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While it's no secret that retail prices fluctuate (sometimes on an hourly basis), the day of the week that you buy games, computers or other electronics can make a big difference. And, speaking broadly, the best times to shop are the days when you're probably least in the mood.
A study by Extrabux of video game prices found that as the weekend approaches, video game prices begin to spike. The rise starts on Thursday and peaks on Friday. Things start to fall a bit more over the weekend, but if you're really looking for bargains, Monday's your best chance to find them.
The average price paid on a Friday (which includes games, game systems and accessories) is $70.19, according to the study. You'll save more than $3 by waiting until Monday.
"Retailers recognize that early in the week is when there is the most competition to capture the attention of consumers, and this competition results in lower prices for consumers," Forrester research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Extrabux. "Fridays tend to be light online shopping days, so there isn't as much competition to attract consumers and as a result prices aren't as low."
On the weekends, though, the people in charge of monitoring pricing have some time off -- and the computers take over. While each company has its own pricing practices, the computers also keep a close eye on other retailers. When one drops a price, the computer will adjust its pricing to better that offer by a notch. By Monday, things are at their lowest.
It's not just games, either. Computers and TVs both tend to hit their highs on Friday and lows on Monday. Savvy computer shoppers can save $46 by holding out for Monday buys, while TV prices tend to fall an average of $21.
And if you're looking for a camera, Monday's the best day to buy as well, according to Extrabux. Shoppers can save $8.50 or so compared to Tuesday and Wednesday. That's because retailers often use cameras as traffic drivers for people who are back in front of their computers.
That's not to say you should avoid all shopping on the weekend, but it might be wise to focus on things other than electronics. Books, for instance, hit their lows on Saturday, while appliances are cheapest on Sunday (as demand for both picks up).
If you're really looking for deals on video games, though, an extra dose of patience can save you a lot more than $3. Dealnews, which tracks retail specials, has combed through its archives and found some pricing patterns about hot video game releases. In many cases, it comes down to how much you want to save versus how desperately you want to play.
Pre-ordering can save you between 10 and 25 percent, the site found, and sometimes that's supplemented with in-store credit. Even if you miss those deals, five of the six high-profile titles it studied saw deals offered within two days of releases.
True bargain hunters, however, know that by skipping the initial rush at retail, they can save real money, sometimes $40 or more. Most video games make the majority of their income in the first month. After that, they're shoved out of the spotlight by new releases and often see discounts.
Dealnews found that many AAA titles saw their price drop to $20 or less within five months of their release. You may wind up being late to the game, so to speak, but you'll also avoid falling prey to the hype train for high-profile releases (players sometimes don't realize how bad a game is until that aura fades). And the good games are just as fun months after release as they are on day one.
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