Personal Finance Challenge #3: Plan Your Purchases

The Personal Finance Challenge won’t be all about not spending money. A lot of the challenges will be about spending your money wisely. And many of the challenges will actually not be about spending money at all.

Today’s challenge is to start building the fortitude and will power to purchase certain items within a well defined game plan. It can be highly advantageous for you to have patience and purchase certain things at certain times of the year, and in certain places.

Guess when the best time to buy a house is?

Do you think it would be in your best interest to buy a house during spring when a lot of people are just waiting till school is out to put their house up for sell? Actually it is commonly regarded as the worst time to buy a house because nearly everyone selling at that time of year is expecting a premium. Most likely so they can afford the house they will be moving to.

The best time to buy a house is actually in December when sales are slow and sellers are more anxious to sell before the end of the year. Buying the week between Christmas and New Years can potentially save you thousands of dollars if you look around for the right home with a desperate buyer.

What about cars?

Like all major purchases, the best time to purchase a car is when you have taken the time to shop around for the right make and model for you, have saved up the cash or have financing arranged, AND most importantly, decided on a certain number you won’t go above (this applies to houses too).

There are many opinions regarding when it is best to buy a car. The most popular advice is to shop around the end of the month because of sales quotas, although this might not be your most effective route.

An interesting thing to think about is tax return time. A lot of people make big purchases after they get their tax money back. Perhaps it is wise to not buy something during this time. Simple supply and demand.

Perhaps the best advice for anyone buying a car is to go when they are BUSY. If a car dealership is really busy they won’t spend a lot of time trying to get you to pay top dollar. A busy dealership is usually more concerned with volume then they are price. For this reason, a lot of big dealerships set a “no-haggle” price on their cars, especially their used cars. But it’s hard to go wrong here.

The best time to buy fruit and vegetables are when they are plentiful and the biggest part of the harvest has just come in.

The best time to buy anything seasonal is in the off season. Take most outdoor gear for example. Ski and snowboard equipment goes on sale in the spring and summer months. Or perhaps I should say immediately after the season ends because that is when they sell off the bulk of their inventory.

Anything that has a new model coming out will make the old model cheaper very quickly. That’s why I am waiting till Christmas to get a Kindle.

New models of furniture come out in August making July the best time to buy furniture. New models of appliances come out in September and October making September the best month to buy appliances. September may also be the best time to buy a car because that’s when new models come out.

Last but not least, everyone loves a sale, and the biggest sales tend to happen on holiday weekends. Black Friday anyone? While you won’t see me out there on these days, it may be beneficial to brave the crowds if you have been planning a big purchase for awhile. You could potentially score big.

With all that being said, the important take away point is that you think about your purchases, and plan for them in the future. Yes, don’t buy anything today, tomorrow, or next week. Do your research, save some money, and plan your big purchases. You won’t regret it.

This is our 3rd challenge in The Personal Finance Challenge Series

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  1. Pingback: The Personal Finance Challenge Series | Insight Writer

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