Archive for the ‘Weekly focus’ Category

Houses and what goes in them among best buys this month

January can be a great month to buy a variety of items — depending on holiday sales trends. Recent holiday sales were disappointing for retailers, meaning good deals for January shoppers.

“A lot of times retailers will have sales in January to try to move some of this merchandise, ” says Mark Di Vincenzo, author of “Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00: More of the best times to buy this, do that and go there,” (William Morrow, $13.99).

One of the biggest January sale categories is the home — ranging from an actual house to everything that goes inside.

“Housing prices are creeping up,” Di Vincenzo says, with winter — especially January and February — a good time to buy. “You have eager sellers and fewer buyers. This winter, especially if you are going to buy a house, you should make an offer early in the year because prices will keep going up.”

If you’re not in the market for a new home, you can always beef up your current abode by taking advantage of carpeting and …

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Cars, cookware and gift cards among best buys for December

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but don’t think that you’ve missed out on all the deals.

“There are still some good buys that can be found in December,” says DeAnna Lucas, management consultant for the Parker Avery Group, an Atlanta-based boutique strategy management and consulting firm specializing in retail.

On the higher end, it is a good time to buy automobiles, she says. At the other end of the spectrum, expect to see holiday decorations marked as low as 75 percent off. Here are the details on these deals and more for this month:

Cars: Dealers will do anything they can to clear out last year’s models, Lucas says. And you can get an even better deal if you are willing to go with an off-beat color such as a metallic green. “Black and silver are popular colors, but if you are looking for something other than that, you can probably find a good deal,” she says. Bikes are also a good bet since most people are not shopping for bikes until the weather breaks in …

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Ways to make the most of early holiday shopping

Planning ahead isn’t always easy, particularly when it comes to holiday shopping. But this year, almost 40 percent of U.S. consumers started holiday shopping well before Nov. 1, according to a survey from Ipsos Public Affairs and RetailMeNot.

Fee-free layaway programs that let consumers shop with cash instead of credit and reservation programs that allow shoppers to reserve hot items have already led to shortages in toys, small appliances and apparel, says Brian Hoyt, a writer for RetailMeNot.com, the consumer coupon and deal code website. “If you see the blender or microwave that you really like or the toy your kid wants, I would go and buy that now because it might not be there later,” Hoyt says.

What else can you do to make the most of early holiday shopping? Follow this advice from the pros.

Make buying decisions in advance. Josh Elledge, founder of SavingsAngel.com, a consumer couponing site, says don’t change your game plan when you walk in the store. “Everything is …

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November deals go beyond Black Friday

They don't die, they multiply. Even the newest toys like Furby -- the 2012 edition -- may see discounts of up to 50 percent off on Black Friday.

They don't die, they multiply. Even the newest toys, like Furby — the 2012 edition — may see discounts of up to 50 percent off on Black Friday.

For many bargain hunters, November brings the most sacred of shopping holidays — Black Friday. While there are many deals to be dealt on that day, there are also items not traditionally connected to Black Friday that can be had at substantial savings.

Cookware: “One of the first good items to buy in November that isn’t necessarily tied to Black Friday is cookware,” says Lindsay Sakraida, features director for Dealnews.com, a consumer website. Cookware, cutlery sets, dining sets and small appliances are all expected to hit the lowest prices of the year in November.

Hardware: Expect substantial savings on tools at stores such as Home Depot, Sakraida says. The discounts may not be as deep as they were several years ago, but you will still find some good markdowns.

Free turkeys: “A lot of grocery stores will offer a free turkey if you …

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Cars, costumes among October deals

October is sandwiched between two big shopping events: back-to-school sales in August and Black Friday in November. But don’t underestimate the deals to be had this month.

“You would think there is kind of a lull because everyone is sitting back and waiting for the holiday shopping season which starts with Black Friday,” says DeAnna Lucas, management consultant for the Parker Avery Group, an Atlanta-based boutique strategy management and consulting firm specializing in retail. But even October has its deals.

Toys:  One big-deal item is toys, says Lucas. Toys from last season are marked as low as 50 percent off to make way for the hottest new items, she says.

Denim:  “They started discounting last season’s denim in September,” Lucas says. In October, those styles go to clearance. Lindsey Sakraida, features editor at consumer website DealNews.com, has spotted deep discounts on denim from Levi’s, Lee, Target Mossimo and Armani Exchange.

Halloween: October concludes with …

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Save big on school supplies, clothing in August

Back-to-school sales rule in August, but you’ll also see summer clearance on clothing and outdoor gear.

Back to school

Clothing, supplies: When it comes to saving money, bundling is your best bet. Groupon, for example, has already begun to offer backpack deals and supply bundles. And some online retailers will run sales you can combine with an extra coupon code and free shipping. “We see this a lot with clothing, especially the brands the kids like,” said Brent Shelton, a spokesman with consumer site FatWallet.com. Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale offered their best discounts of the year last August.

Laptops and more: Retailers like Amazon, Microsoft and Sony will probably offer laptop bundles in August, when higher-end models might be paired with an Xbox, PlayStation or gift card, says Lindsay Sakraida, features editor at DealNews.com. “Amazon sometimes will even offer both a console and a gift card,” she said. “For some of the lower-end computers, you can still get …

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The best time to buy a home might be now

From a financial perspective, the window for pouncing on a once-in-a-lifetime deal on a home might be narrowing.

The state’s median selling price is down from $175,000 at the market’s 2007 peak to $109,900 in May, says the Georgia Association of Realtors. But recent prices are trending up.

The average sales price increased each of the first five months this year, from $126,381 to $152,740. Similarly, January-May median prices were up, from $87,000 to $109,900, every month but one — when prices were flat.

Good financial planning takes a long-term view. That’s why Ted Jenkin, co-CEO of Oxygen Financial in Alpharetta, and Wes Moss, chief investment strategist at Capital Investment Advisors in Sandy Springs, say today’s housing market very well could be the financial spark you’re seeking. Some factors to consider:

1. Interest rates: “With 30-year interest rates hovering under 4 percent and 15-year rates under 3 percent, these are tremendous times to be able to purchase a …

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Tracking apps might not help recover stolen devices

If you think tracking software on your smartphone or tablet will help you recover it if it’s stolen, you might be mistaken.

You might recall reading about Melissa Sharpe and fiancé Nick Renzi in January. Traveling on Delta out of Hartsfield-Jackson airport during the end-of-year holiday season, the couple realized Renzi’s work iPad was accidentally left on their plane. The tablet’s “Find my iPad” software tracked it to a house in McDonough, but the location sometimes drifted to the property next door.

The couple filed a report with Atlanta police, whose jurisdiction includes the airport. But the cops didn’t swoop in on the house, arrest the bad guy and return the iPad to its lawful owner. That’s because the location was inconsistent, APD spokesman Carlos Campos said. The ability to obtain a search warrant revolves around probable cause, which is difficult to establish if tracking software isn’t precise, he said.

“It really depends greatly on the technology,” he said. “For …

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Prices fall as retailers get ready for autumn

July is all about clearance.

Retailers next month will scramble to offload “small, piecey stuff” to clear space for autumn shipments, says Dan Butler, VP of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. Plus, “people are usually going on vacation in the summer months, so retailers really have to promote their values strongly to get their customer in the door.”

So keep your peepers peeled in July for these deals:

SLR cameras: “We’ve noticed lately there’s been a spike in the number of ‘editor’s choice’ deals [on single-lens reflex cameras] in May and June already,” says Lindsay Sakraida, features editor at consumer website DealNews.com. “We’re hoping that will continue into July. It might be a good thing to keep an eye on if you need a [late] graduation gift.”

Apparel: Look for 40 to 70 percent off spring holdovers. “Some retailers will get very aggressive and mark things down dirt cheap just to get rid of it,” Butler says.

Sandals: July introduces the best deals on …

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Clothes, gifts for dads top June sales

Shop for savings on a range of items, including Caribbean vacations and apparel, in June:

Father’s Day gifts: Bargains can be found “in lots of different departments, and some where you don’t expect — like housewares, and shavers and personal care items for men,” said Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. “They can be anywhere from 25 to 40 to 50 percent off.” In cosmetics, men’s fragrances might be sold in larger sizes or as package deals.

Also look for free gifts with purchases for Dad. Butler has seen duffel bags, totes and even clocks packaged together as Father’s Day promotions.

Caribbean vacations: “You’ll start seeing really cheap cruises and vacation packages to anywhere in the Caribbean, mainly because it’s hurricane season,” said Lindsay Sakraida, features editor at DealNews.com. Booking a Caribbean trip from June through November is riskier, but that’s when the best prices will be available.

Lingerie: Victoria’s Secret …

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