I really have a hard time spending money on stuff that is not on sale.
Just last week I went to the grocery store looking for some cookies. I had two other items on my list, but it was the cookies that got me out of the hotel room. I had my heart set on the ones that are kind of like the Girl Scout cookies; the ones covered with chocolate, coconut, and caramel. I walked into the store just as excited as a kid in a candy store could be. I skipped down the cookie aisle and then I spot them. “Yay” I exclaimed in my head! "Wait a minute. Does the price say $4.59?” It did and I was instantly disappointed. I normally purchase two at that price. “Why do they want so much for a few cookies? Do they know what they’re doing to me by jacking up the price of the unhealthy cookies?” So many questions flooded my mind, but the most important one was, “Do I want to pay $4.59 for one pack of cookies”. I stood in the cookie aisle and had a full conversation with myself. In the end, I decided to leave the cookies on the shelf. Although the cookies were only $4.59, I didn’t see value in spending that amount for them.
Rewind to two weeks ago, my girlfriend spotted my new blazer and wanted to add one to her fabulous wardrobe. She inquired about where I purchased it and the cost. I shared the name of the store and let her know that I had purchased it online for $40. She was pleased that it was a store with a local presence and she was familiar with the quality of the brand. We decided to go to the mall so she could pick one up.
As a side note, I do most of my shopping online because I am typically able to find coupons to save some cash and although I like to shop, I really don’t like carrying bags around.
Well, we made it to the mall and found the store. One of the Sales Assistants spotted my blazer when we walked in and said, “I know where you got your blazer; I have one just like it”. We made small talk, I told her she has great style and began my sight seeing excursion. I perused the store, not needing or wanting anything, just looking. My girlfriend and I went our separate ways as she searched for the blazer and I checked out the latest styles in the store. We eventually linked up and she still hadn’t found the blazer. I saw the lady that initially greeted us and asked if the blazer was still in stock and where they were located. She went to the back and before she could return, my girlfriend found the blazer.
She took it down from its original home and looked at the detail in the garment. She took the price tag in hand and looked at me. I was distracted by a 25% discount sign just above the blazer’s original hanging spot. I wondered if it was now priced lower than what I paid online. Completely aloof and lost in my thoughts, I didn’t notice that my girlfriend was peering at me with a look of confusion. Before I could say anything, she said, “Gaby, why does this say $135”. I looked at her and said, “well, it looks like there’s an additional 25% off”. She gave me another look and said, “I almost hit you with a ___”. She looked at the Sales Assistant who had just turned the corner and said, “I was lured here under false pretenses” and we exited the store. We were empty handed, but chuckled for days later.
Within a matter of weeks, the item that was marked down to $40 jumped to $135. The original price of the blazer was $180. They are great quality and last for years, but that price point is more than I am willing to pay for a garment of clothing. When I notice they are having a sale, I proceeded quickly to identify what I wanted and ended up buying 5 blazers that day. If you’re asking yourself how does this relate to the stock market, I’m getting there.
Did you know that the stock markets go on sale too? Over the past few months, they have been on sale. What does that mean to you and I? Well, like any sale, if you want the merchandise, you have to have the money. When you aren’t prepared to make the purchase during the sale, you potentially miss out on a good deal. You end up buying at a higher price point if it is something you need or really want. The stock market is no different.
Sales matter. I’m continuously looking for ways to stretch my dollars or maximize what can be done with them. Sales are a great way to do that.
Buying low and selling high is the objective. If your goal is to be a long-term investor, buying (also known as going long) at lows works tremendously well in your favor. As an investor, your account and money have to be ready when the sales come through. That’s not to say that you should only buy on down days. Ideally, you have a long-term investment strategy that includes buying at multiple intervals during the course of your Investment Time Horizon. That way, your entry fee is averaged out over time. This is known as Dollar Cost Averaging.
Just like if you don’t have cash on hand to go to that sale at your favorite department store, if you don’t have cash on hand when the stock markets are low, you can be missing out on an opportunity to participate in the rebounds. Don’t try to hold out until you think the market is at it’s lowest to get in. Do your research and determine the price point that makes a stock more appealing to add to your portfolio. If you don’t have a portfolio, you can start one.
Be a prudent investor. When you make your decision to get in, ask yourself if the price is more likely to increase when you consider your Investment Time Horizon?
Stay ready. You never know when an opportunity that you have been waiting for will arise. Every sale is not for me, but when an opportunity comes up where I can buy some stock that I have already had my eye on at a discounted rate, that’s my preferred method. I had my eyes on Square, Inc. (SQ). The financial fundamentals, its history and future plans are in line with a company that I would want to invest in. At $90, it was too rich for my blood. During the dip, I was able to purchase a few shares of Square at $69. As of the time this article was typed, it was at $74.20.
If you would like to set up your investment account and earn a free share of stock while doing so, head over to http://bit.ly/FacingFinancesFreeStock.
Stay tuned for more articles focused on the reasons behind the recent market volatility and how to research the stocks you want to buy. If you haven’t checked out the Wealth IQ video that shares insight on how to understand the stock market, click here and watch the 6 minute video.
Disclosure: This article is not investment advice. Every person’s situation is different and a cookie cutter approach to personal finance is not advisable. Investing in the stock market can result in loss and should only be done with long-term monies. Meaning, because of market volatility, you don’t want to be in a situation where you need to sell low so you shouldn’t need to use your invested money for more than 18-24 months. When you receive your free share of stock, I also receive a free share of stock.