I just came across a cool article on SmartMoney.com titled “The Best Time to Buy Everything” which lists and explains the best times to buy:

  • Airplane Tickets
  • Appliances
  • Baby Clothes
  • Broadway Tickets
  • Cars
  • Champagne
  • Clothing
  • Computers and electronics
  • Gas
  • Gift Cards
  • Groceries
  • Shrubs, Trees and Other Plants
  • Televisions
  • Wedding Dresses
  • Wine

The two that I found most interesting were:

  1. Airplane Tickets

    When to buy: On a Wednesday, 21 days (or a couple of days earlier) before your flight.
    Why: Airlines make major pricing changes (and run fare sales) every week, typically on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings. About 21 days out from your flight, you’ll see plenty of deals out there as airlines scramble to fill seats, says Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com, a consumer travel advice Web site. Don’t wait much longer, she cautions; prices jump significantly from 14 to seven days ahead of departure.

  2. Cars
    When to buy: Weekday mornings in September.
    Why: By September, all the next year’s models have arrived at the lot, and dealers are desperate to get rid of the current year’s leftovers, says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. It’s the prime time of year for incentives and sales, not to mention bargaining. “Any car that’s been on the lot for a long time loses its value in the eyes of the car salesman,” he says.Heading to the dealership on a weekday morning also helps because there’s low foot traffic, meaning you’ll have ample time to negotiate and fewer people trying to buy the same car. The more demand, the less willing a salesman is to go down on price, says Reed. (For more, see our column Summer Car Savings.)

Interesting, eh? I will be buying tickets soon to fly back to Chicago for NIU’s 100th Anniversary Homecoming next month over the weekend of the 21st, so I’ll test out the “21 day” theory mentioned above…

Right now, the cheapest ticket that leaves on Friday (October 20) and comes back on Sunday (October 22) is $435 on United. The cheapest ticket that leaces on Friday and comes back on Monday (October 23) is $285 on American. Quite a big difference between coming back on Sunday or Monday!

21 Days prior to October 20 is September 29, which is a Friday. The Tuesday and Wednesday before is the 26th and 27th, so I’ll keep checking prices until then and see what happens…

Crossing my fingers!