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Time your spending and save big

Written by ecannon - 5 Comments

This post, written by Lisa Schlosberg, comes from our partners at QuickenLoans.com.

Controlling your financial situation requires paying attention to where you spend and what you’re buying. But to be really successful, you should start to consider when you shop as well. Implementing small changes like buying according to the best time of day, week or year, will make you more aware of overall financial habits and help you monitor spending. Prices fall in your favor when new models and updated software are introduced or discounts are launched. In order to get your goods at their best price, it may only require some strategic timing.

Food

Generally, weekly sales at the grocery store begin on Wednesdays.

Meat

The best time to buy meat is on a weekday morning; specials are out because grocery stores are hoping to sell out by noon that day. When you find the meat marked down, buy in bulk. Save what won’t be used right away and store it in the freezer – this will make it last longer, save you future trips to the market and ultimately add up to save you money.

Prepared and baked products

If you’re shopping for prepared foods, head to the store toward the end of the day. Items such as sushi and rotisserie chicken are discounted about an hour before closing. Bread and baked products are cheaper in the late afternoon or evening; prices are cut so consumers will buy it before it gets thrown out.

It’s also always a good idea to buy seasonally and use canning or other preservation methods to keep foods fresh out of season.

Electronics

The key for strategically buying electronic goods is keeping an eye on product cycles and pricing trends. When new items are put on sale, the older ones are discounted. This price adjustment typically occurs in January and February, so products like digital cameras, TVs and air conditioners should be bought toward the beginning of the calendar year. Computers, however, will be at their back-to-school sale prices during the end of the summer, so save up before July-September rolls around. Phone companies are on their own cycle, but it’s safe to say that any new cell phone will be cheaper after just a few weeks on the market. One helpful hint regarding electronics: despite popular belief that Black Friday brings the best values, these items are actually sometimes more expensive and are better priced closer to Christmas.

Houses

The best time for house hunting and buying fluctuate with the weather. The warm spring months are peak times for those interested in looking at potential homes, so if you’re interested in investigating the housing market you should plan to bundle up and explore during the winter in order to avoid the rush. Because most people have plans for Christmas and Easter Sunday, these two days, respectively, are the prime times for scouting homes.

Cars and gas

The latest cars are usually introduced in September, so deals on previous years’ models are around throughout the fall. The biggest discounts show up during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, especially for the older and slow-selling ones. For gas, prices are best on Wednesday and worst on Thursday, when they’re increased to take advantage of road trippers and travelers making drives over the weekend. Competition between gas stations occurs between 8 and 10 a.m. daily, so if you need to fill up the tank, it’s better to do it on the way out in the morning to get the best value.

Buying in sync with the clock will bring you the best overall value for your purchases. It’ll not only help you take advantage of the best deals and discounts, but will also cause you to think longer about each purchase and reduce impulse spending. Instead of just heading to the store for some occasional retail therapy, start marking your calendar for scheduled shopping trips so you know you’re buying strategically!

Related stories from QuickenLoans.com:

Financial tips from five year olds

Application motivation: Save at the grocery store

What kind of credit score do I need to buy a car?

Published on July 19th, 2013
Modified on July 10th, 2013 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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5 Responses to “Time your spending and save big”

  1. 1
    Simon @ModestMoney Says:

    Now this is rather interesting. Its amazing the kind of info you can unearth when you are observant and do a bit of research and it comes with a lot of savings attached! I will definitely try the one for food since that its a weekly thing, see how many bucks I can save. Thanks for sharing

  2. 2
    Bear Says:

    I wish sources were cited here. I have a couple of friends who managed grocery stores (one still does), and they have talked about meat going on sale when they have too much of it. Period. If they expect demand to be low, they keep less. If demand is high, they stock up. If demand is lower than expected, then expect to see the manager’s specials.

    Shopping for houses in winter is very ineffective as there are very few houses on the market. Lower demand with lower supply means prices of homes may or may not mean lower prices. But your choices will be limited because there are fewer homes to choose from.

    As for gas, I have heard people swear that Monday is the best day to buy gas. I read another study that said Tuesday was the best day to buy (then again that study was very poor as it only studied trends in one city over an 8 week period). Personally, I have found the day of the week has very little to do with gas prices (with some exceptions). I have found when gas prices go up on Thursday or Friday (or Saturday or Sunday), then people are up in arms about it, thus making that event stick out in their mind. Personally, I keep Gas Buddy on my smart phone. When gas prices go up, I know that there are some gas stations that will change their prices after everybody else, I will buy gas form there. Then again, a 10 cent increase in gas prices will cost the owner of a car with a 20 gallon tank, $2.00. If that tank is 3/4 full when gas rices go up, then you save $0.50. I think shopping around for the best gas prices, or trying to predict future gas prices to have a minimal impact on your budget.

  3. 3
    zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com Says:

    I never seem to have a problem finding discounted meat at the Wal-Mart that I usually shop at. I have found it on all days of the week and at all time. I have often wondered at what point meat gets the discount though. Is it when it is a couple of days old? Is it when they get in more meat and have to move the old stuff? I don’t really care that much. I just like to buy my meat at a discount.

  4. 4
    David S. @PBC Says:

    Timing is certainly important. If we want great deals, it is advisable to opt for frequent sale and discount promos. Just check out the product you are buying to make sure you get quality products. Shopping for a house is a different case. It entails more research and the assistance of real estate agents whom you can really trust.

  5. 5
    Loan Modification Help Center Says:

    Great tips to save money! Insightful!

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