As most people probably know, once May and June hit, we're in the thick of graduation season. That usually means many of us will be signing graduation cards, heading to ceremonies and searching for the right gift for the graduate we know.
Some folks will just buy balloons for the graduate or stuff some cash inside a card. Others will try to buy something the graduates will need in their next phase of life.
Whether a person is graduating from middle school, high school or college, he or she will probably be looking for some sort of electronic gadget as a gift, as smartphones, tablets and other electronics are what many folks want these days.
But will buying one of these items for a graduate break the bank for you or even put a dent in it?
According to the folks at Ben's Bargain, a website that features daily deals each week, buying a popular electronic device is cheaper now than it was in the 1980s.
For example, the Motorola DynaTAC 800x mobile phone, released in 1983, costs $3,995 at the time. In 2013 that equates to $9,312.
Ten years later the Bellsouth/IBM Simon Personal Communicator was released. The clunky 18 ounce mobile phone cost $900 at the time, which is $2,098 in today's dollars.
How times have changed
Now let's look at how much some of today's smartphones cost.
On the lower-end, there's the HTC One Android Quad-Core Smartphone that can be purchased on HSN's website for about $200.
On the higher-end, there's the Samsung Galaxy S III I9300 Smartphone that costs $629.99 on Walmart's site.
Both of these phones are far less expensive than the phones from back in the day and they obviously do way more.
The 1983 Motorola Dyna weighed 28 ounces and only offered 30 minutes of talk time before it had to be recharged. The 1993 Bellsouth phone weighed 18 ounces and offered just an hour of talk time before it needed to be charged again.
Simply put, buying a smartphone for a graduate these days doesn't have to break the bank and may not require a lot of saving, which is probably a big relief for most parents.
But in the 80s and 90s a personal loan might have been needed to buy a mobile phone and that phone only allowed you to talk for a very short time.
The world of computers
And it's the same for computers.
In 1983 the IBM PC/XT 5160, which was a desktop that had only 128 kilobytes of RAM, was released. The cost in 1983 was $8,000 which equates to $18,648 today.
Flash to 2013 where you can purchase the Lenovo IdeaPad Yogo. It's a laptop and tablet in one and has 8 gigabytes of RAM, which pretty much allows you to do anything you want on it.
The Lenovo costs $1,099, a far cry from the IBM PC which was a whopping $6,091 more.
And if you like Lenovo tablets you can get one even cheaper.
On Best Buy's site, you can get the Lenovo Idea Tablet, with 8 gigabytes of memory for about $130, which might be another cool gift for a person graduating this year.
Televisions have come a long way too.
In 1993, there was the RCA 31-inch, which was one of the first TVs that came with an on-screen menu. Back then you could purchase one for $1,200.
Today you can buy an LG 39-inch LED TV for just $430. It gives you a better picture, better sound and has a much sleeker appearance.
TVs have really come down in price from a decade ago.
The Toshiba HDTV 34-inch went for $2,699 in 2003 and didn't provide half of the good picture and sound that some of today's flat screens do.
Timing the market
One thing that's tricky about purchasing a new electronic device is knowing exactly when the price will drop. For example, some may wonder if they should buy that new laptop when it first hits the shelf or if they should wait for the cost to go down.
Rojeh Avanesian, the vice president of marketing at PriceGrabber said as long as consumers keep buying a particular gadget, the price of it won't come down.
He says this happened recently with some of today's high-end digital cameras.
"We are seeing a lot of people trading up their camera gear to something better. They are looking for advanced features and more megapixels and are willing to pay more," said Avanesian in an interview with TechHive.
And that means prices won't budge anytime soon. So you may want to wait until the mad rush for a product ends, if you want to pay less.
The gadget that has remained close in price over the years is video game consoles.
In 1983 the Atari 2600 went for $125 and in 2013 the Sony PlayStation 3 Super Slim game console goes for $250. That's only a $125 difference over the last 30 years.
Of course the differences between the Atari 2600 and the Sony Play Station are night and day in terms of functionality. Perhaps some may be surprised that the price difference is so low.
When it comes to buying one of today's game consoles for a low price, you might have to wait until the holiday season, says gaming expert Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.
"All of the price cuts for game consoles are for holiday only," he said.
So if you're looking to purchase a gadget for a graduation gift this year, it'll be far less expensive than buying a gadget that was made in 1983, which may not be that surprising, but it might be good to know.
As most people probably know, once May and June hits we're in the thick of graduation season. That usually means many of us will be signing graduati...