Market timing is a controversial issue where it concerns stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETF’s. Some people do it successfully (such as Warren Buffet and Ben Stein) and others find themselves constantly chasing returns and losing money. Market timing can be a highly profitable activity if you know what you’re doing. In this case, no, I’m not talking about timing the investment markets, I’m talking about other markets, like the grocery market, the automobile market, the clothing market. Timing these is easy! Here’s how I do it:
Other than the fact that my wife is participating in the Grocery Game (very successfully I might add) there are other ways to time the grocery markets than through coupon arbitrage. With vegetables, only buy when in season. This means that, although fresh strawberries are available in February, buying them is the equivalent of chasing returns. You won’t get the best deal. Buy them in June, July and August and buy in bulk so that you can freeze some for your strawberry shortcake in January.
The best way to determine when a fruit or vegetable is in season is to have your own little garden. Most seed packets have information regarding optimal planting times as well as days until harvest printed on the back. You can easily figure out when a fruit or vegetable will be in season. I recommend
If you’re a meat lover, like me, get to know your butcher or someone who works in the meat market. Friendliness will benefit you in the long run anyway so be friendly and ask when meat is put on sale. I know of at least one grocery store that puts their ground beef on sale early on Friday mornings. The store cuts the price in half. Now THAT’S market timing that everyone can love.
New vehicles come out around July through September and flood the car dealer’s lot. If you’re dead set on buying new, try to wait until the new models have been on the lot a couple of months. If you can wait until the next year, many dealers are highly eager to move the older models. By knowing how to negotiate, you can time this market even better.
I would recommend you buy a “gently used” car, but you can time this market as well. If you’re buying from a dealer, remember that many people love to buy those new cars I mentioned and they regularly trade in their older models, again, flooding the used car lot this time. Time this market and get a great deal on a used car.
You can time the automobile market a third way by buying the old stock from car rental companies. If you find out when they put their cars on sale, then wait at least another 4 to 6 weeks, you can get a great deal on a vehicle that has been well cared for and properly maintained.
One of my personal favorite places to shop is Academy Sports and Outdoors. Right now I time the winter clothing market. Winter clothing? You got it, they will put their long sleeve (and very thick) shirts on sale for up to 75% off. I wait until August to buy summer clothing at 75% off. Who wouldn’t get behind timing markets like this?
By timing the travel market, you can get incredible deals. Traveling during the off peak seasons can get you airline tickets and hotel stays that are far below market rates. You don’t have to go to the exotic places either. Other domestic destinations are very inexpensive as well.
So, the next time someone says something negative about market timing, just say, “It all depends on the market, my friend. It all depends on the market.”