5 Major Expenses That Are Surprisingly Cheaper Than Ever Before

By Dan Rafter on 7 October 2015 0 comments

A dozen eggs cost nearly $3 at your local grocery store. It costs more than $25 to fill up your car's gas tank. And buying a new car? Kelley Blue Book reports that as of July, the average consumer spent more than $30,000 to buy a new set of wheels.

But not everything is getting more expensive. Here are five key expenses that you'll probably pay less for in 2015.

1. Housing

The National Association of Realtors says that the median sales price of existing homes stood at $232,000 in August. That's expensive, and it's up 7% from August of 2014. But it's actually lower than in June of this year. That month, the median price of an existing home hit $236,400, the highest this figure has ever been. The hope for buyers is that home prices will continue to trend down — the August median price is actually 0.9% lower than in July — over time. (Sellers, of course, hope for the opposite.)

Even more important for people buying homes is the direction that mortgage interest rates are taking. These remain at historically low levels, with the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey showing that the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan stood at 3.91% as of September 17. The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan was even lower, 3.11% as of the same date.

Compare this to where these rates stood on December 30 of 2010: 4.86% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and 4.20% for a 15-year fixed-rate loan.

Interest rates matter. The lower they are, the lower homebuyers' monthly payments will be, too. Thanks to these lower interest rates it costs far less today to borrow money to buy a home than it did less than five years ago.

2. Computers

Computers are an essential part of most of our lives. Good thing that their price tags continue to drop.

Statistics portal Statista reports that the average selling price of notebook computers was $1,292 in 2005. In 2015, this number had fallen all the way to $451. Meanwhile, NPD Group reported that from October 5 to 25 of last year, the average selling price of Windows-fueled personal computers was $430. That was down 10% just from one year earlier. And IBISWorld says that the average price of a desktop computer in its surveys was $390.49 in 2015.

Now, you won't be getting a top-of-the-line computer for these lower prices. But you can still get a pretty powerful machine that will serve the needs of most users.

3. Smartphones

You could make the argument that smartphones are even more important to us than computers. We use them to communicate with our friends, find the address of that new Thai restaurant, surf the Web, pay our bills, and watch TV while we're stuck on the train.

It's good news, then, that the cost of these devices has been steadily falling, too. Market research firm IDC reports that the average price of an unlocked iPhone in 2014 was $657. But this price is on the way down. IDC predicts that the average price of an unlocked iPhone will soon fall to $604.

Android phones are even less expensive today. IDC says that the average price of an unlocked Android phone was $254 in 2014, and will fall to $215 by 2018. And the news is even better for fans of Windows-based smartphones. According to IDC, the price of these phones will fall to $214 in 2018.

4. TVs

As anyone who's entered an electronics store can tell you, the cost of TVs has fallen, too. This holds true for even the most premium models.

Statista reports that in 2011, the average sale price of a smart TV stood at $2,100. In 2015, that price has fallen to $1,510. Consumers can expect TV prices to continue to fall. Statista predicts that the average cost of a smart TV will fall to $1,200 in 2017.

5. Federal Income Taxes

Yes, you hate paying your income taxes each April, and you love to complain about them. But federal income taxes today are actually sucking up a far smaller percentage of consumers' incomes.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in 1998 through 2000, a household making the median income for a family of four in the United States paid roughly 8% of its income in individual income taxes. But when those same households filed their income taxes in 2014? That median-income family of four paid just 5.3% of its income in federal income taxes.

Have you noticed prices falling on big expenses?

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