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Updated: 8:09 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 | Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014

Early word on the best buys of 2014

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


The new year is going to be a year of deals on certain items. According to CNBC, there are 5 categories of consumer purchases that will represent the best deals in 2014:

Car sales had a tremendous year in 2013. But as we reached the fourth quarter, they started to run out of gas. Automakers had to lower lending standards to get people in cars. And although 2014 is likely to be another good year for the car market, the best guess is it's not going to be as good as 2013. So you'll see better deals on cars, particularly used cars. See my used-car buying tips.

TVs are cheaper right now than they were during the Black Friday weekend. That's very unusual, but it's a direct reflection of the fact that manufacturers and retailers are overstocked. It's gotten to the point that 37 inch and smaller screens are at impulse purchase kinds of prices.

Don't worry about the brand on the TV. We're in a transitional phase where current technology will soon be obsolete. The next big thing is "Ultra High Def" or "4K" or whatever the marketplace decides the emerging technology will be called. (Learn more about 4K.) And remember, the failure rate across traditional HDTV brands is very low, no matter the brand. So don't buy the extended warranty either!

Travel is another area where deals are expected. The cruise market has recovered some from the Carnival debacles, but there are still good deals available. And this year, the move by Frontier Airlines to become a deep discounter (along with Allegiant and Spirit) means you will have choices if you want to jump through the hoops to get a low fare.

Textbooks, strangely enough, are going to be a deal too. Why? Because of an obscure Supreme Court decision that means you can buy international versions at much lower prices.

And finally, in the midst of the deep freeze, now is the week of real deals on winter clothing. Coats, gloves, hats…this is the time to snatch up what you need!

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