Products that will cost more, and less, in 2012

Wine Rack
(Credit: iStockphoto)

What's going to be cheaper in the coming year and what should you snap up fast before the prices start to soar? Deal News, a site that aims to ferret out bargains in everything from electronics to travel, has come up with listings based on the deals they're seeing now.

Not surprisingly, they're calling for lower prices for iPad2s and Android tablets, as new models and competitors ramp up their offerings. But some of the picks are downright surprising. For instance, they're expecting lower prices for laptops but higher prices for desk tops. Higher prices for flights; lower prices for car rentals. Go figure.

What are some of the products they say will be cheaper in 2012? Here are five of my favorites. You can see Deal New's list of 12 items that will be cheaper in 2012 here.

Wine: Credit the fact that those $30 bottles of Bordeaux are getting dusty on store shelves for what Deal News predicts will be an era full of sales and "flash deals." There's also emerging competition from vinters around the globe, including increasingly respectable wineries in Australia, Argentina, South Africa and Chile.

Laptops: Remember when laptops cost 50% more than a desktop? Forget about it. Already some are selling for as little as $375. Refurbished MacBook Air models are also dropping in price, selling for as little as $700.

Standalone GPS units: Why? Because we've all got smart phones with built-in GPS. The only reason you might want to buy one separately is if you turned off the GPS on your phone to stop it from stalking you.

Car rentals: Sure gas prices are rising and so are airfares, but car rental companies have plenty of vehicles on their lots, so they're running specials and offering discounts.

eReaders: The iPad is still expensive, but everybody else is trying to match Amazon's $199 price on the Kindle Fire. That may be bad for manufacturers - there's widespread speculation that Amazon is losing money on every unit. But it's great for consumers. At these prices, it's easy to have an eReader in every home.

What's getting more costly? Again, here are five of my favorites, while the full listing is here.

Hard drives: Flooding in Thailand has created an international shortage of hard-drive storage. Supply is likely to pick up enough to handle demand later this year, but for now, prices are on the upswing.

City fees: Blame budget crises at government offices everywhere. As municipalities look for ways to close yawning deficits, they're hiking fees for everything from business licenses to parking.

Data plans: This is going to hurt. As more and more people buy smart phones that access the web from anywhere, phone companies are starting to "unbundle" their data plans to nick those who surf.

Shipping: Higher gas prices are causing everyone from the U.S. Post office to UPS to hike their shipping rates. Looks like the cost of sending care packages to your college kids will be about 5% more this year.

Water: It's not global warming, it's another way cities are hiking fees. Chicago water rates may jump 25% this year, according to Deal News, while the rates in Denver are slated to rise some 5%.

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