Buyers who are holding on to their money waiting for lower prices, may want to start spending now. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows prices are on the rise and they are going to continue to climb. Before prices get too high, here are some things you may want to buy now. The price of these items are on the rise and soon they will be costing you plenty more:
Coffee: The price of coffee futures recently hit a 13-year high. Blame bad weather in South America and low U.S. stockpiles of coffee beans.
Cotton clothing: Again, the weather is to blame in part for this increase. A drought in China is damaging cotton crops there, causing the world's largest cotton producer and consumer to increase prices. Another major cotton producer, Pakistan, was devastated by floods, and another, India, is restricting its exports.
Health insurance: Medical care prices fell in July for the first time in 35 years. But that doesn't mean health premiums are dropping. Workers are paying more of their health care costs as businesses look to cut costs. The average employee contribution toward premiums for family coverage climbed 14% this year to nearly $4,000.
Postage: The USPS is recommending a 2 cent increase (about 5%) on a first-class stamp to 46 cents beginning next year. I stock up on "Forever" stamps so get to miss most of the price increases. I think we will pare down our Christmas card list though.
Bacon: The price of pork bellies -- from which bacon is cut -- jumped to an all-time high of $1.42 a pound, soaring more than 200% from a year ago. Retail prices are up nearly 16% over the past few months -- from about $3.64 per pound in April to $4.21 in July -- according to the Department of Agriculture. May need to freeze some.
Utility bills: The latest increase in the Labor Department's Producer Price Index, which tracks the change in the average price paid to manufacturers for goods, was attributed to a 2.2% increase in energy prices. Electricity and natural gas prices are expected to continue to climb in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Maybe it's time to think about getting a solar charger for the iPad and other gadgets sucking power at home.
Airline tickets: Airlines have raised their fees by as much as 50% from a year ago, and that's just the beginning. Also, fees have increased so much, that there is a chunk of dollars to fly that does not show up in the ticket price. I know I forked over $100 over the past few weeks for luggage fees. With fewer planes flying, and thus fewer seats, airline ticket prices are projected to increase this fall and winter and airline experts are recommending booking soon for holiday travel. If you do pay more for an airline seat for Thanksgiving or Christmas, save some money by packing light.
Link to latest CPI here.