years, but inflation may conspire to make it permanent before that time frame is up.
6. The Next iPhone
The Apple iPhone 5S may still feel fresh and new, but the Apple prognosticators are already buzzing about the real iPhone 6. Apple analysts have suggested that the iPhone's latest incarnation may cost even more to make than earlier models, leading to a retail price that's $50 higher than that of the previous generations. According to All Things D, the entry level iPhone 6 "could price out at somewhere between $249 and $299" with a 2-year contract.
7. The Olympics
This year's 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are facing more than just controversy; the games are on track to be the most expensive in history. CNBC reports that the price of the Russian Olympics "is expected to exceed $50 billion — far surpassing the high of $15 billion in Athens in 2004." That said, the article also notes that no Olympic games has ever made a profit for the host country.
8. Traveling with Pets
If you were planning to bring a furry friend on your next Southwest Airlines flight, be prepared to pay a little extra. The airline will raise its pet fee from $75 to $95 on January 15. NBC News reports that, even with the rate hike, Southwest will still boast some of the cheapest pet prices: "United, Delta, American and US Airways all charge $125 each way, while JetBlue and Alaska charge $100."
9. Luxury Cars
Along with costlier French wines, 2014's list of First World problems will also include higher prices on a popular luxury car brand. According to AutoBlog, BMW Group of North America announced in October that many 2014 BMW models would see price increases, ranging from a $300 price hike on all 1 Series and 3 Series Convertibles to a $2,000 increase on the M5 and M6 Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe. The press release called the price hikes "inflationary."
Bakers of pies and makers of pralines will be forced to pay more for pecans in the coming year, thanks to a shortage of the nuts. Pecan groves across the southern US were hit with record rainstorms this past season, leading to a harvest that was up to 35% smaller than the previous year's. What's more, the nuts have become increasingly popular in China, leading to soaring demand (and soaring prices) for pecan exports. Expect a big spike in the cost of pecans in January especially; the nuts have become a sought-after staple of the Chinese New Year.
11. McDonald's Dollar Menu
Fans of bargain fast food received an unpleasant shock when McDonald's recently revamped its Dollar Menu, which features items that cost more than $1. Called the "Dollar Menu and More," this new menu debuted officially in November and includes items such as "$2 burgers and a $5 20-piece chicken McNuggets," according to the Associated Press.
No one wants to hear that prices are going up, but inflation, crop failure, legislative changes, and the mysterious forces of the market hold sway over us all. So as you continue to ring in the new year, give a toast to the lower prices we knew and the deals we'll find to replace them. Readers, were you shocked by an item's inclusion on this list? Tell us all about it in the comments below!