Few things are certain in life, but given enough time, rising prices are all but guaranteed. The coming new year will bring higher prices on plenty of mainstay expenditures from movies to travel. Here's what you can expect to spend a little -- or a lot -- more for in 2018.
Health insurance premiums come with too many variables to make blanket statements about rates rising or falling, but the most popular plans are likely to charge much higher prices. Thanks to market insecurity and the Trump administration's elimination of federal payments to insurers, many customers who don't get federal subsidies can expect so-called silver plans bought on the federal exchange to jump by an average 34 percent, according to the consultant Avalere.
The U.S. Post Office announced modest price increases across the board for letter delivery and priority mail flat rate delivery. UPS announced price hikes for package, air freight, and freight delivery, with increases averaging 4.9 percent beginning on Dec. 24. And effective Jan. 1, FedEx also raises rates for express, ground, freight, and FedEx One Rate pricing.
With profits declining, theater chains such as Regal are considering instituting "dynamic pricing," which raises the price of the most popular movies at the most popular times. Theaters may, however, try to draw crowds by lowering the price of movies that flop.
The United States Department of Agriculture predicts that the price of retail food -- specifically meat, eggs and dairy -- will jump between 1 percent and 2 percent in the new year, though the cost of processed fruits and oils and fats could drop. And though it may be hard tell, overall prices will still be below where they were in 2015.
The World Bank predicts that the price of commodities in general will rise -- but one carries more weight than the others: oil. Prices are expected to jump to $56 a barrel from $53 in 2017 this year, which of course relates directly to the cost of filling up at the gas station.
Expect higher utility bills in homes using natural gas. Demand is expected to outpace supply as the nation moves toward a gradual transition to natural gas as a preferred fuel, meaning costs are likely to rise in most regions.
Chances are good it'll cost more to visit the local stadium for season ticket holders and occasional patrons alike, and for both college and pro sports. Teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Penn State Nittany Lions, and Miami Dolphins are all increasing the cost of tickets. Check with the local franchise to see if you'll be asked to cough up even more.
One of the most iconic and popular arts festivals in the country and the world, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, welcomes visitors from across the globe -- who should be preparing to pay more across all badge types. What's more, prices increase on Jan. 12, again on Feb. 9, and then again if tickets are bought at the festival. Even if you don't go to SXSW, you can expect music and arts festivals nationwide to follow suit.
The cost of higher education will continue to rise. Increases will affect public two-year and four-year colleges, as well as private universities. With tuition already at record high prices, projected increases will outpace the rate of inflation, according to The College Board.
Jetsetters can expect to pay more for excursions in most of the world, according to the Global Business Travel Association. Global airfare will likely increase by 3.5 percent; the cost of staying in a hotel, 3.7 percent. Ground transportation such as trains, buses, and taxis is expected to increase, but by only about 0.6 percent.
Realtors expect 2018 to be a banner year for new home sales, with 1.3 million new houses likely to be built. That uptick is likely to drive an increase in prices, with costs expected to increase by 4.9 percent in the coming year.
Entry into 17 of America's most popular national parks will rise as the National Park Service seeks to eliminate maintenance backlogs. The increases will take place during peak visitation times. The price of popular Forest Service maps is also expected to rise.
The phenomenon of inflation reduces the buying power of a dollar over time. This affects the price of almost every product and service, and 2018 will not be immune. Total inflation is expected to rise by between 1.9 percent and 2.1 percent, according to analysts such as Kiplinger. Historically speaking, that's a fairly modest rate.