The Best Things to Buy in the Winter

by Andrew Schreiber 7. February 2013

Winter Sales

 

If you are like me, now that the holiday season has passed you’ve been counting down the days until spring. We all try to pass the time in different ways, but some of those things you plan to do in the spring might be beneficial to do sooner rather than later. The slow times of the winter are felt across many industries including real estate, consumer electronics and construction. This is good news for those of us that are always looking for a good deal. Here is a list of the best things to purchase during the winter.

Homes

For those of you who are looking to purchase a new home, winter is a great time to find a good deal. Most people don’t want to trudge through the winter weather to shop for a house, so they put the shopping off until the spring. This lack of demand provides a great opportunity to find a good deal. Less competition for available homes allows you to offer below the list price, especially since if a home is placed on the market in the wintertime when sellers are aware that they could make more money waiting, it could mean they are motivated to sell quickly.

Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Everyone spends a lot of money during the holiday season which often causes them to put off any big purchases for awhile so they can recuperate funds. This provides a perfect opportunity to those of us who plan ahead. Contractors have large holiday bills as well, but demand for contractors is down in the winter because of the spending during the holidays, which makes them more eager to find jobs that will keep them busy. Also, material demand is lower due to the slow time of the year so you are likely to save some money there as well.

Electronics and Cameras

The International Consumer Electronic Show in which technology companies introduce their new and improved products occurs in January. This event helps build buzz and demand for the new products. So if you are one of those people that doesn’t always have to have the newest, most up-to-date gadget, now is a perfect time to buy last year’s model of TVs, cameras, home entertainment systems, etc. With all of the new products and lines being introduced, retailers need to make room for the new inventory. You can usually find higher end items that weren’t on sale for Black Friday on sale now to make room for the newest models. If holiday sales were less than expected, you can expect better deals on a wider range of products after the holidays are over. Despite the winter being a good time to purchase most electronics, laptops are not one of these.

Transportation

Sometimes the best time to purchase something is when it is painfully obvious that you have no reason to currently use it. The winter months are a great time to purchase motorcycles, bicycles, and even boats. Demand for motorcycles is low during the winter so you can usually find dealers having sales to help boost sales. These sales have a trickle-down effect, causing current motorcyclists purchasing new bikes to sell their old ones. So whether you are looking for a new or used bike, winter is the best time to find a good deal. Bicycles are also on sale due to the lack of demand during the winter months, plus retailers are looking to clear their inventories after the holiday season for the newest models due out soon. Finally, boats are also a good buy in the wintertime; most dealers offer their best sales during the slow winter months, especially at winter boat shows.

Overall, when planning your annual purchases, a good bet for finding discounts is to buy at a time that seems to make the least bit of sense. Take a look at your fellow consumers’ behaviors…and do the opposite!

An Easy Way to Stick with Your Financial New Year's Resolution

by Andrew Schreiber 2. January 2013

2013 New Years ResolutionsThe New Year allows for a fresh start. Many of us celebrate this new beginning by making a New Year’s resolution. I, like most people, make a New Year’s resolution and make a promise to myself to follow through with it indefinitely. However, oftentimes my motivation and desire fizzles out within a couple of weeks and I never look back. Whether your resolution is to exercise more, eat healthier, save money, or quit smoking, we all know how hard it is to stay motivated and follow through with our resolution. Sometimes in order for you to succeed in making a change you need someone or something to hold you accountable.

Financial resolutions can be some of the most complicated and stressful resolutions to make. Whether you resolve to free yourself from debt, buy a new car, save money or spend less, everyone can use a helping hand to accomplish financial goals. One of the most useful tools you can use in creating financial stability is a Personal Finance Manager such as Mariner360. Mariner360 links all of your accounts at all of your financial institutions so you only have to make one stop in order to manage all of your finances. This PFM is a great resource to help hold you accountable and visually see the progress of your goals and budgets.

Mariner360 is simple to use, easily accessible, and free for Online Banking customers. It automatically categorizes your spending which allows you to visually see how much you spend dining out, on a car loan, on your utilities, in gas, etc. each month. With Mariner360, you can also see your monthly cash flow, set up a budget, or set a goal.

So how exactly might you use Mariner360 to help with your financial resolutions? Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Resolution #1: I want to buy a new car by the end of 2013.

If you’re looking to purchase a new car, you have some options. What make and model are you looking for? New or used? What kind of monthly payment you are willing to take on?

Mariner360 can help you narrow down your options to help you set a realistic goal. Let’s say that after doing some research, you decide that you would like $10,000 saved by the end of the year.

Under the “Goals” tab of Mariner360, you can type in your goal and Mariner360 will let you know how much you need to save each month in order to meet your goal:

Setting Up a Goal in Mariner360

 

Viewing Your Goals in Mariner360

According to Mariner360, if you had about $1,500 saved already, you would need to save $701 each month in order to meet your goal. Then you can ask yourself if this seems like something that you can realistically do. If not, figure out how much you feel you are able to put away each month, then think about lowering the down payment or delaying your purchase by a few months.

Resolution #2: I want to limit the amount of money I spend dining out.

This is always a popular New Year’s resolution since it kills two birds with one stone – it helps you eat healthier while spending less money. A great way to stick with this resolution is to set up a budget in Mariner360. Simply navigate to the “Budgets” tab, plug in the amount of money you would like to limit yourself to each month and you’re good to go!

Creating a Budget in Mariner360

You can check back throughout the month to see how you're doing. So, if a friend wants to meet you for lunch, check and see if you have enough left in your budget before agreeing.

Viewing Your Budgets in Mariner360

If your New Year’s resolution is finance related, do yourself a favor and use the services of a Personal Financial Manager like Mariner360. Make it as easy and effortless as possible to follow through and stick with your goals. Your bank accounts will thank you.

Mariner360

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Banking

How I Am Staying on Top of My Finances (and Not Becoming a Grinch) This Holiday Season

Money in Your 30s: Manage It, Don't Be Managed By It

How to Keep Your Wallet Stuffed This Thanksgiving

by Andrew Schreiber 19. November 2012

Thanksgiving on a budgetThanksgiving is a time to spend with the people we love and to give thanks for what we have in our lives. The last thing we want to worry about during this time of year, especially with the gift-giving season around the corner, is the effect Thanksgiving will have on our bank accounts. Here are a few tips that will help us all save some cash and relieve some of the financial stress associated with the holiday season.

Organize a Potluck Dinner

Planning, cooking and entertaining are a lot of stressful tasks for any one individual to take on for a single gathering. So instead of leaving all of the social and financial pressures on yourself, ask each guest to bring a side dish and/or dessert. This gives your guests a great outlet to talk about themselves, which we know so many of us like to do, and their “secret” recipes. The responsibility of feeding a large group of people is enough to keep anybody busy all day in the kitchen, so it only seems natural to spread the workload.

Look Outside for Décor

Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year, and what do you normally associate with Fall? Thanksgiving! So instead of spending extra money on decorations, go outside and gather your décor from your yard or a nearby park. Depending on where you live, you could find an endless supply of pine cones, leaves, and maybe even corn husks right outside your door! This could also be a perfect way to keep your children busy and out of the house. Pinterest is a great resource to use for DIY decoration ideas.

Leftovers

Who likes eating an endless supply of turkey for weeks after Thanksgiving? I know I don’t, but even more, I hate seeing so much food go to waste. So instead of throwing out the leftovers, look up some recipes online that call for your leftover turkey. There are a plethora of delicious turkey recipes that will make the leftovers a little more enjoyable, so you’ll be set for days!

Deviate from the Traditional

Instead of sticking to the traditional Thanksgiving menu every year, don’t be afraid to do something totally different. For example, stay local with your meal. If you’re a Maryland resident, make pit beef sandwiches for dinner, wash it down with Natty Boh and finish it off with a homemade Smith Island Cake or Berger cookies for dessert. If you don’t want to completely stray from tradition, find subtle ways to incorporate the traditional foods. Make turkey burgers, turkey meatballs, or cranberry BBQ sauce.

The holidays have enough pressure and stress associated with them, so don't create more by spending beyond your means. Use some of these budget friendly ideas to alleviate some of the stresses of the holidays and enjoy the season!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Tricks to Throwing a Budget-Friendly Barbeque

Traveling Tips: Keep the Costs Low and the Fun Level High

Spring Forward with These 5 Energy Saving Tips



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