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4 Best Things to Buy in 2023 (Plus 4 of the Worst)

What to purchase and what to avoid as inflation falls from its 2022 peak

high angle view of a well-stocked new car lot
iStock / Getty Images

After peaking at 9.1 percent in June, inflation is finally starting to ease somewhat, but that doesn’t mean everything will be a whole lot cheaper in 2023. The consumer price index, the government's main measure of inflation, rose 6.5 percent the 12 months ended December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s shaping up to be a mixed bag, with prices for some consumer products still rising while others begin to come down.

Much of it has to do with actions out of the control of consumers. Supply chain issues, severe weather and COVID-19 outbreaks in China are still impacting production. The Federal Reserve is trying to tame inflation by raising interest rates, but these efforts are also driving up the cost of borrowing, whether done to purchase a home, a car or a pricey item on credit. 

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With that in mind, here’s a look at four products to consider buying in 2023 when prices are expected to come down, and four products to think twice about buying because costs are high and forecast to go even higher. ​


1. Vehicles

Record demand spurred on by the pandemic and supply chain delays that hurt production sent prices soaring in 2022. That situation is improving, which will drive prices back down. How much? According to a J.P. Morgan forecast, new car prices are expected to decline between 2.5 and 5 percent, while used car prices are predicted to fall 10 percent to 20 percent this year. There’s a catch, however: While new car prices are beginning to fall, interest rates are rising. If you’re financing, expect to pay a higher rate on your loan. Pay cash, if you can, or at least shoot for a bigger downpayment so you're financing a lower amount. ​

2. Seasonal goods

Savvy shoppers know they get the best deals on holiday decor if they wait until the festivities are over, and that remains true in 2023. Consumers looking for an artificial Christmas tree or an inflatable snowman for the front lawn will find steep discounts. But the deals go beyond holiday-themed products. You can save a bundle on fall clothing, winter apparel and other seasonal items as well. Shipments of products retailers expected to sell in November are only coming in now, just as retailers are beginning to transition to spring merchandise. That means bargains abound on the late-arriving fall/winter merchandise. “It’s a good time for quick-eyed bargain hunters,” says Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, a market analytics firm. 

3. TVs and electronics

TV prices fell 14.4 percent year over year in December, according to the Consumer Price Index. More declines are expected in 2023 as demand slows and technology advances. As for electronics, while retailers can store late shipments in warehouses, they are likely to discount 2022 models to make room for 2023 ones. That provides an opportunity for consumers to get last year’s computer models and other gadgets cheaper. “Retailers are a little more reticent to hang on to things like gaming systems and computers that get dated,” says Kuehl. ​

4. Fruits and veggies

All the rain and snow pounding the West Coast is doing wonders for the drought and for farmers’ crops. As a result, Kuehl says many farmers are planting aggressively, which will greatly improve production coming out of California. “This rain is perfectly timed. Farmers haven’t had this soil moisture in the last few years,” says Kuehl. “It will drive prices down for things like fruits and veggies.” That will be welcome news since fruit and vegetable prices were up 8.4 percent year over year in December. ​



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Avoid buying

1. Meat and poultry

Prices for meat and poultry were elevated throughout 2022, and more of the same is expected in the coming months. “A lot of ranchers reduced the size of the herds because they were having trouble getting feed,” says Kuehl. “They are coming into the spring with a smaller herd than usual. A couple of outbreaks of  avian flu are causing the destruction of some poultry stocks, which will have an effect on prices.” ​

2. Anything you have to finance

Since the start of 2022, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times. That has a direct impact on the cost to finance, whether you’re buying a big-ticket item, new car or home. If you are in the market for any of the above and can't pay cash, expect to pay a lot more to finance the purchase in 2023. “You may want to think about avoiding purchasing things like a home or automobile,” says Emily Irwin, senior director of advice and planning for Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management. “Many individuals will finance those purchases, and rates will be higher.” ​

3. Airline tickets

With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Americans are traveling again, which is leading to packed flights and long lines at airports across the country. It’s also driving the price of airfare higher, even though jet fuel costs have come down. If you plan to travel in the U.S., expect to pay 2.9 percent more for economy airfare. Thinking about traveling to the Caribbean or Asia? Expect to pay 5.8 percent and 9.5 percent more, respectively, according to American Express Global Business Travel forecast. If you can't avoid flying in 2023, try these tricks to save on airfare.​

4. Restaurant meals

The price of dining out likely went up between 7 and 8 percent last year, according to USDA projections, which anticipate that trend to slow in 2023. But eating out will still cost you between 4 and 5 percent more. “Inflation is going to continue until gas prices and oil prices are back down to historical levels,” says Howard Dvorkin, chairman of “Food is grown, there’s tractors involved or some kind of manufacturing that takes energy, and that’s the problem. Food both at the grocery store and restaurant is outrageous.”

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