Consumer experts have released their best and worst deals for shoppers in February. But rather than accepting their tips at face value, let's take them to task. 

TipHero has cameras on the list of best bargains in February. Retailers start to clear out last year's models as new models released at the Consumer Electronics Show last month will start hitting stores in March and April.  Dealnews said that the Feb. bargains are hit and miss and may not be as good as the ones in November and December.


It sounds as if the quality of the deal depends on the camera. National Camera Exchange is currently selling the Nikon Coolpix S3100 for $79, which is as low as anything online. Its Black Friday price was $100, said Mike Pazandak, manager at the Golden Valley National Camera Exchange. he said that NCE's February deals are good ones, and they don't get better in March or April when the new models arrive. "Vendors want to have the old models cleared out before the new ones arrive," he said. "Otherwise new models would be competing with lower-priced older models." Pazandak sees savings of $30, $50 or $80 or various models. Bottom line: Shop around. Not every camera will be at a great price, but many will be.

Winter coats: There's no straddling the fence on this one. February is a great time to buy a winter coat. And this year is even better than most year's, because Minnesota's winter has been so mild. That means stores are overstocked and ready to deal. Sure you can buy a coat in January, but now it's time to make way for spring jackets and that means

retailers have to bite the bullet. Bottom line: Go for it.


Chocolate: Wait until the 15th and you can buy enough to supply Willy Wonka,  You can choose brand name candy at discounters such as Target and Wal-Mart or drug stores such as CVS or Walgreens. Most will discount it 50 percent on the 15th. Target usually increases the discount to 75 percent a few days after that sometimes clears it out at 90 percent off a week later. Anything with a valentine package gets the discount. If you want higher-end cocoa, try Chocolat Celeste in St. Paul, which occasionally discounts some of its chocolate on the 15th. Bottom line: Hoard away.

Tablets: If the rumors about the release of iPad 3 at the end of February are true, said Dealnews, expect nice discounts  on the iPad2 from resellers as well as refurbished iPad 2s from Apple. Bottom line: Wait until the release of iPad 3 for iPad2 deals.

Snowblowers: The winter of 2011-12 has yet to dump a snowfall worthy of a blower. That alone could make snowblowers a bargain this year. But we're also coming off last year's near record snowfall. That would make a dry February an ideal condition for markdowns by the end of the month. Bottom line: Shop now for a model you like, and

then lie in wait for a bargain at the end of the month, assuming we don't have a major snowstorm soon. 


TipHero and Dealnews also mention prom dresses, boats, laptops and big screen TVs as potential bargains. Anything you wait to buy on sale or clearance  in February that wasn't mentioned?  





Digital cameras: