Shopping Tip: Cars and Vacations

Hello Readers!  Well, this topic is something that has been on my mind for awhile now, especially as we head into the Fall season and things start to slow down.  I know all of us are finally feeling the constant action of Summertime dissipate, and if you’re like me you’re eager for those perfect cold nights during which you can curl up with a cup of tea and a good book in front of the fire!

This is also a great time to get some big ticket items on sale, and many of you may have some of these on your mind.  Cars, for example, are big ticket items that can often be really expensive, especially new ones.  If you know anything about the Dave Ramsey program, you know that “fleecing” a new car is a huge financial mistake, and buying a new car (period) can be similar to throwing money out the window.  So, why am I bringing it up if I’m a fan of Ramsey?  Well, because he is right about “fleecing” a new car as well as the feeling of throwing money away on a new car.  But, if you are into the debt snowball plan or are frugal then you most likely are familiar with the idea of “running your car to the ground”.  My last car that I bought used I literally ran until the engine cracked and was too expensive to repair.  And then I replaced it with a new car that is completely mine (thanks to my loving parents), but it took me a lot to get to that point where I owned my car, even the first time.  And, just like with my last car, we plan to run this one until it’s in the ground.

My husband Ryan’s Subaru, however, is ten years old now and is on its last leg, so right now cars are on my mind because we may be replacing his soon.  And many of you may be in a similar boat or you may be interested in updating your ride.  Well, right now is a great time to look into buying a new car.  Right now, dealerships are preparing to order for the 2017 year and they have a huge surplus of 2016 vehicles to sell.  They need the space, and this is where you can cash in on their needs.  Right now, dealerships become a buyer’s surplus, and you can typically find new cars (2016 models, that is, but still new and with no previous owner) for a lot less than you can during the rest of the year.  Unfortunately for me, I purchased my car in April of 2013 as a new car, so I ended up paying full price for my Kia, which was $7,000 less in October of that same year.  That’s a lot of money, especially on a budget or for a working family.  So, now is the time to be smarter than I was and get a great new car for less money.  Just bear this in mind: don’t “fleece” your car, and drive it until it falls apart.  My last car was 12 years old when it finally died, and I would have given anything to restore the engine and keep that car.  The engine repair would have been less than that $7,000, but I have to say I still like my current car.

Another big ticket item that goes on sale right now is vacation packages.  From now until mid November (before Thanksgiving), travel agencies and hotel resorts are going to slow down.  You and your family can score some great deals on wonderful vacations.  How about spending Halloween in Disneyland or Universal Studios-Diagon Alley (from Harry Potter)?  While the kiddos may have to miss some school for a trip like this, it’s the best time to get out and about.  Amusement parks and tourist locations are less likely to be overcrowded like they are during the peak months, it will be a little cooler which means less chance of heat-related illnesses, and travel accommodations will be less busy.  From my own experience, my previous employers were pretty flexible about accommodating my vacation time in the Fall because (1) it was always an off-peak time for businesses and (2) most everyone else had taken their vacation during the summertime/peak season while I worked.  And my vacations rarely conflicted with anyone else’s vacation time because most of my colleagues took their vacations between mid May to mid September.  The only conflict you may encounter may be schools, depending on their policies.  Some schools accept vacations for children’s absences as long as they aren’t gone for more than two weeks.  But some schools have a more strict attendance policy.  Always check with your schools before planning your vacation.

So, why has this been on my mind?  When I was a kid, I remember taking trips to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm in southern California at this time of year.  And every Fall, I like to take trips because it’s so much quieter and more peaceful than it is during the summer months.  I also took my trips in the Fall because it was like congratulating myself for making through another summer.

So, I hope more of you will consider saving your money by taking a trip this Fall rather than taking it during the summer months.  And don’t forget to cash in on the savings at the dealership during their sales!

Until next time,

-BBM

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