Scottsdale Economy

Articles about the economy and consumer tips

Trying to get a head start on your Christmas shopping?

Every month, there are shopping deals and duds in the stores. In this video, a look at some of the best and worst things to buy in November.

Know of any special deals that you'd like to share with our readers who might also be interested in saving money on things they buy in November? If so, please share them in the comment box. Even though your email address is required to post a comment (to avoid spam bots that like to post on websites) we will NEVER publish your contact information on our site for your own security and protection. So feel free to comment without worrying about that.

If you're in the market for a Scottsdale home, let us be your guide and advocate. Now more than ever, you need to have a broker on your side when looking for a Scottsdale home.

Scottsdale gas prices are dropping.Scottsdale gas prices for regular unleaded is running at about 35 cents below a year ago, but if historical trends hold true, in the stretch between the beginning of Fall and Halloween, there is more room for prices to fall.

Between September 19th and Halloween, the U.S. average gasoline price has fallen by an average of 28 cents per gallon over the past five years. This year, we seem to be leaning closer to the 10-year average, which is 23 cents per gallon.

In one of its regular price updates recently, AAA said the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is about $3.52 per gallon. That's 35 cents less than the same day a year ago. "The national year-over-year discount continues to increase and sits at its widest mark since April 21st," AAA said.

Despite the year-over-year price relief, September 17th marked just the 1,000th consecutive day with the national average price at the pump above $3.00 per gallon, which is the longest such stretch on record. The current streak began on Dec. 23, 2010.

Scottsdale Gas Prices Lower Than Last Year

Scottsdale gas prices are lower than one year ago, however the size of the year-over-year discount can, and does vary from station to station.

The pre-Halloween drop forecasted would be an added bonus, even though there is no guarantee of sub-$3.00 averages anytime soon. Barring a hurricane or sudden turbulence in the Middle East, it appears that most major U.S. cities will see their total gas prices fall in this 20-to-25 cent range over what's left of the month of October.

We'll continue to keep you up to date on news that affects Scottsdale gas prices and the economy in general here on our website. Check out our other articles on the Scottsdale Economy and Scottsdale Real Estate News, both under the Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.

Young Scottsdale homeowners, as well as those "wanting to be homeowners" are struggling in the job market, which points to possible bad news for the housing industry.

Young potential Scottsdale homeowners hurt by employment woes according to the Bureau of Labor and StatisticsAccording to the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics, only 74.8% of young adults are working — the lowest number in 12 months and far below normal levels. During the recession, between 73% and 74% of young adults were employed.

In addition to their struggles to find a job, many young adults are buried in a mountain of student debt. In fact, student loans are now the largest component of non-mortgage and home equity debt at $994 million.

So how are these unemployed and indebted young adults supposed to become Scottsdale homeowners and help the liquidity of the housing industry?

Mark Palim, vice president for applied economics and housing research at Fannie Mae, says that lack of job security is the biggest factor keeping young adults out of a home. "If you don't have income and if you don't think you’re going to be living somewhere for awhile because of a lack of job stability, then it makes perfect sense that you're not going to be buying a house," Palim said.

Student debt is inhibiting the ability to come up with a down payment for many young adults to become Scottsdale homeowners. The main idea is that it stretches out the amount of time it takes to pull together enough money. For those who can manage, they are often forced to handle a smaller mortgage.

Many homeowners who were on the verge of retirement, with funds set aside, were forced to spend that money on other things as money got tight during the recession. This translates into more people in the 55-plus-age group still in the labor force.

"They're not leaving the labor force," said Palim. Because many older adults are sticking around in the job market, there is less availability for young adults.

It may be some time before young adults can become Scottsdale homeowners. In the meantime, many are resorting to renting either single-family homes or within the multifamily sector.

Many renters can't afford to buy a Scottsdale home because they spend more than they make.Why most renters are unable to buy a Scottsdale home

In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. renters by Rent.com, an astonishing 61 percent said they spend more than they make every month. If you're renting and hope to someday be able to afford to buy a Scottsdale home, here are five ways you can work on curbing your spending habits.

5 Ways to Help You Buy a Scottsdale Home

Trim the Fat.

Nearly half of the renters surveyed (49 percent) said the hardest part about saving money is the fact that costs just continue to increase. While you can't do much about rising costs, you can stop spending money on things you don't need, and "doing without" is the way to eventually be able to afford to buy a Scottsdale home of your own.

For example, paying for a gym membership will burn more money than calories. Instead, create a mini home gym with some simple, inexpensive fitness equipment, like resistance bands or kettlebells, so you can stay fit without straining your wallet. If you don't watch a lot of television but you're paying for cable, consider switching to a cheaper online option, like Netflix or Hulu Plus. Instead of paying $60 to $100 per month for cable, Netflix runs about $9.00 per month. Toss the extra money into your "buy a Scottsdale home" savings account. Speaking of saving…

Learn to Save.

Life is unpredictable, but don't be one of the 26 percent of renters who said necessary-but-unbudgeted expenses are the hardest part about saving money. Put a small amount of your paycheck aside in an emergency fund until you have at least six times your monthly income. When your car breaks down or you need a root canal, you'll be glad you have the extra cash on hand.

Treat Yourself (Responsibly)

Impulse purchases were the downfall of 15 percent of the renters surveyed. Saving money doesn't mean you can't ever buy yourself anything. In fact, if you don't allow yourself some fun, you're more likely to break down and go on a spending spree. The key is to give yourself a limit by including monthly indulgences in your budget.

Find Some Free Fun

Going to bars and restaurants gets expensive. Just ask the 6 percent of renters who said socializing is the hardest part of saving money. There are plenty of things you can do with your significant other or friends for little or no money at all. Consider hosting a board game night or potluck dinner, getting active outside with a bike ride or hike, or attending a free community event. With a little creativity, you can have a good time without draining your bank account.

Find Some Budgeting Assistance

If you're just not good at budgeting, like the 4 percent of the renters reported in the survey, you're in luck. There are plenty of free online resources to help—and some even do the work for you. One good go-to budgeting helper is Mint.com, a highly-trusted, secure website where you can link your bank, credit cards, loans and investments, so you can see all of your accounts in one place. In addition to helping you stay on top of your finances, the site will also help you set and reach your financial goals of someday being able to buy a Scottsdale home of your very own.

For more tips on home buying, see our Scottsdale Home Buyer Tips section under the Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.

We’ve already been talking about the sequester and what it could do to affect the Scottsdale economy. The sequester – $85 billion in federal budget cuts – went into effect March 1. If you’ve been following the news and thinking it will only affect federal employees facing a furlough, you may be wrong.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers a list of delays, annoyances, and other sequester related problems you could be facing this summer. Check it out, then read on for more surprises.

There’s no way to know with certainty the exact effects budget cuts will have on the Scottsdale economy. And the sequester is highly politicized, so there’s likely exaggeration on both sides.

Whether all, or any, of these sequester-related hassles come to pass will continue to be a matter of debate. Time will tell.

In the meantime, what do you think? Is the sequester going to cause real problems like those described in the video, or do you welcome the cuts and think the warnings are nothing but political posturing? Sound off below.