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8 Things That Will Cost Consumers More in 2013

Meg Handley

Despite reaching a fiscal cliff deal that will shield 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase, more than three quarters of American households will still face higher federal tax bills in 2013. That's because legislators failed to renew a temporary reduction in payroll taxes, worth about $1,000 to a worker earning $50,000 a year.

But that's not the only bad news for consumers' pocketbooks. Regardless of the tax package Congress finally cobbled together Tuesday, a bevy of products Americans use every day are about to get pricier, according to experts.

[RELATED: Despite Deal, Most Americans Get Tax Hike]

Here's a look at some items consumers will probably paying more for in 2013:

1. New cars: More stringent fuel-efficiency standards enacted by the Obama administration are making engines more expensive to produce, which in turn translates into costlier cars, according to consumer deals site Dealnews.

The sticker price on the Toyota Camry will go up $175 this year and the 2013 Lexus CT 200h will be almost $3,000 more expensive than last year's model.

2. Groceries: Remember the drought this summer that scorched the nation's farming regions? Thanks to the brutal dry spell, food prices are expected to rise as much as 4 percent in 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture says, which translates into an extra $40 a month in food costs according to some estimates.

[READ: Fiscal Cliff Bill Loaded With Pork]

A scarcity of corn caused livestock feed prices to spike, forcing farmers to cut back herd sizes to keep costs in check. With less supply of beef, poultry, and milk-producing cows, your next visit to the butcher's counter and dairy cooler is likely to be a bit pricier.

Cereal and other bakery products will rise, too, according to experts. Lower wheat yields on account of the drought have crimped supply and driven prices up. The USDA expects prices for those items to creep up by as much as 3.5 percent in the coming year.

3. Health insurance: While increases will vary by state and specific plan, employers will face higher insurance premiums in 2013, with average hikes around 6 percent according to human resources consulting firm Aon Hewitt. Those cost increases will be passed along in part to employees, who will see more of their paycheck--an extra $267 a year on average--going toward health benefits.

4. High-end electronics: Gadget geeks should prepare for some shockingly high price tags on the latest and greatest electronics, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Ultra HD TVs will sell for as much as $25,000, and advances in audio technology such as Apple Airplay will help drive up equipment costs as well.

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Laptops and tablet computers will also see price increases as Apple's new notebooks with retina displays and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system fuels the adoption of premium--and expensive--touchscreen PCs.

5: College tuition: While Washington is wrangling with fiscal woes at the federal level, states have their own issues and it could mean deep cuts to higher education subsidies. As education costs continue to rise, many states will no longer be able to subsidize as much of their residents' tuition costs.

That means rising costs will get passed along to students, who could end up paying almost 5 percent more for in-state tuition in 2013 and almost 4 percent more in fees, according to the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

6. Smartphones: Consumers have gotten used to getting crazy deals when they sign a contract with a cell service provider, but the era of free phones might be coming to end. In 2013, T-Mobile will begin charging full price for its phones, according to Dealnews. While the blow might be softened by cheaper service rates, the higher upfront cost might be a tough pill to swallow for many consumers.

"Most people are unaware of how much a smartphone actually costs because they're so accustomed to the subsidized price tag that they always see," says Lindsay Sakraida, features director at Dealnews.

Still, consumers can actually save money over the long run by rustling up the cash to pay full price for a phone and opting for a cheaper service plan, Sakraida says.

7. Shipping: The cost to ship packages could see an almost 5 percent hike in 2013, with major freight companies UPS and FedEx both planning to up prices in the new year, according to Dealnews. That means free shipping perks from retailers could get scarcer or the dollar-amount thresholds higher.

8. Anything made with copper: A new fund to trade copper approved by the Securities Exchange Commission could result in a scarcity of the metal, which could drive up prices for everything from water pipes used in plumbing to beer and candy. Plenty of consumer items such as pots and kettles are made from copper, as well as equipment used to brew beer and manufacture candy. Higher prices for that equipment could mean you'll pay more for your vices this year.

Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at and follow her on Twitter at @mmhandley.

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