If you’ve been living on the cheap, that could soon change as inflation becomes an increasingly real prospect. Life could get more expensive, but you can use these exchange traded funds (ETFs) to keep it from becoming unbearably so.

When we see inflation, it will hit across the board, but some areas will feel it more than others. According to Economic Policy Journal, those areas are:

1. The Grocery Store: The USDA forecasts a 2% to 3% hike in the cost of all foods in 2011…Expect a big spike in the dairy case and meat counter, where pork alone is forecast to rise between 3% and 4%. [Play Food Price Shock With 4 ETFs.] PowerShares DB Agriculture (NYSEArca: DBA)

2. Gas and Natural Gas: Gas prices are on the rise, and that’s both the kind you use to fuel your car and the kind you use to heat your home in frigid winters. This is one area that could get more expensive even in the absence of inflation. United States Gasoline (NYSEArca: UGA)

3. Health Insurance and Medical Costs: Blue Shield in California said it was going to raise premiums by almost 60% and they’re not the only ones hiking rates big-time. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Provider (NYSEArca: IHF)

4. Cotton Clothing: Cotton prices are on the upswing and you may already be feeling it. Cotton is now 80% more expensive than it was at the start of 2010 and many manufacturers are starting to pay it forward. iPath Dow Jones-AIG Cotton Total Return Sub-Index ETN (NYSEArca: BAL)

5. Banking: Checking fees, ATM fees, safety deposit box fees, talking to a teller fees. Some charge you even just to look at checks. Bank stocks, however, don’t look like they’re getting cheaper. SPDR KBW Bank (NYSEArca: KBE)

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.