The holidays are an interesting time of year for commerce. While industries like retail and travel typically see a spike in sales, others experience a considerable slowdown. For savvy consumers, the latter of these two extremes presents a unique opportunity to save money and get a jump on the coming year. Here are five ways you can take advantage of the holiday slowdown:
1. Take care of a landscape construction project.
Following the busy summer and fall seasons, business often tapers off for exterior service providers like fence, deck and paver contractors. This isn’t surprising—most homeowners are focused on holiday-related concerns, and when they do hire a contractor, it’s usually for services related to the season, such as home heating. As a result, you can often benefit from lower prices and wider availability when you hire an exterior contractor during the holidays. Additionally, since services like fence replacement and deck construction take place outside of the home, they won’t interfere with your holiday decorating or event preparations.
2. Find your dream home.
One strategy few prospective homebuyers think of is viewing sale properties during the holidays. Since most people are either busy or out of town during this time of year, it’s a slow time for real estate agents and brokers, with less competition in the market. As a result, homes often sell for modest prices in winter compared to other times of year. So, if you’re serious about buying a home and want to avoid a bidding war, consider putting off your travel plans and doing some house shopping over the holidays.
3. Upgrade your swimming pool.
The last thing on anyone’s mind during the holidays is swimming, which is why things routinely slow down for pool contractors and service companies during this time of year. This makes it a great time for swimming pool owners to implement upgrades that will increase performance and lower operating costs. For example, upgrading to a variable-speed pool pump or adding solar panels can substantially reduce the cost of heating and filtration.
4. Buy a new car.
Auto sales is another industry that tends to dip dramatically once the holiday season starts. As a result, car shoppers can often find attractive discounts and incentives during the month of December. Not only are dealerships looking to fulfill their end-of-year quotas, they need to make room on the sales floor for the coming year’s models. This means there are big savings to be had on previous year’s models. And, just as with buying real estate, you stand to benefit from a nice year-end tax deduction.
5. Plan ahead for spring projects.
Even if you don’t have time, money or energy for anything beyond holiday-related pursuits, there are still ways you can take advantage of the slowdown. For example, it’s an ideal time to get the ball rolling on any projects you’re anticipating in the new year, whether a home remodeling project or a new swimming pool. With most homeowners deferring their project plans until after the holidays, you can get ahead of the curve by contacting a contractor now.