Oh, I love this time of year! — fabulous fall colors, cooler weather, and more ways to save money. Woo Hoo! What could be better?
Let’s talk comfort, Cupcake. Did your tired, old air conditioner leave you sweating and uncomfortable this summer? Did you baby it along, hoping it wouldn’t conk out on the most sweltering day of the year? If it’s an older unit, that sucker probably ran up your electric bill too. Not to worry. Fall’s the time of year to wave “Bye, bye” to your old air conditioner and replace it with a new one. And did I mention that you’ll save money?
Right now people are thinking more about staying warm for the winter, not trying to cool off — which is good news for you, Darlin’. Stores selling air conditioners want to unload them as quick. So, if you need a new air conditioner, now’s the time to get out there and shop for the best deals.
Not sure which one to buy? Check out Best Air Conditioners for $300 or Less.
And while we’re talking about getting ready for winter, autumn is a super time to score a great deal on new tires, windshield wipers, even oil changes. Our local auto repair shop runs special deals at this time of year and I’ll bet yours does too. Watch for ’em. And if you haven’t seen a “special” advertised yet, don’t be shy. Ask when they plan to offer one!
Here’s even more ways to save this month:
• Jeans – Now’s a great time to score a bargain. The “new” styles are coming in, just in time for the big Christmas shopping season, so the “old” styles are on clearance. (We’re talking about saving money here so don’t go all Fashionista Diva on me now. I’m pretty sure the planet won’t stop spinning on its’ axis if you wear new “old” style jeans instead of new “new” jeans.) Major brand names often offer some sweet coupon deals to entice you to buy right now. After all, they want to open up shelf space in time for the holiday season so don’t forget to check online for discount coupons.
• Toys – Unless your little cherub has her heart set on some special play thing (introduced just in time to create a holiday spending frenzy), you can save some big bucks on toys and games right now. Remember, it’s all about shelf space and merchants need room for “the new toys your child can’t live without.” Trust me, they can live without ’em! But if you feel an overwhelming, uncontrollable need to buy those “must haves,” keep in mind that prices will drop right before Christmas.
There are plenty of great deals available this month on toys your kids will love, so take advantage of the sales. Sure, you can wait until Black Friday and maybe save a little bit more, but you’ll fight the crowds and could still come up empty.
And October is a fabulous time to put stuff on layaway. In this tight economy, plenty of retailers are wising up and bringing back those good old layaway programs so popular years ago. They want to make it easy for you to buy, buy, buy. Use those layaway programs — but know your spending limit and don’t get carried away, Cupcake.
• Camping equipment – Cold weather’s on its way as I’m sure you’ve noticed. The idea of spending the night outdoors in a tent — well, it’s not so appealing when the temperature dips below freezing, is it? Unless you’re one of those rugged, hardy souls who thinks sleeping in the snow is downright invigorating. If so, please overlook my wimpy need for warmth and comfort . . .
Anyway, the ski season stuff is coming in and the camping equipment needs to go. If you’re in the market for a tent, sleeping bags, outdoor equipment or accessories — start your “shopping engines” now! Once you’ve got some gear, you can start planning outdoor camping adventures with your family. Lots of fun and you’ll save money on next year’s vacation to boot. Now, that’s what I call thinkin’ like a Frugalista!
- Op-Ed Contributor: Wal-Mart’s Layaway Plan (nytimes.com)