Tuesday, March 4, 2014

All About the Benjamins - Part 2 "When to Buy"

Don't break the piggy bank; know when the best time is to buy gas, groceries, and other necessary purchases. A couple of the things discussed last October during the "All About the Benjamins" event were how to reduce costs and when prices are best during the week for necessary purchases. (See Part 1 - "Wants vs Needs")

Fifth Third Bank gave some great information for what time of week to buy necessities and get discounts. I've also been a little extra observant about some things like gas prices, and I've found some good sources on the Web for lots of weekly tips. Here are a few:

  • The best day of the week to buy gas is Wednesday. With the ever bouncing and rising cost of gas, I can tell you that this is something I've noticed over the last few years as well. The best day around SCC seems to be Wednesday or Thursday, but if you wait until Thursday evening, you may be paying more already. If you find you're on empty on Friday afternoon, you've missed the savings altogether the majority of the time.
  • The best day of the week to buy groceries is also on Wednesday. Most grocery stores release their sale bills/circulars on Wednesday with the most discounts available mid week. Watch for double coupon days; those may be mid-week as well. Checking locally, the current Schnucks ad and Shop 'n Save ad ran from last Wednesday, February 26 through today, Tuesday, March 4. Dierbergs and Kroger both start today and run through next Monday, March 10. Aldi starts tomorrow, Wednesday, March 5.
  • The best day to buy clothing is Thursday. By Thursday evening, the sales and discounted merchandise in stores is ready for bargain shoppers.
  • The best day for online shopping is generally the weekend. There is higher online traffic on weekends, so retailers tend to lower their prices and entice shoppers to buy from their sites then.
  • If you are planning travel, the best day to buy airline tickets is Tuesday (sometimes Friday. Many airlines bid for flights on Mondays and then release deals starting on Tuesday. Again, online traffic is slower mid-week, so that is the best time to look for lower fares. Some weekend specials are offered on Fridays, so watch for those as well. And, remember to clear your cookies in your browser; airline Web sites track your searches and can see that you're looking for fares on multiple sites and are you will not see your best options. Timing with regard to how close your trip is, is also important. You'll generally see the best prices no more than five months out and no closer than 14 days from departure. Saturday night stays are also considerations to lower travel costs.
When you are car shopping, there are some things you might consider also. Ask questions about the add-on enhancements, and see if they fall into any of these categories:
  • Fabric Protection - Skip it! It could cost you up to $200 for this protection package, and you can do the same thing by spending $8-10 on 3M Scotchgard Auto Interior Fabric Protector
  • VIN Etching and Express Code Marking System - Skip it!
  • Appearance Package - Skit it! Many times this is nothing more than pin-striping on the vehicle that will cost up to $300 from the dealer. You can have it done by a professional for about a third of that cost if you want the added style. 
  • Paint Protection Plan and Window Tinting - Skip it! Ask questions. That Paint Protection Plan is sometimes just a glorified wax job (as described by one of the shops that does it). The window tinting can probably be done by a local professional for half of what the dealer will charge you.
  • Extended Warranties - Maybe, but ask these questions from Edmunds.com
    • To what extent is your vehicle already under warranty and how long to you plan to own it?
    • What the reliability record of the model you're purchasing?
    • Who is behind the warranty that you're considering?
    • What's the nature of its deductible?
    • Is the warranty transferable?
    • Can repairs be performed at any repair shop?
    • What exactly is covered?
    • Is a cash layout required (deductible) for repairs?

These are a few tips to consider in order to keep a little more money in your pocket.

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