Save Money While Working at Home
When you work at home, every rand counts and you must consider every purchase carefully. This is equally true whether you are an accountant doing books, a busy housewife or a mechanic servicing motor cars. Eventually something is going to break down or need replacing. In this article, we consider the wisest time to make purchases. I will start with the accountant first.
Computer and Electronic Equipment
Accountants live with their computers and go to bits when they hang up. Sometimes I think they take them to bed with them to keep them warm. As their businesses grow, they need more processing capacity, and eventuality a standalone backup too. The problem is that prices keep on going up. But, do they?
Software giants like Microsoft control the computer and related markets. Being Americans, they release their annual updates in January every year. Perhaps that is because it is cold and the Americans are feeling bored then. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the price cycle this practice causes.
Around September every year South African computer retailers start clearing shelves, to release cash to buy their January stock. They also need to make room in their storerooms. That’s when they start with their special offers, although it is not yet time to buy. Smart people wait until March when everybody is infatuated with the new models and nobody wants last year’s colours. That is when you climb in with a cash offer. Try it and see. Let’s move on to Mother.
Just when we get comfortable with our clothes, they start wearing out and getting holes in them. It is ten times worse with the kids because they grow out of them. This money-saving suggestion is on the basis that there are two different kinds of clothes. These are:
- Fashion statements that are always expensive
- Basic designs that are popular at different times of the year
Before going into detail, we need to consider the following graph. Considering the red line first, we can see that price goes down as demand decreases. This makes sense when you think about it. If nobody wants the apples in your orchard, you are going to sell them cheaply. Of course, the exact opposite applies if people are queuing up outside your gate.
Graph by Dallas.Epperson
You could manipulate the situation if you wanted to, by controlling your supply line. For example, you could freeze some apples and sell them in the winter. Economists suggest that goods will price at the point that the demand and supply lines meet. And that, in a nutshell, is what big stores like Edgars try to do. Their only problem is the weather. Overcoats go out of fashion in the summer the same way swimsuits do in wintertime. If you ever wondered why there are no shorts in Woolworths after Christmas, it’s because they are trying to get winter shopping going. The great news is that they do not always get it right.
This is why you see those end-of-line sales when the seasons change. By now, the clothes shops are getting so desperate to shift their stocks that their prices hit rock bottom. If you can afford to buy a winter overcoat in the spring and store it, you will find you saved 50% on next winter’s prices.
Servicing motorcars is semi-discretionary. That is, we can put it off for a while until we can afford it. Few people buy new cars at Christmas because they spent all their money on gifts, decorations and sumptuous meals. They are also less likely to buy car accessories for similar reasons. If you are a home motor-mechanic specialising in Corollas, this is a great time to stock on basics like air filters. Out of interest, the exact same thing happens to furniture prices in January.
These tips are not just limited to accountants doing books, busy housewives, and mechanics servicing motor cars. Every consumer market cycles the same way each year. Once you understand the principle, you can go out and pick the cherries when the prices are right down. And that’s how to save money while working at home.