Saturday, August 06, 2005

Timing a purchase

Retail buying in America can be a very exciting experience.... if you take into account the following things:

1) Most retailers have discount sales every so often. If you stay in one place and visit a particular retailer often, you will see a pattern emerge. It doesnt necessarily have to be around holiday season. The goal is to hit this discount phase and buy stuff that you may not need currently, but you know for a fact that you will need it later.

2) Avoid high-cost impulse buys. For one thing, impulse buying is risky. You're going on advertisements by the retailer that things are cheap or you're thinking that this particular thing might not get so dirt cheap later so might as well get it. The two biggest questions to ask yourself before buying any large-cost item are:
a) Do we really need it? AND b) How have we been getting along without it so far?

3) Off-season buying is an incredible opportunity to save lots and lots of money. For example, September is a great time to look for patio furniture but a really bad time to start looking for sweaters. October and November are also great months to look for an outdoor grill or lawn and garder equipment. March is great to buy mittens ... you get the idea. Just make sure you buy at the turn of the season. For example, it is fruitless to look for beachwear in December. Look for it in September when retailers are re-stocking their shelves with merchandise that fits the changing season. Seasonal changes is when you hunt for such opportunities. The savings are tremendous.

4) Coupons - this is probably a very touchy subject but I personally hate those 50 cent and 1 dollar coupons. A lot of people swear by it but I think it's such a waste of time to clip them, inventory them and then actually REMEMBER to carry them with you for your purchases. Sometimes they are the reason for impulse buys as well. However, the coupons that I advocate are ones that are on large ticket items. $100 dollars off on any electronic purchase worth $500 - hang onto that one if you're planning to buy a new TV in the next six months. We recently used a 25% off coupon to very good effect when buying over $300 in patio figure the savings!

5) Bulk buying -- is a good idea when used smartly. Bulk buying is done for two reasons. Either you consume that much and therefore you buy in bulk or the thing is so darn cheap that you cannot predict the next time it's going to get that low in price. In the first case, if you're going to stuff as fast then definitely buy in bulk whatever you need. In the second case, be a little careful. Even if it's cheap you're buying it because you want to hold on to it. In other words, you're locking up money on it. So don't buy 50 bottles of Clorox bleach just because it's 75 cents and is usually 3 dollars. That's great savings but you just locked up $37.50 in a purchase that you are unlikely to go through in 2 years. Instead BE the retailer. A retailer bulk buys inventory from sellers in a smart fashion. They look at what is going to get consumed the fastest and they invest more in it. So should you. Buy a lot of what you will consume the fastest - thereby not locking your money in purchases that will sit at your home and get used up very very slowly.

....Enjoy shopping! I think it's a great thing particularly in this country where retailers compete for your business and discounts are aplenty.


Blogger Denise said...

I know ALL about those coupon impulse buys. I used to use them a LOT (a big envelope full every shopping day) until I realized I was actually spending more money on things I wouldn't normally have bought if it weren't for the coupons. Now I only use coupons on items/brands I already use and throw the rest away. (This means, I do not carry coupons at all).

1:13 AM  

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