Got Cash? Here Are 7 Ways to Spend Your Dough


For someone like Ben Popken, who has a good job and a steady income, there has never been a better time to have cash to burn.

"With all the deals going on, I feel like I'm rich," said Popken, who is co-executive editor of, a Web site dedicated to consumer issues.

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"Cash is king in the down economy," said Popken, who put his yearly income in the "upper five figures." "There are definitely deals to be had."

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Popken thanks the recession for creating the deals he says are better than ever. "Before the recession ... companies that were putting out deals were really just giving little nudges to people, 5 percent or 10 percent off," he said.

But these days, for instance, a refurbished MacBook Air, which retails for at least $1,500, cost him a little more than $1,000. "That's a significant price drop, even for a refurbished machine," he said.

He also said he saved nearly $75 on a brand new Sony Cybershot digital camera by combining coupons on

Industry experts say that Popken's experience is not unusual: There's a deal to be found in nearly every corner of the market, from unbeatable prices for new cars to extravagant vacation packages to that dream home you never thought you'd be able to afford.

"Really and truly, there are great deals out there on everything from apparel to electronics, if you're willing to spend," said Mike Gatti, senior vice president of communications for the National Retail Federation.

"Everyone is trying to push their inventory out, and so they're cutting prices," he said. compiled a list of the top seven items people who aren't down and out because of the recession should look to spend their money on -- from car deals to vacations to the latest gadget you'd love to have.


Erik Torkells, the editor of, said that now is the time for consumers willing to spend to "live it up.

"It's a great time to travel anywhere," he said. "Flights to Europe used to be in the $800s, round trip, and you're seeing them for half that now. The world is more within reach than it has even been."

Hotels are also more inclined than even to sweeten the deal, said Torkells, who advises people looking to travel to ask for a free breakfast or complimentary valet parking.

Ian Jeffries, the spokesman for, said that destinations such as Las Vegas, New York City and even islands in Hawaii are cheaper than they have ever been.

"In Las Vegas, the average daily hotel rate for this summer compared to last summer is 25 percent cheaper," he said. "Hawaii is also a great deal -- hotel rates are down 18 percent compared to last summer."


For consumers tired of looking at the old set of wheels in the driveway, now is the time for an upgrade.

"The car deals across the board are great right now," said Jack Nerad, a market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "The basis of the demand has been so low that everyone is competing that much harder."

Nerad said that there's a deal now for a Honda Civic lease for $149 a month, after a $2,600 down payment.

"That's a terrific car with a great reputation and great reliability and just great all around," he said. "That's kind of eye-popping."

Even luxury cars, such as BMWs, aren't out of reach, Nerad said. With the lease of a new BMW, one customer received no-cost maintenance for four years. "It's a great deal," he said.

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