5 Things You’re Paying More for (and Price-Friendly Alternatives)

Two men watching sports on a big-screen TV

Combat sticker shock with these savvy shopping tips.

If you consider yourself a frugal consumer who is always on the lookout for a good sale or discount opportunity, you should also pay attention to prices that are on the rise. Take a look around and you’ll notice price increases aren’t difficult to spot. Here are some items that are costing consumers more now than they have in the past, as well as price-friendly alternatives.

Meat
Steak, hamburger and bacon are projected to increase in price by 3 to 4 percent. These summer favorites cost more this year, so try these tips to lighten the grocery bill.

  • Trim meat yourself. Meat that is pre-sliced into tenderloins or shaped into patties costs more.
  • Buy meat in bulk and store it in the freezer for later in the month.
  • Try going vegetarian once or twice a week. Cook spinach lasagna, veggie pizzas or black-bean chili.

Dairy
The refrigerator staples of milk, cheese and eggs are going to ring up a higher grocery bill this year—as much as 4.5 percent higher. But you can still enjoy dairy—and some unexpected alternatives—‘til the cows come home.

  • Sign up for dairy delivery from a regional farm. Many services will offer a discount if you create a weekly order.
  • Find creative ways to replace dairy. Put avocado on sandwiches rather than cheese, and scramble tofu instead of eggs.
  • Soy protein is the most cost-effective alternative to dairy proteins. Try soy milk and even soy cheese.

Satellite TV
Digital satellite television boasts high-quality images and high-priced bills. If you can’t possibly imagine parting ways with your remote control, give these alternatives a try.

  • Stream! Netflix®, iTunes® and Hulu® all offer entertaining substitutes for pricey cable services.
  • Ditch premium channels in favor of DVDs. Visit your library stacks for DVDs—absolutely free!
  • …and while you’re there, pick up some books. Americans watch 34 hours of TV weekly. Cancel satellite for the summer, and hit the books instead.

Baseball Tickets
Certain teams have hiked up their prices, making America’s favorite pastime harder to enjoy. But you can still sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and save some money for a hot dog.

  • Check reputable websites like CrowdSeats.com for discounted seats.
  • Sign up for Groupon®; it recently partnered with the major leagues to offer exclusive ticket deals.
  • Bring the family to a minor league game instead. Enjoy the thrill of a ballgame with shorter lines and cheaper peanuts.

Mail
Record losses for the U.S. Postal Service means sending a letter will cost more than ever. Shipping costs will rise by an average of 4 percent, and priority mail flat-rate boxes and envelopes will go up by as much as 9 percent.

  • Stock up on Forever stamps before the next price hike.
  • Go to usps.com to print your own shipping label, and you could save up to 16 percent off the post office price.
  • Think ahead. Mail packages with timeliness in mind. Overnight and rushed shipping are significantly more expensive than standard processing.
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