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Entries in Purchase (7)

Thursday
Jun282012

Why a New Car May Now Cost You Less

Steve Gorton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Prices for new cars are down $500 year over year according to automotive pricing guide Kelley Blue Book, with some cars seeing larger drops than others.

Japanese car models saw the biggest year-over-year declines, especially those that were previously impacted by severe inventory shortages after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The average Honda model is selling for nearly $1,200 less than the price last year, according to Alec Gutierrez, Kelley Blue Book’s senior market analyst of automotive insights.

Subaru, Mazda and Toyota cars are about $700 to $800 less than last year.

“Compare this to the average year-over-year declines of less than $500 for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, and it’s no wonder the Japanese automakers have been able to considerably increase market share this year,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

Some specific models saw even deeper discounts.

The 2012 Honda Accord and 2012 Nissan Sentra are down almost $1,500, with an average price of $20,350 and $16,000, respectively.

The 2012 Toyota Prius is down $2,500 from last year, with an average price this year of $22,650, though it is still selling at 95 percent of its original manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).   At this time last year, the Prius was selling at almost 10 percent more than the MSRP because of high fuel prices and “nonexistent inventory,” according to Kelley Blue Book.

The picture is much different now with more inventory from Japanese carmakers and lower gas prices.  The national gas price average for regular gas is $3.44, down nearly 10 cents from a week ago, the Department of Energy reported on Monday.  This week’s price is down nearly 14 cents from a year ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul082011

Top Eight Best Buys in July

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Entering a cool, air-conditioned store is a good way to escape July's heat. On top of that, July happens to be a good month for finding hot bargains.

With back-to-school spending right around the corner, ABC News talked with Allison Kade and Maria Lin of LearnVest.com, a personal finance website geared toward women, about what to buy in July to save money.

Here is a list of items the staff created that offer the best deals in July for frugal shoppers:

1. Furniture: "There is new inventory in July because they're clearing out furniture for the fall," says Kade, a deputy editor at LearnVest.  Outdoor furniture may have some of the steepest discounts in the seventh month of the year as retailers begin "making room for the fall inventory in the showrooms."

2. Big Appliances: Items like microwaves and refrigerators may see price trimming after the July 4 holiday weekend.  For consumers hoping to renovate a home or replace dated household items, July is a good time to begin shopping.

3. Suits: "Suits tend to be good -- especially spring suits," says Kade.  Since the inventory is on its way out, "if you're willing to store it nicely in your closet" until the right season rolls around, you can find a good buy.

4. Paint: "Paint is a pretty good buy at this time of the year," Kade says.  "It's pretty hot outside so no one feels like painting."  The lack of interest in staying home and painting a room in record heat is why many may save money on this product.

5. Butter: "It seems that butter production is at its best in June and July, so for that reason there's more of it," says Kade.  The excess amount makes it a steal in July.  "It might make sense to buy a significant amount to store for later," she adds.

6. Mattresses: "Mattresses tend to go on sale around big holiday weekends," says Lin, editor-in-chief of LearnVest.  The comfy item did not make the online list because of year-round deals, but mattresses are still a good buy in July.  Lin recommends haggling with dealers throughout the year.  Since the mark-up on mattresses varies, "you can negotiate and should not accept the ticket price."

7. Older Computer Models: Newer models of computers tend to surface in the fall, allowing tech stores to offer great deals on older models.  "If you're buying a regular model, then July is not a good time to buy because new models come out in fall," says Kade.

8. Swimwear: "As the summer progresses, [swimwear] will get increasingly cheap," Kade says.  "The same holds true for August.  If you store it for next season, then it can be a good buy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

How Often Do You Have to Replace Pricey Products?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As consumers well know, products from computers to cars to medications and foods often come with instructions on how long they should be kept before being replaced.

But, more often than not, the people making the replacement recommendations are the same people who profit from the products.  So are these guidelines really true?

ABC's Good Morning America set out to investigate the most common replacement recommendations, from getting the oil changed in your car every 3,000 miles to replacing your running shoes every three months.

With the help of independent experts, here are the top six replacement myths on the market today.

Replacement Myth #1: You Should Purchase New Running Shoes Every Six Months

GMA tested running shoes at a lab and found that after 500 miles one pair had minimal damage and another pair showed no wear at all.  Those results were no surprise to the testing experts at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute in New York City.

"What really matters when you're thinking about your running shoes is how many miles are on them," said Stacy Genovese, director of Consumer Electronics and Engineering at the Institute.  "So if you're an avid runner, running 25 miles a week, you need to replace them more quickly than someone who's just a casual runner who's running five miles a week."

Replacement Myth #2: Expired Foods Will Make You Sick

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the dates stamped on processed foods packages have to do with quality, not safety.  Other than meat, foods past their expiration date are not dangerous, the FDA says.  They just may not be as nutritious or flavorful.

Replacement Myth #3: You Must Get Your Car's Oil Changed Every 3,000 Miles


GMA called 10 auto-repair shops and asked how often we should change the oil in a 2004 Honda Pilot SUV.

The two Honda dealerships that were contacted, along with one other shop, said the oil should be changed every 4,000 to 5,000 miles.  The remaining seven shops said to change the oil every 3,000 miles.  But they were all wrong.

Honda's own owners' manual for the 2004 Pilot instructs owners to change the oil on the vehicle just every 7,500 miles.

Replacement Myth #4: Expired Drugs Could Endanger Your Health

When it comes to prescription drugs, those written expressly for you by your doctor, the expiration dates should be closely watched, and followed.  The medications you purchase over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, however, are another story.

"If they're pills, things like pain relievers and analgesic medicines, they're going to be good for several years after they expire," ABC's chief medical expert Dr. Richard Besser told GMA.

"One thing to keep your medicines lasting longer is to take them out of the bathroom," said Dr. Besser.  "Hot, steamy air will cause your medicine to break down sooner."

Replacement Myth #5: Your Computer Becomes Obsolete as Soon as You Buy It

GMA quickly learned this myth is a giant whopper.

"As long as the computer's not really running slowly, there's no reason to upgrade," Genovese said.

In fact, as long as your computer has at least one gigabyte of RAM, and if you are just using your PC for things like checking email and shopping online, there is no need to replace it with another.

Replacement Myth #6: You Have to Replace the Ink Cartridge When Your Printer Says So

Not so.  In fact, you can keep printing well past the moment the warning lights on your printer start blinking.

Tests conducted by PC World magazine found that some ink cartridges are, in fact, still 40 percent full when the indicator says they are empty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun222011

Rent-To-Own Deals May Turn Out to Be Very Costly

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Many consumers who don't have enough cash to buy household furnishings or expensive electronic devices turn to stores like Rent-a-Center and Aaron's, where they can rent the furniture and entertainment systems they want.

In time, renters can opt to buy the pieces they were loaned by continuing to make scheduled payments.  But, as Consumer Reports warns, that might not be a smart option.

"We found that you could easily pay what's effectively a 100 to a 300 percent interest rate," Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports says.

Take a $600 laptop, for instance.  At a rent-to-own store, shoppers can have the device for just $39 dollars a week.  After about a year, they'd be able to own it but they would've spent $1,900 to make the laptop theirs.

"You could've bought three computers for that," Walker says.

She says using a high interest rate credit card "would still be a better deal than most of these rent-to-own deals."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May192011

Apple, Top Retailers Usher in New Era of Mobile Check-Outs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Shoppers dread long checkout lines -- and so do retailers, so they are increasingly turning to tricked-out, high-tech devices that bust lines and save time.

Apple led the way with its specialty credit card-reading iPod Touches that enable payment anywhere in a store, and retail experts say that's only the beginning.  Apple might soon one-up itself with new "wave-to-pay" Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and industry watchers say big box retailers are preparing to usher in a new era of shopping that puts mobile technology at the center of a shopper's experience.

"One of the biggest challenges that traditional retail has is the fact that very little has changed inside the store compared to the dramatic changes that retail has seen on an online experience," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, a New York research firm.  "The store has to change the experience."

While those changes may come in different forms -- from devices that enable mobile checkouts to programs that roll credit cards, loyalty points, and coupons into your cellphone -- Cohen said they'll start to emerge as experimental, progressive initiatives in the next year and graduate to an everyday self-checkout-like alternative in the next year-and-a-half to two years.

In the buildup to the 10-year anniversary of Apple's first retail store Thursday, tech blogs speculated that the company might unveil a new NFC payment system in its nationwide stores.

Citing "multiple Apple sources," the tech blog Boy Genius Report said that, ahead of its big anniversary, the company required store employees to spend "overnights" in its retail locations, making all kinds of secret preparations, including installing tables with different wiring.

The blog said one possibility is NFC-enabled devices that can beam and receive information within a distance of up to four inches.  Instead of swiping plastic to pay, customers could just wave an NFC-equipped phone near a compatible reader and the purchase amount would be deducted instantaneously.

While NFC-enabled Apple tables would need NFC-enabled iPhones and other i-devices to work, rumors earlier this year suggested a next-generation iPhone would come equipped with the technology.  At the time, Apple declined to comment on those rumors and the company did not respond to a request for comment for this latest rumor.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr212011

Cheap Prices Help Spike Home Sales; Mortgage Rates to Rise

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After taking a beating, the housing market got a boost Wednesday when the latest report on existing home sales found that purchases for six out of the past eight months went up.

Relatively cheap prices are partially behind the upswing.

"Prices are at the highest affordability level that we've seen in the past decade," says Ken Shuman with Trulia.com, a homes sales wesbite.

Mortgage rates are also still very low but that soon may change, according to Shuman.

"As inflation begins to rise we'll see mortgage rates rise with that," he says.

"I think we'll see interest rates not only rise in the next two to three months but we'll see interest rates rise throughout the entire year actually," Shuman adds.

Despite the positive trend, home sales are still at depressed levels compared to a few years ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Top 10 Cities to Buy a Home in 2011

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Home values have fallen 26 percent since the market's peak in 2006 -- and as much as 50 percent in some areas.  But if you have good credit and plan to buy a home and live there for at least five years, it can be a great time to bag a real estate bargain.

ABC News partnered with real estate website Zillow.com to figure out the best places to buy in 2011.  Zillow looked at four regional factors to determine the top choices -- affordability based on median home costs, unemployment rates, foreclosure rates and price increases in home values.

Here are the top 10 best places to buy in 2011 after analyzing those four factors:

1. Utica, New York
2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3. Rochester, New York
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
5. Tulsa, Oklahoma
6. Albany, New York
7. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
8. Madison, Wisconsin
9. Green Bay, Wisconsin
10. Lincoln, Nebraska´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio