In a down economy, things are looking up for people who have managed their money well and can afford to buy. There are a lot of good deals to be found.
The down economy is indeed a worrisome time for many. But for those consumers who have managed their money well during the good times — kept credit-card debt low, regularly saved, avoided impulse shopping, minimized dining out and maintained a high credit score — now may be time to reap your rewards.
Because of the drastic slowdown in spending, there are great bargains to be found almost everywhere you look.
• Used luxury cars: I recently drove by a used-car dealer and saw a sleek, black 2005 Lexus SUV advertised for $19,500. The store manager told me that a number of people have had to trade in their luxury vehicles because of the economy. Most of the cars are in very good condition, he said. But remember, if you consider buying a used vehicle be sure to get a Carfax Vehicle History report at www.carfax.com and get one for a nominal fee.
• New car: If you desire a new car, there are plenty of rebates, low APR financing and even some zero-percent interest deals.
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• Stocks: This is an obvious one, of course, with the major sell-off on Wall Street. Many investment experts say now is a good time to buy stocks if you know you have long-term savings plans such as saving for your toddler’s college or if you have 10 to 20 years before retirement.
• Appliances and home-entertainment items: Because of the slowdown in the housing market many stores are offering deep discounts on appliances, flat-panel HDTVs, stereos, cameras, DVDs, camcorders and the like. Some stores are offering interest-free payments for up to three years on certain items. That’s the same as getting a free loan.
• Perks: Check your local spa for discounts and specials on massages, facials and other treatments. Restaurants are also offering deals to lure people out. There may be deals on season tickets to your favorite theater or sports team and on your favorite magazine subscription.
• Yard sales and consignment shops: During tough times, many people host yard sales to get extra cash. Others take suits and nice clothes to consignment shops for resale. Take time to scour some of these sales one Saturday morning and you could find some major deals.
• Other bargains: You can also expect to find deals at flea markets, antique shops, online and live auctions and in the classified ads.