When the League of Power first asked me to share my money saving philosophy with their members my first question was, what IS my philosophy?
For most of my life I have been characterized as frugal and very adept at finding ways to save money, but are personality traits like these a philosophy? I had never put my philosophy into words before.
It wasn’t until I read a book called Buy Ketchup In May And Fly At Noon by Mark Di Vincenzo that I was able to put my philosophy into words.
Save a lot of money on a few things rather than a little bit of money on a bunch of things. I’ve said all along that to SAVE the most money REDUCE the areas where you spend the most. For just about everyone the areas that permit the biggest cuts are the home, autos, healthcare and vacation.
Part of saving money is getting the biggest bang for your buck. You want to be able to enjoy what you get for your money. It makes no sense to save money buying something you won’t enjoy it to its fullest extent when using it!
In this great book Mark Di Vincenzo did such a great job at breaking down his time and money saving tips into each of those four areas. He included a full chapter on each. I like Mark because he is up front that he is not a promotional writer, he is journalist, a former newspaper writer. He does not include his opinions in this book, just cold, hard facts.
When it comes to saving money, the facts are the only thing I pay attention to.
Below are some of my personal favorite time and money saving tips.
For the home…
Many of you know that I am NOT a fan of warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. A few months ago I wrote an article detailing the best way to save money on groceries. In the article I mentioned that wholesale clubs like these actually cause consumers to buy and spend more than they would at a traditional grocery store. Customers that shop at these clubs believe every item is priced lower than similar items found at grocery stores.
Mark Di Vincenzo recommends stocking up on items from warehouse clubs in the days before your membership expires. This allows you to not have to go back to the store for months at a time, all the while saving yourself the membership fee.
Replacing old appliances with new ones is a tip a lot of realtor’s give homeowners to help them sell their house for top dollar. If you wait until your realtor suggests this though, you don’t have time to watch out for deals and advertisements. Plus the cheapest time of year to buy appliances varies by appliance. The best month to buy a new refrigerator is in May or June. New models arrive in the summer and stores will discount existing models to make room for the new inventory.
If you are in the market for a new stove or dishwasher hold out until September or October when new inventory comes in. Mark points out though that you may be able to score a good deal around the Fourth of July too when cooking appliances sales are at their peak.
For the car…
I grew up in a family employed by auto-makers and they always taught me to buy a new car from a dealership at the end of the year, in December, because dealerships are desperately trying to move inventory to make room for next years models. You can usually negotiate the best deal during that month.
Mark has taken my advice and gone one step further. He has pinpointed the best day of the week, all the way down to the best hour!
Car salesmen note that Tuesday or Wednesday are the slowest days of the week for them. Shopping on these days gets buyers more attention and support from sales staff. What does all that extra attention get you? A lower negotiated price!
The fewer the customers, the harder it is for salesmen to meet their quotas and therefore more willing to lower the price on vehicles. To ensure you are one of only a few customers on the lot shop in the early morning, right after the dealership opens.
Want to know how to find cheap gas for your car? Fill up first thing in the morning on Wednesdays. Gas stations usually change their prices between ten in the morning and noon, after employees have been advised by their managers or owners. Now this could mean they will LOWER their prices too, but if you pay attention to the news you can get a good sense of where gas prices are headed that week.
Why fill up the gas tank on a Wednesday? Statistically it’s the cheapest day of the week at a gas station. Mark points out that’s not always true, but prices almost always end up higher at the end of the week than in the middle.
For your health…
I’ve written multiple issues covering this topic. I detailed the most effective ways to cut your healthcare and insurance costs. Time is money too and if you can cut down the time you spend at doctor’s visits, buying prescriptions and getting tests run then you increase the time you can spend creating wealth for yourself.
To make the most of your time the author suggests you schedule your doctor’s appointments and fill your prescriptions in the morning. Mark has found that there is a natural break in foot traffic at pharmacies between the hours of 10 a.m. to noon, allowing you to get in and out faster.
As for visits to the doctor, schedule them as early as you can. Be the first patient of the day if possible, that way you won’t have to sit in the waiting room longer than expected because other patients have caused the doctor to get behind schedule.
A lot of people don’t get tested for health related problems until they are certain there is an issue. It’s usually too late by then to save money. You can save yourself thousands of dollars by getting tested for things like cholesterol when you are a child. Most doctors don’t insist patients get tested for high cholesterol until they reach their 40’s or 50’s. By that time patients may have allowed plague to build up in their arteries for years.
Studies have shown that the build up of plague in arteries often begins early in life. By addressing high cholesterol levels early in children, it is thought that this could prevent a lot of complications and healthcare related costs in adulthood. According to Mark’s research the earliest ages to test for this is between ages two and ten.
For your relaxation…
Summer is the traditional time of year to take a break from work and recharge our batteries on a vacation. More people vacation between May and September than any other time of year. Work loads are usually lighter permitting a greater percentage of people a leave of absence from work to unwind at their favorite destination.
For a lot of people their favorite destinations include warm weather and ocean breezes. Traditionally this is also peak season for warm weather destinations which means more crowds and higher prices. If you can get away in May check out Puerto Rico or Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico drops their hotel prices during this typically slow month to attract visitors. It’s also one of the best month’s weather wise in this country. Temperatures range from 80 to 86 degrees.
Visit Cancun, Mexico in May and you’ll be hitting their “sweet spot”. Spring breakers will have just left and hotels will be gearing up for the busy summer season. You’ll avoid crowds and save money since it is technically their off season.
Some warm weather spots peak seasons are during the winter months. January and February are traditionally the coldest months of the entire year so it makes sense to want to take a jaunt down south during those times. People want to escape the winter doldrums and snow for a warmer climate. But you won’t be saving any money if you visit year round hot spots like the Florida Keys or Caribbean islands.
One island you can still manage to pay less at during the winter is Jamaica. Most families visit the island around Christmas and check out just after the New Years day. If you wait until after New Years you can score some great hotel deals when there is a natural lull in the amount of visitors. Just be sure to visit before President’s Day in February when the busy season picks up again.
Mark points out the best destinations for every season in his book. No matter what season you want to travel in Mark has the answers on the best and still cheap places to visit.
Mark’s book is the best guide I’ve found to buy this, do that and go there. And chances are if you live somewhere, drive anywhere, get sick occasionally, or visit other places you’ll find his advice very useful and totally worth the small price of the book.
And just so you know I’m not getting a kick back from Mark or his publishers to praise his book. I am a genuinely impressed reader who couldn’t contain the money and time saving tips I learned while reading his book.
There is so much more I could include in this letter. He has so many off the wall answers to questions I never even knew I wanted. Some of my other favorite questions Mark answers in the book are…
The best time of day to make love. Oh la la.
The best time of day to ask for a raise.
The best time of year to get a tattoo.
The best time to drop a bombshell at work.
The best day of the week to get a vasectomy. Is there every really a good time to do this?