Bargain hunting is practically a sport, especially during the holiday shopping season. Deloitte‘s 2014 annual holiday survey predicts the average American will drop nearly $1,300 this holiday season. With that level of spending in mind, planning to save real money elsewhere is crucial to managing a household’s bottom line.
Promotions such as standard Black Friday deals or free holiday shipping are nice but often don’t add up very quickly. Huge value can be found on big-ticket items since their need can be anticipated months ahead. Purchasing them seasonally or via year-end clearance sales can provide savvy consumers with hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings. Here are a few examples of products that fall into each category:
* Cars. With the next year’s models already on lots for a number of months, dealers are anxious to move cars from the previous year. Moreover, December is their last chance to improve year-end sales numbers – whether at the dealer or individual salesperson level.
* Flooring. The end of the year is a great time to buy new hardwood flooring. Suppliers and mills often assess their inventory at this time and clear out product lines before the end of the year. Stores such as Lumber Liquidators purchase these products at discounted rates and pass the options and savings directly to consumers, resulting in a great deal that can also increase the value of a home.
* Gas grills and air conditioners. Stores may offer deep discounts on off-season products such as air conditioners and gas grills. This rule of thumb is particularly valuable for people who live in cold weather climates, where summer goods become especially obsolete during the long winter months.
* Furniture. The holiday season brings sales and promotions at many furniture stores on living and dining room items as people are preparing for holiday entertaining. In addition, outdoor furniture is generally at its best price due to it being out of season.
No matter a consumer’s methodology, a little planning goes a long way in finding bargains. There are very helpful websites – such as www.dealnews.com – that do a great job staying on top of deals both large and small. Online forums and traditional word of mouth can also assist in the hunt.
In the works: The less expensive iPhone has been in the works since at least 2009, with Apple seeing it as a way to grab market share and introduce people to the brand.Not only does Apple have plans of developing cheaper phones but they'll be available via WalMart's pre-paid phone plans on Friday! No, seriously! According to various sources online, Straight Talk Wireless has announced that customers have been able to enjoy the iPhone experience on Walmart's Straight Talk "BYOD" phone plans for quite some time now, but the prepaid provider will begin directly selling the iPhone 5 -- as well as the iPhone 4 -- on January 11th. The iPhone 5 will be offered in 16GB and will be sold for $649, while the iPhone 4 will come with 8GB storage and go for $449. If you don't want to pay the entire cost up front, you can take advantage of Walmart's monthly installment-financing plans for $25. This can only lead to two ending results later this year and depending on your preferences both options will be bad. 1. Apple will lose its grip on the lifestyle marketing chokehold it once had on technology and mobile consumers. (Remember a time when Baby Phat, Guess & FUBU were hot commodities sold only at fine department stores? Now you can only find them at discount stores with "manager's special" tags on them.) Because Apple products are becoming the norm and available to everyone, it will lose its position as a coveted product that everyone wants, WHY? Because everyone will already have it (or have access to it!) So once the mass appeal weakens, what's next? Say goodbye to celebrity endorsements in commercials. Remember those entertaining Apple commercials starring Siri with Samuel Jackson and Zoey Dechanel? They're most likely to be replaced w/ the likes of Sweet Brown or worse, one of those computer happy weirdos from MTVs Catfish. Now that Apple has made their move, I wonder what Samsung and Windows has in store next? What's the next go-to lifestyle smartphone that true techies will turn to? Can you guess which device will become the next great lifestyle phone? Share your thoughts and opinions below...