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Christian Living

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The Best Time to Buy Practically Everything

Shopping

Joshua and Jonathan had just finished earning a ribbon for marksmanship in their Young Marines group. They spent dozens of hours over a period of four months studying weapon safety and history and having their knowledge tested with written and oral tests. They also went to the range multiple times, shooting at targets to improve their skill. Jonathan graduated with a distinction of sharpshooter, and Joshua qualified to receive marksman.

I knew Joshua had been spending a little bit too much time in this area of interest, but I had no idea how focused he’d become until I happened upon his creative writing project called “Leprechaun Stories,” an assignment from Mrs. Drumheiser, his patient (and saintly) fifth-grade teacher.

Truth be told, I would have never found the story if I hadn’t accidentally faxed a copy of it to my agent. Unbeknownst to me, Joshua made a copy of the story and left it in the fax machine. When I faxed my agent another document, “Leprechaun Stories” was still in the machine. My agent suggested I get eleven-year-old Joshua some professional help.

Picture a take-home paper with “Leprechaun Stories” preprinted on the top of the page and a cutesy little green guy with a pot of gold in the corner. Here’s Joshua’s work (spelling included):

Once upon a time . . . on a Wednesday . . . there was a Leprechaun who stole a pot of gold from the King. “King Evil of the dark ages.”

A long name, you say. Yes you are right. But I made that up.

So he sent the secret police out, but they were actually terrorists. So they had a twelve-gauge, a G36, an assault rifle, and one guy had two P99s.

So they found him and started shooting at him. So the Leprechaun pulled out two oozies and a long battle begun (about four hours long.)

Then, when they were out of ammo, they stood up and became a team. It’s a long story how. But they became a team.

So with two oozies, an AK-47, a 12 gauge, an M-16 (with grenade attachments) and a G-36, they invaded the palace and killed the king.

And there was piece in the land.

The End . . . by Joshua Kay

I never figured out why this tragedy happened on a Wednesday, when St. Patrick’s Day was on Friday – but somehow it made sense to Joshua. Maybe it’s because he always has extra math homework on Wednesdays, and it makes him a little crazy. But there was a Wednesday factor in there somewhere.

There’s another Wednesday factor that can help one-income families – it can be the best day of the week to get the lowest price on everything from travel to TVs to a new Toyota. In fact, there’s a best time to buy just about everything if you just know when to spend.

Air Tickets

Wednesdays! Peter Greenberg of www.fodor.com says this is the best day to buy airline tickets, thanks to the small, upstart airlines. In the airline business, fare wars usually are begun by the weakest competitors while the bigger airlines tend to raise fares. Fridays mark the beginning of new fare wars.

When Airline A decides to raise fares, it happens late in the day on Friday. By Saturday Airline A’s major competitors will probably match that increase (that’s why you should never book your tickets over a weekend). But what if the major competitors don’t match the higher fares? Then Airline A drops fares again by late Sunday or Monday.

On the other hand, let’s say the fare war is going in the down direction. Airline B decides to lower fares late on Friday. By Saturday and Sunday the other major airlines may lower their fares to compete. On Monday they are seeing how the new ares do in the marketplace. By Tuesday if the fares are doing well (meaning lots of sales), then Airline C might jump into the fray with an even lower fare. Prices may go even lower by Wednesday – and that’s the day to buy.

By Thursday the fare wars and sales are usually over, and it begins all over again on Friday. The best time of the day on Wednesday is 1 a.m. (set the alarm), an hour past Tuesday and an hour past midnight, when most airlines usually reload their computers with the newest fares.

Cars

Most people know late summer and early fall is the time when carmakers release new models and dealers want to get rid of last year’s leftovers. But most people don’t know a good time to buy is at the end of the month and often in the middle of the week – Wednesday. If you can buy on the last Wednesday of the month, you’ll do even better.

At the end of the month a dealership is anxious to meet quotas set by the manufacturer. If they meet their quotas, everyone’s happy; but if they exceed their quota the dealership might be even happier because they’ve positioned themselves to get rewarded by the manufacturer and receive more of the hotter, better-selling vehicles next month.

End-of-month sales also can be consumer friendly because there may be competition within the dealership for a prize or cash incentive among sales personnel. The salesperson may be willing to cut commissions to win the bonus.

Another Wednesday factor is that dealerships aren’t crowded in the middle of the week, and customers can get more attention from the sales staff. Early mornings and midweek are the least crowded times.

Entertainment

Wednesdays tend to be the lightest entertainment day. Many theaters, recreation parks, theme parks, restaurants, and museums have specials on Wednesdays to bring people out on “hump day.” Look in the local newspaper or check the theater’s online site to see what values are being offered. There are often “buy one/get one free” dinner entrees or “kids eat free” nights on – you guessed it – Wednesdays.

Houses

While Wednesday is a good day to look at a house because real estate agents tend to show fewer homes midweek, the best season to buy a house is in the winter. Steve Hargreaves, of CNN Money says, “It’s best to bundle up when looking for the best deal on a house, as reduced demand and lackluster appearance can lead to a better deal in the winter.” 2 There is a reduced demand at this time of year as no one wants to pull the kids out of school and move into a home when there’s twelve inches of snow on the ground.

Houses tend to have a lackluster appearance in the winter and don’t show as well. They lose curb appeal in their dormant state. Higher home prices come in the spring, when most houses go on the market. So buy in the winter and sell in the spring.

Toys

While it’s hard to bear the post-Thanksgiving and Christmas toy sales, there is another good time of the year to buy – August. Not only can great deals be garnered on summer toys like playground equipment and swimming pools, but other high-space items are cleared out n preparation for the upcoming seasonal toy stock. This can save you as much as 65 percent.

Video Games

The season’s new games are usually released during the holiday season, and that’s the time to find the best selection. But if price is a consideration, wait until January or February, after the hysteria has died down and the savings can be more significant.

Televisions and Electronics

This last category may amaze you. Yes, blowout sales on electronics typically happen around the holidays, but April is an even better time to find deals in this category. Most Japanese companies end their fiscal year in March. This means new models are coming out and it’s time to get rid of last year’s models. Discounts for 20 to 25 percent can be had during this time of year.

Twelve Steps to Savings:

On Nikki Willhite’s www.allthingsfrugal.com, I found a guide to special sales, sorted by month. I’ve added some of my own material, and here’s a list that combines Nikki’s suggestions with mine.

January
Bedding
Blankets
Calendars for the current year (half-price)
Computers
Holiday clearance (wedding gifts or gifts for children)
Quilts
Small appliances
Towels
Winter clothes
  February
Bedding
Chocolate
Coats
Dinnerware
Floor coverings
Furniture
Housewares
Valentine’s Day candy (after the fourteenth)
     
March
Air conditioners
China
Corned beef
Dryers
Frozen foods
Garden supplies
Glassware
Houses
Luggage
Spring clothing and shoe sales
Storm window clearances
Washers
Winter outdoor recreation equipment
  April
Easter clothes and accessories
Eggs
Electronics
Kitchen stove
Paint
Wallpaper
     
May
home maintenance
linens
radios
spring cleaning supplies
TVs
Towels
  June
Bedding
Floor coverings
Furniture
Refrigerators
     
July
Craft supplies
Dryers
Fabric
Ground beef
Hot dogs
Sodas
Summer clothing (clearance)
Used cars
Washers
  August
Bathing suits
Fresh vegetables
Kids’ clothing
New cars
Patio and lawn furniture
Pens, pencils, paper (back to school)
Rugs
Summer footwear
Towels and linens
Swing sets
Toys
     
September
Backpacks
Bicycles
China
Gardening supply clearances
Glassware
Housewares
Lunch boxes
Root vegetables
  October
Crystal
Fabrics
Fishing gear
Houses
Rugs
School clothing (clearance)
Silver
     
November
Autumn decorations
Blankets
Flour
Ham
Heating devices and appliances
Houses
Quilts
Sugar
Turkey
Winter outerwear (coats, hats/gloves, boots)
  December
After-Christmas markdowns (shop for birthday, teacher gifts, Valentine’s, wedding, etc.)
Flour
Houses
Party ware
Sugar
Seasonal decorations and tablecloths
     

 

Excerpted from ½ Price Living by Ellie Kay. Copyright © 2007 by Ellie Kay. Used by permission of Moody Publishers.

 

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