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Fluctuating prices are nothing new to consumers, but there are a few surprising trends making an appearance this year. If you're wondering how to get the most bang for your buck, check out these prices that are currently on the downturn, thanks in part to money-saving expert Andrea Woroch.
- Apple iPad 2 -- The release of the new iPad will bring down the price of this much-lusted-after tablet.
- Restaurant Meals -- Consumers have curbed their dining out habits in recent years. In response, restaurants like IHOP are looking to bring families back with both variety and value, as seen in their new 7 for $7 meal offerings.
- Corn, Wheat and Soybeans -- Food prices in general are expected to rise, but prices on these commodities have plunged of late, thanks to massive stockpiles.
- Car Rentals -- Agencies are experiencing an excess of stock and more competition, which means lower car-rental rates throughout the year. Road trip anyone?
- GPS Units -- Today's smart phones can do nearly everything these days except cook your breakfast. As a result, they're sending many competitors down the tubes, including stand-alone GPS units.
On the flip side, prices on the following items are on the increase, so paying close attention to sales or looking for alternatives would be a wise move.
- Peanut Butter -- Peanut butter prices have risen as much as 40% since the beginning of 2012 in response to one of the worst peanut harvests in decades.
- Orange Juice -- The FDA discovered "low levels" of a fungicide in the 2011 orange crop imported from Brazil, the world's largest producer of oranges.
- Gas -- Did you enjoy that recent small reprieve from high gas prices? Well don't get used to it; the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts regular gas will average $3.45 this year. Maybe we should hold off on that road trip after all...
- Mobile Data Plans -- Kiss that unlimited data plan goodbye. Carriers are building up LTE and 4G services, which means your rates will rise.
- Desktop Computers -- You want a touchscreen? Then you're going to have to pay a lot more for that luxury. The shortage of hard-drive materials, thanks to flooding in Thailand, is also a factor. Expect a boost of about 30 percent.
Have you been feeling the impact of of these pricing fluctuations lately? Are there any other trends that you would add to this list?
Disclosure: IHOP has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my opinions are entirely my own -- always have been, always will be.