While some consumers may struggle to deal with debt, everyday expenses aren't going to go away. Whether it is necessary food items, clothing or even home repairs, many people need to make purchases when still trying to resurrect or maintain their credit rating.
However, there are many ways to make frugal personal finance purchases throughout the year, and if consumers are careful, they may save a significant amount of money while spending necessary funds. According to a report completed by BMO Harris Bank and the National Retail Foundation, consumers should focus on certain purchases, depending on the season.
The early part of the year may be a good time to spend money on winter clothes. Sales and clearances occur soon after the Christmas holiday, and if a person can wait until then, clothes shopping at this time may be a great idea, the report explained. This also may be a good time for electronics purchases. Due to the Super Bowl, many electronics stores have sizable discounts in late January and early February to encourage consumers to buy, so if something needs to be purchased, this could be a good time to do it.
As the weather begins to warm up in late winter and early spring, this could be a good time to take advantage of clothes for when the weather gets hot in a couple of months, according to the report. Clothing stock typically starts to fill up the stores in March, which may be a good time to purchase them. Later on in the season, they may become more expensive. In April, spring clothing typically becomes its most affordable, so taking advantage of this may be a smart plan.
There are many sales in the summer season as well, which can be a good idea for both clothing, electronics and home furnishings. The report noted that Mother's Day provides many specials, while Father's Day has multiple sales, as well. New appliances begin to hit the shelves during the summer, which means that older models receive significant markdowns in hopes that the stores will be able to make room for the new options.
"With some planning and a little bit of patience, you can find great deals throughout the year," said Mary Brockhaus, senior vice president of BMO Harris Bank. "The money that you save can be used toward other important purchases or to build up a savings reserve for long-term financial goals."
Additionally, autumn is a good time to take advantage of summer-focused appliances, as well as cars, the report noted. This is similar to summer, as retailers need to make room for the next season's items. Examining the many options available may help make this process less expensive.
In late fall and early winter, there are also many options that may be attractive. The release explained that many consumers are typically able to do major home repairs at this time, and carpeting and flooring changes are popular choices. There's also many sales due to pre- and post-holiday sales, which may have significant markdowns.
Consumers still worry about economic progress
While there may be many ways to save at the store, some consumers are still concerned about the current economic issues, as well as what will happen in the coming months.
Consumer sentiment was still slightly improved in December from the same month in 2011, but this was far below the level recorded in November, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. Total consumer sentiment fell to lower than 73 in December, which was nearly 12 percent below the previous month's figure. The level in December 2011 was 69.9.
There also was a significant drop in the Index of Consumer Expectations, as it fell nearly 18 percent from November's level, the report explained. December's figure was close to 64, which was nearly unchanged from the same point last year.
Current conditions also declined, but the drop wasn't as stark as the other figures. The report noted that the level in December was 87, which was more than 4 percent lower than November. Meanwhile, the figure was nearly eight points higher than the same point last year.
This worry may not only be due to the economic recovery issues present in the country, but also potentially because of some consumers on the verge of the need for a credit fix. If this is the case, they may benefit from contacting Lexington Law Firm, which has associates that can help guide consumers to a place where their credit issues are alleviated.