Monthly Archives: October 2014

What are the Best Days to Travel and Best Days to Book Travel?

Best Times to Travel and Purchase Travel

The holidays are upon us and many of us are about to book flights to visit with friends and family over the next couple of months.  So let’s try to save a little money in the process, shall we?

What are the best days to travel?

The cheapest days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Fridays and Sundays are very popular days to fly and as a result, are usually the most expensive.

What is the best day to book travel?

A study from the Wall Street Journal showed that Sunday is the cheapest day to book airline travel, with Saturday being a close second.  It used to be said that Tuesday and Wednesday were the best times to book a flight.  But now with social media, airlines can advertise travel deals anytime during the week and access their customers.

Holiday Deadline

Buying your flight between 104 and 29 days before you plan to travel are the best and cheapest times, with 54 days before your trip being the sweet spot.  However, each flight is different.  So what if you book too early and the price drops afterwards?  Check out Yapta, which will track your flight after you’ve purchased it, and if it drops, they’ll notify you.  If you booked your ticket with Southwest, Alaska Airlines or Jet Blue, they will refund or credit you the difference.  The other airlines like to charge fees to do this.  But if the change in flight price is more than the fee charged, well then Happy Holidays to you my friend!

 

Photo Credit: Jackie Curry

 

Market Analysts: Bear in Mind There is a Lot of Bull Out There

bear market or bull market

When the bull market has been riding high for a while like the one we’ve been experiencing, analysts love to answer the one big question everyone wants to know….”How long will it last?”.  Wednesday October 15th, was an interesting day on Wall Street, and by interesting I mean stressful.  We saw the Dow take a huge 460 point dip on economic and Ebola fears, only to rally by the end of the day and be down 173 points.  Since then the market has been steadier, but many were left wondering what could be next.

October is usually seen as a declining month for equities, so this volatility isn’t surprising too many seasoned investors.  But the analysts are having a field day pontificating whether this bull market will end soon.  So will it?  After a quick internet search, I found articles with every answer imaginable.  I guess it just depends on what you want to hear.  I found two extremely contradictory articles from the same website: CNBC.  One article says the latest market rally is a “Peter Pan rally”.  “As long as you close your eyes and believe, you’ll be able to fly.  As soon as you stop believing and doubt creeps in, everything falls apart”.  So that article says now is the time to sell.  Another article on CNBC, says to prepare for more market gains.  It says “in short, not even October jitters are enough to prevent the historically strong months of November and December from turning positive performances”.  This article is saying you should stay put or even buy.

So what do we do with all this conflicting information?  We buy and hold, like I’ve said in previous posts.  Because, while they all try with their fancy analytics and formulas, no market analyst can predict the market’s future.

Finally, just for a chuckle, this article says you can predict the rest of the year’s economic future by how many dogs you see in Halloween costumes this year.  Jeff Macke, an analyst for Yahoo Finance, says that “There are no items on the planet earth as discretionary as a dog’s Halloween costume”.  So there you have it folks, the participation level at your local Halloween puppy parade is now the financial equivalent of Punxsutanwey Phil seeing his shadow.

 

Photo Credit: James Manners

Who Offers the Best Phone Plans?

Phone

This is a tough post to write because everyone has specific needs when it comes to their phone and their plan.  What kind of phone do you want or already have? Do you want a single or family plan?  Do you need a lot of data, minutes, etc?  Regardless of your needs, it seems that the huge array of phone providers and plans can still be placed into two categories: those that offer a discounted phone by signing a contract, or the no-contract variety where you pay for the phone up front or bring your own to the plan (BYOP).   But the important thing is that there are some amazing deals out there right now, and every month it seems that all the providers are getting more competitive with their offers.  Good news for you if you’re looking for a new plan!

Discounted Phone Plans

These are usually 2 year contract plans where you can get a new smartphone at a big discount.  They’re offered by the Big Four providers (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile).  Honestly, the deals offered by the Big Four (and the catches to those deals with their contract), make my head spin.  It was hard to list which one was “the best” deal and like I said before, it really depends on what you need.   Wirefly.com and Whistleout.com  are two great websites that let you select what you need and then compare plans and prices.

BYOP No Contract Plans

These “no contract” plans on the other hand are much more straight-forward.  There are three plans right now that are very competitive if you want to bring your own phone and not sign into a contract.  Each plan is month to month.

  • Straight Talk – Straight Talk charges $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data.  Straight Talk uses all of the Big Four’s networks depending on what part of the country you’re in.
  • Boost Mobile – For $35 on Boost, you can get unlimited talk and text with 1GB of data.  For $45, you can get all of that and 5GBs of data.  Boost uses Sprint coverage for its plans.
  • Virgin Mobile – If you use your smart phone for texting and emailing, need a lot of data but maybe not so many minutes, Virgin’s plans could be for you.  Virgin uses Sprint like Boost does.  They offer a plan for $35 that is unlimited text and data, and 300 minutes.  If you think you only need to use your phone when there is wi-fi available, $20 gets you 300 minutes and unlimited text and wi-fi access.  $45 with Virgin gets you unlimited talk, text and data plus 100 International Minutes.

If you’re trying to decide between going with or without a contract, its best to do some math to see if the monthly price you’ll pay over the life of the contract plus the price of the discounted phone is cheaper than a no contract plan and phone for the same period of time (24 months).