Discount deals http://m.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12699/all en-US Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop http://m.wisebread.com/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://m.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/people_shopping_bags.jpg" alt="People with shopping bags" title="People with shopping bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I grocery shop every Saturday afternoon. I do it because it&rsquo;s convenient, and I don&rsquo;t mind the crowds. As it turns out, I&rsquo;ve been getting it all wrong. Recent data suggests I may save more if I shop on Sunday instead. In fact, there&rsquo;s a best time of the week to almost everything. So if you&rsquo;re heading out to shop this week &mdash; or shopping online &mdash; read on to find out which days are most likely to provide rock-bottom prices.</p> <h3>Monday: Computers, Electronics, and Cars</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re in the market for a new computer, TV, camera, or video game, shop on Monday. This is especially true if you&rsquo;re buying these items online, as Monday is also the best overall day to click your way to the best deals. According to <a href="http://www.extrabux.com/blog/2011/11/cheapest-days-of-the-week-to-shop-online/">Extrabux.com</a>, many electronics items sell for less on Monday because after a weekend of shopping at the mall, many workers head back to their desks to look for lower prices online, forcing retailers to present their best deals in an attempt to win them over. Many electronics rebates are also applied on Mondays, and these savings are passed on to consumers. The average price for a computer, for example, hits a low of $1,210.24 on Mondays, rising to a peak of $1,256.27 on Fridays, when fewer consumers tend to be shopping.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/when-to-buy-your-next-car.html">Edmunds.com</a>, Monday is also the best day of the week to buy a car because dealerships are more willing to negotiate. Whether they&rsquo;ve had poor sales over the weekend or are looking to keep a strong weekend run going, the start of a new week is when buyers are likely to have the most negotiating power, which often means driving away with a better deal.</p> <h3>Tuesday: Airline Tickets</h3> <p>Although airline pricing tends to fluctuate enough to drive frequent flyers crazy, it does move in a predictable pattern that suggests that Tuesday or Wednesday is the best time to buy. This is because many seat sales, which often bring the price down by 10 to 15%, are launched on Monday night, according to the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704062604576105953506930800.html">Wall Street Journal</a>, leaving consumers to fight for a discounted ticket on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, competitors are working to match seat sale prices, making Wednesday a good bet for cheaper flights as well.</p> <h3>Wednesday: Jewelry</h3> <p>If it&rsquo;s bling you&rsquo;re in the market for, online jewelry prices are ever-so-slightly lower on Wednesdays. This may be because women are more likely to shop in the middle of week, and, as we saw in electronics, a higher number of searches tends to drive down prices. According to Extrabux, average jewelry prices hit a low of $218.26 on Wednesdays, and peaked on Saturdays at $220.49.</p> <h3>Thursday: Clothes</h3> <p>In my own shopping experience, I&rsquo;ve discovered that Thursdays are a good time to shop for clothes, particularly if you&rsquo;re headed to an off-price discount retailer such as Ross or T.J. Maxx. This is because both online and brick-and-mortar retailers are more likely to get new merchandise on this day &mdash; and because this is typically the day when weekend sales begin. However, as stores continue to compete for customers, many are expanding weekend sales into Wednesday, which could affect this trend, according to <a href="http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/deal-of-the-day/best-days-of-the-week-for-discounts-1320270169168/">SmartMoney</a>.</p> <h3>Saturday: Books</h3> <p>If hitting up a local book store is your ideal way to spend a Saturday, you&rsquo;re in luck &mdash; you're likely to see better deals on Saturday, says Extrabux. Although the price of books tends to fluctuate pretty widely, it hits a definite low on Saturday, averaging $12.72, compared to late-week highs of $14.33. Books are probably cheaper on Saturday for the same reason you may be more likely to hang out at Barnes &amp; Noble &mdash; there&rsquo;s time to read.</p> <h3>Sunday: Things for Your Home</h3> <p>Just like online shopping tends to happen from a cubicle on Monday, things for the home tend to be top of mind on Sundays, driving their prices down. Major appliances, for one, are cheaper on Sunday. If you&rsquo;ve ever shopped for a new fridge or stove, you probably know what a major undertaking it can be. This may be why people might be more likely to shop for these items on a Sunday, when they have time to spend the day comparing prices, whether at the stores or online. This drives prices down as stores fight for their business, according to Ebux.com. In fact, the prices for major appliances were inversely correlated with Google searches for such items, which rose as prices dropped.</p> <p>Sunday is also a good day to buy groceries and personal care items. Manufacturers&rsquo; coupons for such items tend to kick in on Sundays, and can often be combined with deals from a store&rsquo;s weekly flyer, according to MSN Money. If you already collect coupons and watch for sales, doing your shopping on Sunday might help you knock off a few extra dollars.</p> <p>When it comes to shopping, there&rsquo;s a best day of the week to buy just about everything. Although the discounts are sometimes relatively small, frugal shoppers know these can add up to big savings. I think I&rsquo;ll give shopping on Sunday a try. After all, when it comes to find really low prices, timing is everything!</p> <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop" class="sharethis-link" title="Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping cheap airfare cheap computer cheap groceries Discount deals electronics Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:36:27 +0000 Tara Struyk 802590 at http://m.wisebread.com Is Companion Airfare Really Worth It? http://m.wisebread.com/is-companion-airfare-really-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-companion-airfare-really-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://m.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5296663239_dc89a41808_z.jpg" alt="people at airport" title="people at airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Companion ticket offers are used to peddle all sorts of products and services&hellip;magazine subscriptions, car rentals, <a title="How Much Does Your Credit Card Debt Cost You?" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">expensive credit cards</a>, and everything in between. With the high cost of air travel these days, it's obvious why these appear to be such a good deal. But like they say, appearances can be deceiving. (See also: <a title="How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare, Even After You Buy" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy">How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare, Even After You Buy</a>)</p> <h2>Too Good to Be True?</h2> <p>Before we read the fine print and run the actual numbers, common sense will tell us many of these offers smell fishy right off the bat. For example, a while back Kodak was running this offer which touted complimentary companion airfare simply for <a href="http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/lp/2010/airfare/airfare.jsp">making a $50 purchase</a>.</p> <h3>Red Flag #1: Only a $50 purchase?!</h3> <p>According to The L.A. Times, the average price of domestic airfare was $247 during the first quarter of 2011. How can Kodak afford to fulfill your order plus give you companion airfare, all for as little as $50? You also have to ask how airlines (which run on razor-thin margins) would be able to dole out tickets for next to nothing.</p> <h3>Red Flag #2: The company providing the offer</h3> <p>As one would guess, Kodak does not actually operate the companion ticket program. Rather, that is administered through a totally separate company called Promotions in Travel. Their website is listed in the fine print and instead of telling you my thoughts about its quality, I will let that website speak for itself: <a title="CompanionTicketInfo.com" href="http://www.companionticketinfo.com/">CompanionTicketInfo.com</a>.</p> <h2>What's in the Fine Print?</h2> <p>I searched for similar promotions and came across several, which were all eerily similar to the one above: no phone numbers, shady websites, and only vague information being provided. The exception was <a title="Meijer's companion airfare" href="http://www.meijer.com/content/content.jsp?pageName=companion_airfare">this offer from Meijer's</a> which did provide more details in the fine print, including these drawbacks:</p> <ul> <li>There are blackout dates, and while the airfare is free, taxes and fees still apply for both tickets.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Only major U.S. carriers participated. It listed Delta, American, Continental, United Airlines, and US Airways. As we all know, for some destinations their fares will be more expensive than discount airlines such as Southwest and JetBlue.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fares lower than $349 (low season) or $379 (high season) do not qualify for the offer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>No phone number is provided upfront. Instead, we are told &quot;Once you have your certificate, simply call API's toll free phone number for reservations.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>All tickets must be purchased through Airline Promotions, Inc.</li> </ul> <p>Although no phone number was given, thanks to a little legwork with Google, I was able to track down the reservation number for Airline Promotions, Inc. The first time I called, I got an automated message telling me their hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. So I called back the next day to try to get a ticket quote (to do a comparison) but the CSR said no dice, since I wasn't able to provide a certificate number.</p> <h2>How Do the Numbers Stack Up?</h2> <p>Having hit a brick wall with the above offers, I did some more Googling to see if I could dig up some real numbers to analyze. That's when I stumbled upon these two sites:</p> <p><a title="Companion Booking" href="https://www.companionbooking.com/">Companion Booking</a> &mdash; This URL is associated with a Food &amp; Wine Magazine offer. Those with an American Express card are frequently asked to subscribe, in exchange for a companion air voucher.</p> <p><a title="Companion Fare Registration" href="https://www.companionfareregistration.com/">Companion Fare Registration</a> &mdash; I saw numerous bank account and credit card promotions linked to this site. For example, Sun National Bank was running a companion airfare promotion for opening a checking account with a Visa debit card.</p> <p>If you visit these two sites, it's clear they must be the same company &mdash; same email listed, same logo used. In fact, the logo is also the one found on the Kodak offer, which we know to be <em>Promotions In Travel</em>. However between all of these websites, only one publishes a <a title="terms and conditions" href="https://www.companionfareregistration.com/Termsandconditions.htm">Terms and Conditions page</a> which gives us pricing information:</p> <p><img width="371" height="456" alt="Companion Fare Registration T&amp;C" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/termsconditions.png" /></p> <p>Using this table and the zone information, I priced out three sample flights on Orbitz to see how they measure up. To make this an apples-to-apples comparison, I have done the following:</p> <ul> <li>The bottom-line cheapest quotes from <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10517739">Expedia</a> were used, regardless of the departure times and number of layovers. This was done because to the best of my knowledge, you purportedly have little control over these variables when using the companion airfare benefit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For consistency, all of the tests involve a Saturday stay. This was done because the T&amp;Cs mention a &quot;Saturday stay may be required depending on the airline.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Taxes and fees are not included.</li> </ul> <h3>Test #1: Los Angeles to Detroit, 9/21 &ndash; 9/27</h3> <p><strong>Orbitz:</strong> $500 ($250 per ticket) on U.S. Airways</p> <p><strong>Promotions In Travel:</strong> $530 (zone 3 to 6)</p> <h3>Test #2: Chicago to Denver, 9/29 &ndash; 10/4</h3> <p><strong>Orbitz:</strong> $336 ($168 per ticket) on Delta</p> <p><strong>Promotions In Travel:</strong> $550 (zone 3 to 5)</p> <h3>Test #3: Newark to Orlando, 10/21 &ndash; 10/25</h3> <p><strong>Orbitz:</strong> $368 ($184 per ticket) on Continental</p> <p><strong>Promotions In Travel:</strong> $360 (zone 1 to 7)</p> <p>As you see, 2 out of the 3 were cheaper by going with Promotions In Travel, but only by a marginal amount. Meanwhile, the flight from Chicago to Denver was significantly more expensive.</p> <h2>Verdict?</h2> <p>After running the numbers, it's hard for me to be enthusiastic about these offers. Will they save you money? It's possible. But given the limited options in choosing a flight, I would rather just buy the tickets on my own.</p> <p>With that said, it's important to point out that the companion benefit &mdash; when offered directly by an airline &mdash; usually operates in a much more attractive manner. For example, with the Bank of America <a title="Alaska Airlines Visa" href="http://www.alaskaair.com/content/deals/mileage-plan/visa-signature-promo.aspx">Alaska Airlines Visa Signature</a>, you receive a $99 companion flight once per year. Since you don't pay an inflated price for the first ticket, this is probably a good deal. However, sometimes these travel credit cards require the purchase of a &quot;full fare&quot; ticket in order to use the companion perk, which may end up costing you more than what two discounted tickets would fetch.</p> <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/is-companion-airfare-really-worth-it" class="sharethis-link" title="Is Companion Airfare Really Worth It?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Michael Dolen is the founder of <a href="http://creditcardforum.com/" title="Credit Card Forum">Credit Card Forum</a>. After a catastrophic car accident left him with sky-high medical bills piled on a plethora of cards, he started this community for people to ask questions and get answers about their own credit cards. Here are some additional resources from Credit Card Forum:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://creditcardforum.com/blog/credit-card-dispute/" title="credit card disputes">Credit Card Disputes: Understanding The Process</a></li> <li><a href="http://creditcardforum.com/blog/bank-of-america-world-points-redemption/" title="Bank of America World Points">Bank of America World Points: The Best &amp; Worst Options</a></li> <li><a href="http://creditcardforum.com/blog/how-to-calculate-average-daily-balance-on-credit-card/" title="calculate average daily balance">How To Calculate Average Daily Balance on a Credit Card</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/michael-dolen">Michael Dolen</a> and published on <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel Airfare Discount deals Fri, 12 Aug 2011 10:36:15 +0000 Michael Dolen 659375 at http://m.wisebread.com Would You Buy Off the Back of a Truck? http://m.wisebread.com/would-you-buy-off-the-back-of-a-truck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-buy-off-the-back-of-a-truck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://m.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/meat_truck.jpg" alt="Meat truck" title="Meat truck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever bought something off the back of a truck? I have. In retrospect, it wasn't always the brightest move. While you can get some great deals, you may also be getting involved in a shady transaction &mdash; or worse.&nbsp;Here are some examples of &quot;back of the truck&quot; sales I've entertained or decided to pass on. &nbsp;</p> <p>(Please note I'm simply sharing my experience and I'm not recommending this as a viable shopping strategy. When you buy off a truck you might be evading legitimate taxes or getting stolen or subpar merchandise.)&nbsp;</p> <h2>Furniture</h2> <p>Apparently, it's not uncommon for trucks to drive up from the furniture outlets in North Carolina and unload large quantities of furniture in other states. We happened to be driving by a gas station that had a large semi parked out front with a full showcase of furniture displayed nicely in the parking lot. My wife had been asking for a dining room hutch for years, and I'd always had some sort of excuse as to why we couldn't afford it. But seeing as how we'd eventually have to spring for this (seemingly useless) item eventually, I figured I might as well entertain buying one at a significant discount rather than paying thousands more at some point in the future. So we stopped in and found a piece <strike>we</strike> she liked. They were able to drive it up to our home at the end of the day and sell it to us for a significant discount.</p> <p>I felt comfortable with this transaction because I was able to inspect the furniture myself, and frankly (guys, you'll appreciate this), it's a completely useless item. It just sits there without ever being touched. While a dining room hutch looks nice, it's not exactly something that undergoes a lot of wear and tear. Additionally, I was able to look up the furniture company online before they got to our house to confirm the authenticity of the company, and compare our quoted cost to what I would have paid at local retail outlets. It seemed like a huge win. A few years later, so far, so good. We've eaten in the dining room all of two times in the subsequent years, the hutch still looks nice, and the wife is happy. Remember, happy wife = happy life.</p> <h2>Computer Monitors</h2> <p>I had a family member approach me with an opportunity to buy a new LCD monitor a few years back. It was retailing for over $200, and he said I could have it for $100. He said it &quot;came off a truck,&quot; and he'd already tested it out. He had snagged one for himself and said he bought an extra one figuring I'd want it. I didn't really consider what the implications were in buying electronics that came from a truck, but seeing as how I was still using a massive old-school monitor and it seemed like a great deal, I sprung for it. I'm still using the monitor today. It's only now that I'm writing this article that I'm actually wondering where it came from &mdash; more on that below.</p> <h2>Meat</h2> <p>Seriously &mdash; meat. This sounds nasty, and this is the one truck opportunity I didn't partake in. Our neighbor called my wife raving about a truck in the neighborhood selling meat. Typical of my wife, who finds a &quot;deal&quot; nearly irresistible no matter how absurd the situation, she entertained the notion of purchasing meat in bulk based on the neighbor's endorsement. So the truck rolled down to our house and the driver started in with a typical <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them">hard sell technique</a>. My wife called me at work to explain what kind of deal was being offered, and it was something along the lines of filet mignon at more than half off a typical store price. Apparently, the driver was becoming so impatient that she felt the need to call me (scammers with an exploding offer HATE when their victims have access to additional information and opinions).</p> <p>Aside from the fact that I abhor ultimatums and hard sell tactics, it just didn't seem legitimate at all. I questioned why someone would need to drive meat around in a truck instead of just advertising a great deal and selling it from a legitimate store or selling it to restaurants and other larger outlets. I had no insight into the storage conditions, the source, how old the meat was or whether this even complied with local health laws. I was thinking it was probably rejected meat from some other source and they were trying to unload it in bulk at bargain prices since they couldn't sell it through legitimate channels. The driver had explained it all away to to my wife initially, but it just didn't smell right to me (over the phone). So, I told her to pass. Unsurprisingly, he had some choice words for her for wasting his time. I was so annoyed and disturbed by the encounter that I considered calling the local health authorities to see if this was even legal or legitimate, but he was long gone by the time she called me back to relay the rest of the encounter.</p> <p>I was somewhat annoyed and shocked that my wife would even entertain the notion of subjecting our family to meat from who knows where. I take my chances every time I eat out, but there's a tort system and health code laws providing at least a strong deterrent and legal remedy for shady practices. The guy on the truck was bound by no such constraints. Upon talking to other neighbors about the situation, I learned that they'd done these purchases before and just couldn't get enough of these deals from the meat trucks. While this seemed completely foreign and bizarre to me, it was commonplace for them. I'm really curious if this meat truck thing is a broader phenomena because it seems very strange.</p> <h2>How'd It Actually GET in the Truck?</h2> <p>If you've ever watched an episode of The Sopranos, you've probably witnessed merchandise being stolen, laundered, or otherwise involved in some sort of criminal activity. Depending on what you're buying and who you're buying it from, you should certainly consider both the legal consequences you're subjecting yourself to, as well as your moral obligation. Looking back, I can see that the monitor was a bad purchase. While I had no direct knowledge of a crime being committed, upon reflection, I'd probably have to wonder if I was about to be the recipient of stolen property. That's drama I just don't need. And the meat? Well, that's one discount I don't need.</p> <p><em>Have you ever bought anything off the back of a truck?</em></p> <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/would-you-buy-off-the-back-of-a-truck" class="sharethis-link" title="Would You Buy Off the Back of a Truck?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> and published on <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://m.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/consumer-affairs">Consumer Affairs articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Shopping cheap furnishing Discount deals truck sales Tue, 16 Nov 2010 13:00:05 +0000 Darwins Money 297461 at http://m.wisebread.com