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Best Bets For Bargains In '09

There could be bargains aplenty to be had next year, in many major areas, and our "Saturday Bargainista" could hardly wait to fill viewers in on them.

She got a big assist from Yahoo finance expert Linda Rowley.

Expect airfares to drop significantly

Not only will fares decline in 2009, new routes, runways and technologies will make travel easier and more reliable.

We'll see more competition and as a result, lower airfares. Travel companies will introduce more enticing promotions and opportunities to try to stimulate demand for travel.

Look for a seven percent dip in fares next year. Discounts in the first few months of the year, typically the slow period, will average as much as 20 percent for leisure fares to lure discretionary travelers out of their homes, say some experts.

International travel

International travel is going to have the best deals in the last three to four years, due to decreases in fuel surcharges. Consider going to places with a great exchange rate to save on hotel, food and daily expenses.

SUVs

In 2008, we saw decline in SUV purchases because of gas prices. People will consider purchasing SUVs in 2009 because of new incentives by automakers of up to $4,600 on large SUVs. We'll also see lower interest rates and extended payment periods for qualified buyers.

Non-SUVs

American companies will have the most incentives in the form of cash back and better loan rates. GM will offer $250 bonus cash upfront. Chrysler will offer $500 to $1,000 upfront, depending on the vehicle, to customers who use credit union financing. The discount will be applied at the time of sale by dealers who will have a list of eligible credit unions. Deal runs through June 2009. Credit union loan rates average 5.4 percent compared with 6.9 percent for average bank rates.
Source: Detroit News: 12/16/08: " Chrysler follows GM's lead, partners with credit unions to offer loans

Compact cars will be more popular than hybrid models

Look for compact and subcompact vehicles rather than hybrid cars. Why? Better ownership costs, consisting of depreciation, financing, taxes, fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance and repairs in addition to fuel economy and sticker price. Having a hybrid car doesn't necessarily mean you'll save money. Consumers should look at big picture.

Electronics: Splurge and go for big ticket items

The most compelling discounts are on big-ticket items, in particular high-definition TV and Blu-ray players.

The average price of an LCD TV, for example, was $874 in the third quarter of this year, down from $892 a year earlier, according to the NPD Group's retail tracking service. Prices of plasma TVs have fallen by more than $250 to an average $1,318, from $1,584.

Blu-Ray will grow in popularity and market share compared to DVD. Manufacturers are likely to aggressively cut prices on Blu-Ray hardware and discs. They have to: otherwise, Blu-Ray risks fading away altogether. That said, the overall market for packaged media will likely shrink in '09, with DVD taking the bulk of the hit.

Prices of HDTVs are going to continue to significantly drop in '09

We saw prices drop up to 40 percent over the holidays. Prices for HDTVs have come down significantly since last year and we expect the same to happen this year.

As HDTV's go, in-house brands from retailers are typically cheaper than the traditional brand names, but offer comparable quality and many of the same features. So, if consumers are looking for an HDTV but don't want to break the bank, Insignia is a great way to go.

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