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Some prices actually are dropping

What would you like first, the good news or the bad news?

The bad news is that prices are predicted to rise on several items in 2012.

The U.S. Postal Service already has raised its first-class shipping rates -- by a penny for regular mail and 3 cents on a post card.

Your cartons of orange juice will be more pricey this year, thanks to a fungicide contamination found in Brazil's orange crop.

You'll pay more elsewhere in the grocery store, too. Lousy weather and a devalued American dollar are expected to nudge food prices up by as much as 3.5 percent.

Increased demand from travelers and fewer flights offered by airlines will likely send airfare costs up by as much as 10 percent.

And mobile data plans are expected to spike as carriers build up their LTE and 4G networks.

But we always just kind of expect prices to rise, don't we?

So how about some good news? Prices on several other items are actually expected to come down. Here are some things you will probably spend less on this year than last, according to Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert for Kinoli Inc.:

*GPS Devices. Most smartphones can do what a GPS does, plus much more. So plenty of consumers are realizing they can do without a stand-alone device and its hefty price tag. Prices are coming down accordingly.

*E-book readers and 3-D HDTVs. New models and new competitors are coming out all the time in the e-book arena, so the prices just keep dropping. Some makers, having found it difficult to compete with Amazon's powerhouse Kindle, have dropped their prices by 60 percent. For the same reasons, you can expect to see lower prices on 3-D HDTVs, too.

*Your heating bill. Natural gas prices are the lowest they have been in years and keep falling, thanks to increased production and lower demand.

*Corn, wheat and soybeans. Unlike most foods, which are expected to rise in price, there are significant stockpiles of these three commodities, which will keep their prices lower.

*Apple's iPad 2. As is often the case with electronics, the price will drop once the newest model comes out. Apple is set to unveil its iPad 3 tablet, possibly as early as next month, which will bring the price down on the iPad 2.

*Car rentals. Car rental companies have reported an overstock of inventory and more competition -- the perfect conditions for lower prices.

*Wine. According to Robert Parker, publisher of Wine Advocate magazine, you can expect wine prices to come down in 2012, or at least not get any higher.

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