“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”
– Helen Keller

Collin County Parents,

Determination!  That’s what my youngest daughter has.  Last Friday, she decided that one of her top teeth was loose (it really wasn’t), then she worked it so much that it was out before she went to bed.  Thankfully the tooth fairy happened to have some cash in my wallet.

Fast forward until Monday, where I was getting ready to take the kids to school in the morning and she strolls into our bedroom with something in her hand.  “Look, Daddy!  I pulled out my tooth!”  Sure enough, she was missing her other top tooth.  Then, one day later, after she was put to bed, she pulled out yet another tooth! This time on the bottom.  Three teeth missing!  I better make sure, uh, I mean the tooth fairy better to make sure we have more cash on hand!

Well, a few weeks ago, I asked whether you were lying to yourself and living above your means.  Just to prove I’m complicated, I’m now going to make a few purchase suggestions if you ARE feeling financially secure.

Read on, and send me your feedback…

Aaron Miller’s
“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy
Nine Things To Consider Purchasing Before This Recession Ends

After months of steep decline, there is finally talk now that we may start seeing a recovery, even as soon as later in 2009.

That could mean that it’s NOW a good time to start considering making some purchases… before all the good deals end!

1. A House
Housing prices finally seem to be bottoming out in most regions. There are also some great buys available due to short sales and foreclosures, which accounted for 40%-45% of purchases in some months this year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Still-low interest rates (under 5% for a 30-year mortgage) and government incentives ($8,000 first-time home buyer’s credit–expires November 30th) aren’t bad either.

2. A Car
With the auto industry suffering, manufacturers are offering huge incentives on their swelling inventories of new cars. Buyers with good credit can get 0% financing on most types of cars and some cash rebates can be upward of $6,000. Don’t rule out a used car either: The 2009 Consumer Price Index shows a 10%+ decrease in used car prices from a year ago.

3. A Vacation
Need a break? Now’s the time to take one. According to Expedia.com research, average hotel prices in many desirable destinations have plummeted. For example, hotel prices in Las Vegas are down 34% from a year ago. Average Caribbean cruise prices have fallen 8% compared with 2008. Several travel agents also bragged about booking week-long Alaskan summer cruises for as low as $1,000 per person, including airfare and taxes.

4. Toys
Parents can breathe a sigh of relief: More affordable toys are on their way for the holidays. According to the Toy Industry Association, Inc., toy manufacturers are responding to the economic climate by developing low-cost toys. One toymaker, Wild Planet, has priced their entire 2009 line under $25. Look for lower-priced toys starting to hit stores later this fall.

5. A Laptop
Paul Ryder, vice president of consumer electronics for Amazon.com, says laptop prices have dropped–thanks to the interest in “netbooks” (much smaller versions of laptops, designed mostly for web-browsing). Although the Consumer Price Index does not break out laptop computers from others, it seems to broadly support this claim, with personal computer prices falling 13% from a year earlier.

6. Diamonds
Don’t wait for the economy to improve before popping the question. Diane Irvine, chief executive officer of leading online diamond retailer bluenile.com, says that the recession has quashed demand for diamonds, creating deals. According to Ken Gassman of the Jewelry Research Institute, prices for polished diamonds are down 14%, on average, from their highs last summer.

7. Women’s Clothing
According to the Consumer Price Index, women’s outerwear, shoes and accessories have all seen lower prices compared with a year ago. Recently, women have begun flocking to “value” retailers, according to Piper Jaffray retail clothing analyst Jeffrey Klinefelter. That means less expensive clothing stores can lower their prices through lower production costs, and more expensive clothing stores will be forced to have more sales and clearance racks.

8. A Television
Each year it seems as though TVs get cheaper and cheaper, but this year those decreases are starting to make larger flat-panel TVs far more affordable. The radio/television category in recent Consumer Price Indices was down 9% from a year ago, as more manufacturers get into the flat-panel business, driving prices down.

9. Furniture
With fewer people buying houses, fewer people are buying new furniture. Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman for Macy’s, says furniture demand across the industry has noticeably decreased over the past year. That’s driven many furniture retailers out of business, according to John Baugh, an analyst who covers the furniture industry at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc. Retailers still in the market have to respond to those liquidation sales with price-cuts and clearance items of their own. Baugh also noted that consumers with good credit can also often obtain very attractive financing.

So…if you’re feeling financially secure, this may be the time to start spending!

To you family’s wealth, health, and happiness!

Aaron “tooth fairy” Miller

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