Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Bailout for Good Behavior - Great Bargains

I've noticed that a benefit of the current recession is there are lots of great bargains available for those that have the funds. Here are some of the bargains that I've read about or experienced myself:
  • $500k homes now selling for $200,000 at describes how one couple was able to buy a home in California for $250,000, which sold for $550,000 two years ago. The real estate collapse has allowed them to own a home they previously couldn't afford, at a reasonable price.

    Although we are not looking for a house, I have taken the opportunity to contest this year's assessment of our property by the county auditor, which hopefully will help lower our annual property tax.

  • Restaurant deals. In our area, restaurants seem to still be doing well, based on my observation of parking lots on weekends. Recently, we were unable to get a reservation on a Saturday night a restaurant by my in-laws. However, many casual to upscale restaurants still seem to be offering great deals, including set price menus, buy one get one free, $10 gift certificates with no minimum purchase. One of my favorite restaurants just sent me a gift certificate for $50, with a two entree minimum.

  • Hotel deals. A nearby casino, in another state, sent me a promotion offering a free weekday overnight stay with complementary dinner include. My spouse and I decided to try their offer, especially since there are a couple attractions in the area we can visit. Also, I get to test my understanding statistics and probabilities theory on the craps table:-)

    There are also probably a lot of other travel discounts offered nowadays. However, I haven't personally looked into this specific area.

  • Mortgage rates. In our area, I've seen 15 year fixed rates as low as 4.60% and 30 year fixed rates as low as 4.90%. I am predicting that 30 year mortgage rates will fall below 4.5%. Since our current mortgage is a 30 year fixed at 5.375%, I'm waiting for 30 year fixed rates to be 4.5% or less before refinancing.

  • Promotional interest rates. The local banks are offering promotional interest rates to attract funds. I was able to get 3.50% interest for six months at my bank. We promptly moved all our cash funds to our savings account. When the promotion expired, I inquired on the availability of alternative interest rate options. The branch decided to give us a special 1.75% interest rate for another three months.
  • Except for buying another home, we are taking advantage of bargains when we can. For now, we using no more money than we spent in the past. However, the bargains either enable us to spend less for the same activity or do more activities with the same money.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday Thursday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    pfstock said...

    Is it fair to say that you are no longer getting the 3.50% interest rate? That would be a pretty good deal today. A 1.75% rate is not that special, but much better than average.

    Super Saver said...


    Yes, the 3.50% rate ended yesterday :-( It was great while it lasted. I agree that 1.75% is good but nothing special. However, it's good enough to keep me there while I wait for interest rates to (hopefully) rise again.