John J. Diak, CFP®
When to Make Big Purchases for the Best Discount
Building financial security and wealth requires making smart choices with your money. Most people will never be able to penny-pinch their way to riches, but a little smart spending can go a long way toward reaching your goals. You don’t have to cheat yourself out of the good life by being ultra-frugal, but you can enjoy more of the finer things in life by cutting costs where you can.
Whether your goal is to have more material luxuries, better quality goods, comfortably fund your children’s activities, or gain the precious peace of mind that comes from having a healthy nest egg, being smart about when you purchase can make a big difference, especially when it comes to big-ticket items.
You don’t have to sell yourself short to get what you want at a reasonable price. Here’s how to score deep discounts on big-ticket items without bargain-basement disappointments.
Map Out a Plan
Securing significant discounts on major purchases will require some strategic planning. Start by making a list of the purchases you want to make in the next twelve months. You’ll find the greatest savings by mapping out when and how you plan to buy. It’s not that you can never splurge spontaneously, but if you already know what you want and it isn’t an urgent need, patience can work in your favor.
The key to finding the best deals is knowing some months are better than others for getting the best price.
When is the best time to buy a house?
The best time to buy a house is when interest rates are low, inventory is high, and you have the upper hand over sellers. But you can’t always time your move according to overall market conditions. Historically, the best months for home buyers are March, August, and December.
March is a prime time because inventory is typically high because of all the new homes on the market. In many parts of the country, homes tend to show better in the spring, and most people want to list their homes before school is out for summer. In August, sellers tend to be more willing to negotiate, possibly even desperate to close the deal in time for the kids to return to school or start at a new school in the fall. When homes are placed on the market in December, this often indicates that the seller is highly-motivated, can’t wait till spring, and is eager to make a deal.
When is the best time to buy a car?
One of the best times to buy a car is when salespeople are especially eager to meet their monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales quotas. If you come in on the last day of the month, near the end of the quarter, or in December, for example, they’ll be more willing to do what it takes to hit their numbers. If you want more attention and low-pressure negotiations, consider visiting the dealership on a quiet Monday morning after a busy weekend.
An ideal time to get a good deal on a car is when dealerships are motivated to move inventory. In May, the major auto shows are over, and they’re looking to move out last year’s models as new models hit the sales floor. Similarly, the new models are released in October, so manufacturers and dealers need to liquidate older models.
Finally, you may be wondering if the holiday sales live up to their hype. Yes, it’s true that you may be able to get a good holiday discount, especially on Labor Day and Black Friday. And while you may have other plans for New Year’s Eve, it could be a great time for a hot deal as salespeople are looking to secure year-end bonuses.
When is the best time to buy electronics?
Personal electronics and gadgets are no longer nice to haves; they’re integral to our everyday lives. And not only do they regularly break and get lost or damaged, but we’re more or less forced to upgrade to the latest model fairly often just to maintain desired functionality. This means recurring purchases of laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, wearable devices, gaming systems, virtual assistant technology, and more can significantly impact your budget.
As you may suspect, your best bet for finding steep electronics discounts is waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Other good deals can be found during back-to-school and holiday sales, and if you’re in the market for a television, look out for pre-Super Bowl deals in January. Another tip you may not have considered is to see if your employer or any organization you’re a member of offers access to special pricing as a perk.
When is the best time to buy major appliances?
You can’t always time when you’ll be on the market for a new home appliance. When your refrigerator goes kaput or your dryer is no longer drying, you can’t wait until the next sale to buy a new one. But if you know your appliances are due for an upgrade, you would be smart to plan to buy during Labor Day sales, early-fall promotions from big-box retailers, and Black Friday blowouts. Keep in mind, new models come out at the end of each year, so look for outgoing models to score the best price.
When is the best time to buy furniture?
Unlike appliances that need to be replaced as soon as they break, furniture is one major purchase you can probably hold off on till it’s lower priced. As with many big ticket items, prices on furniture are usually the lowest right before the new styles hit the showroom floor. Since that is typically Spring and Fall for indoor furniture, the best times to buy are late winter and late summer. Outdoor furniture usually shows up in February, so you’ll want to shop for that new patio set in January—or wait until August/September when the end-of-season clearance sales start.
When is the best time to buy fine jewelry?
Whether you are looking to buy an engagement ring, special gift, or to treat yourself to something nice, jewelry can be costly. While some gems, precious metals, and jewelry can be strong investments and solid assets to hold, buying jewelry as a luxury item to wear and possibly pass down as an heirloom piece can break the bank if you’re not careful.
The finest jewelry rarely goes on sale, but working with an independent jeweler that you trust is a good option for negotiating prices. You can also find some great retail deals on quality jewelry during regular holiday sales throughout the year—especially around Valentine’s Day in February and Black Friday. Insider tip: Slow summer sales often lead to retailers slashing prices in August.
Mark Your Calendar
If you made a major purchase this year and feel like you missed out on a good deal, you have a lifetime ahead of you to become a savvier shopper. Timing your big-ticket purchases can make a major impact on your bottom line. While obsessing over being frugal can be stressful, paying attention and planning offers peace of mind.
Start making a note of the deals you see throughout the year, even if you’re not in the market for that item. Keep a running list of the purchases you plan to make, do some research, and prepare to save by marking your calendars.
John J. Diak, CFP® is the Principal & Client Wealth Manager at Oatley & Diak, LLC in Parker, Colorado. He assists clients through many difficult lifestyle changes such as business downturns, retirement planning, divorce, the death of a spouse, and family estate issues among others. Oatley & Diak, LLC is a family-run registered investment advisory (RIA) firm that provides clients with investment management and financial planning services in a hands-on, intimate environment. Learn more about them at oatleydiak.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This material was prepared by Crystal Marketing Solutions, LLC, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate and is intended merely for educational purposes, not as advice.