Eight things that cost more this year
Higher prices, common purchases
If it seems like you're spending a little extra cash this holiday season, you're not imagining things. Overall this year, prices are about 2 percent higher than last holiday season, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For some popular items, the increase is even worse. NBC News came up with this list of 8 things that will cost you a little more this holiday season.
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Up first, something we all need, clothing! There was a cotton shortage in 2011 that pushed clothing prices up 6 percent. "Consumers didn't balk at the increase, so I don't think prices will be less expensive this year," says Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group Inc. in Port Washington, N.Y.
Shoppers' desire to buy upscale clothing adds to the problem. Miami consumer blogger Annie Vazquez, who runs The Fashion Poet blog and has been featured in Elle magazine, says clothing could be pricier at big-box stores such as Target, as known designers such as Oscar de la Renta are introducing discount lines.
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"It's going to be a huge thing," she says. "Target shoppers are very interested in labels."
Shoppers are also facing higher prices on another necessity: shoes. Many brands are using celebrities to sell their pumps and that means higher prices, after paying that celebrity spokesperson.
Plus, Marshal Cohen says high-end athletic shoes across the board are more expensive.
The holidays are a popular time for giving the gift of digital cameras. However, manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon are in a conundrum because every smartphone has a camera.
"Since so many phones have cameras, they are manufacturing better digital cameras to compete with that to offer consumers better quality," Vazquez says. "Many of these cameras also offer top-notch video capabilities. Camera phones can only do so much."
So, if you are going to indulge the shutterbug in your family, be ready to put down some serious bucks. Stores such as Best Buy will package a camera with a set of lenses, a bag and other items, which also drives up the price, she says.
Prices for these high-tech SLRs can range anywhere from $500 for a Canon Rebel to more than $1,000 for a Nikon D700.
Electronic gadgets are popular gifts, but that means you may need to get a new data plan, and carriers are no longer being so generous with the cost of those plans.
Part of the reason is that cellphone carriers are eating the price of much of these high-tech smartphones thinking the data plans will more than make up for these loss leaders.
"Phone companies have figured out they can make a lot of money on the service side," Cohen says."Everybody thinks, 'I just bought the iPad or a Kindle Fire, and I just turn it on,' but to access the Internet and download products, you have to have a data plan," he says.
Amazon, Cohen says, is not selling its Kindle products as a traditional electronic item but as a product platform, creating loyal customers for what it really sells repeatedly: books and music.
"It's the new razor-blade model," says Joe Feldman, a senior analyst for the Telsey Advisory Group in New York City, referring to how razor companies make money off the blades, not the razor itself.
The hottest toys of the season can also put a dent in your holiday budget. Only six items on the Toys R Us hot toy list cost less than $50 and give cost $100 or more. Even the majority of toys on Walmart's list are at least $50.
When you make your holiday budget, you may plan for all the gifts, but you might forget to add the other everyday items like food and fuel. However, you need power to turn on all those holiday lights, and gas to visit Grandma's house. If you're entertaining the family, they need to eat!
Fuel and food prices have risen over the last 12 months on the whole, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In its November Consumer Price Index release, the BLS said indexes for gasoline and fuel oil have increased over the last 12 months, rising 9.1 percent and 5.6 respectively. But there is a brighter side to this -- electricity and natural gas prices have declined.
On the food front, the BLS said groceries have increased in price about 1 percent over the last 12 months. Eating out is also more expensive, rising 2.7 percent since October 2011.
Finally, for longer trips to visit long-distance family or friends, airline tickets have seen price increases. Domestic ticket prices are up 4 percent from 2011, according to industry trade group Airlines for America.
For those thinking of traveling by car, gas has dipped some, giving a bit of relief. But "we are still looking at historically high prices," says Heather Hunter, spokeswoman for AAA in Orlando, Fla.
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