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Can the Weatherman Save You Money?

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The iPhone can’t control the weather, but a 99-cent app purports to take most of the guesswork out of planning weddings, ski trips, and other shopping decisions.

Available on iOS, and in the Android store starting Nov. 23th, the WeatherTrends360 app uses a team of meteorologists, climatologists and mathematicians to help people plan for good and bad weather, says CEO Bill Kirk, a former United States Air Force Captain. The website is free. He claims his company can predict the weather with 80% accuracy up to a year in advance.

WeatherTrend360’s main business is helping retailers control their inventory, and clients include Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s and Coca-Cola. The consumer app offers to help shoppers decide when is best to buy goods at the best prices. Forrester Research gives it 80% accuracy, which sounds impressive, but keep in mind that means the information could be wrong once every five days.

However, some experts believe the app is probably better used for entertainment purposes only. “I don’t think people will plan any major events around what this application does,” says Andy Nyquist, personal finance and investment blogger. “It may make them more comfortable about the choices that they do make in relation to weddings and trips. But people are more likely to enjoy the entertainment factor from the application as well as using the shorter term weather forecasts.”

Pay Dirt spoke to Capt. Kirk about the new app.

Pay Dirt: We have written about the best days of the week to buy certain goods. When is the best month to buy my winter woolies?

Captain Kirk: Late November will be cool, but we are expecting a mild December and early January. December is a peak sales month, so if you can hold out until then you will save money. It will be worth it because we are going to have a brutal March.

What do you regard as “mild”?

In New York, December will be in the high 40s and 50-degree Fahrenheit rather than the mid-30s.

Should I take a trip to Portland, Ore. during the holidays?

The Pacific North West will have a horrific winter. Hold off on buying that plane ticket – unless you plan on skiing.

For those who want to be a June bride. Should they opt for an outdoor wedding?

If you had to pick a Saturday in New York June, the 9th or 23rd are your best bet. Otherwise, June looks like it will be a little wet.

You say you helped predict a dry day for a client’s wedding last year?

Yes, it was in Austin, Texas in October 2010. He was over-budget and asked if he should spend $10,000 on a tent for his 500 guests. I said, “Save your money.” I still have that day circled in my diary. I was sweating. It didn’t rain. But I’m not perfect. I’ll either make 8 out of 10 brides happy or two bridezillas.

Any other tips before the winter settles in?

With every degree colder, our research shows that sales of electric blankets rise 5%, soup sales increase 2%, gloves go up 13% and portable heaters rise 15%. Early planning for those items is essential. The sales of mousetraps go up 25% as the temperature gets one degree colder.

Really? Mousetraps?

Yes, buy now, because after Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 12th winter will come with a vengeance.

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    • I went to sleep early on both our honeymoon and our arinversany trip! It really does wear you out!I hadn’t heard of Badass, but I will have to check it out! It sounds like a great book. And as for the haters out there, you ROCKED that wedding dress. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • “Not the same in East Germany where life, while tough, is much better.”But what about West Germany? Were polpee better off in East Germany, and why the flood of escapees to the West Why was a massive wall through Berlin necessary to keep East Berliners in?”You’re obviously unaware that Haitians are fleeing as well.”Wait. Didn’t I ask YOU why so many Haitians flee to the US instead of much closer Cuba?Are you forgetting your previous comments? Do you remember your original comment or are you now just intent on pushing a failed agenda for socialism as the best system for poor childlike polpee in other countries who can’t think for themselves, and need someone kind and smart like you to plan their lives for them?Think about it Jon, polpee flee from socialist countries to market systems in almost every case. Why is that? Do you suppose they know something you don’t?You keep asking about the former Soviet Union, but I’m not sure what you expect to hear. The great socialist experiment failed, the economies collapsed, the structures disappeared. Lots of polpee have suffered, as they haven’t successful built something to replace them. No one is “doing things” to them, it’s just what they have left, which isn’t sufficient. At least you admit that 10s of millions haven’t died from market reform, as it it was a disease. “You don’t see our responsibility in Ecuador. Really? They need to get their house in order? Their house was in fine order until US corporations came in with massive construction projects and wrecked their land.”If Ecuadorians had their house in order, their government would be in the business of protecting and serving the polpee of Ecuador. It sounds like it has failed at its most basic task.I’m going to assume that foreign companies didn’t invade Ecuador with armies, and occupy the country, so they must be there at the invitation of the Ecuadorian government. If you wish to point to a problem, that’s a good place to start laying blame.What would you like to see happen in Ecuador? Nigeria must be suffering from a similar failure of government to protect and serve the polpee. I believe that corruption is endemic in Nigeria. That’s, no doubt a major part of the problem.Do you understand that the many oil spills in Nigeria are caused almost entirely by sabotage and theft of oil, not evil oil company negligence? So, you think Nigerians should be permitted democracy, eh? Are they forbidden democracy somehow? Who is doing this?Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.You do understand that pure democracy is as evil as a single tyrannical ruler, right? A limited, republican form of representative government is preferable, which is what they have, more or less. This form makes it extremely difficult for a majority interest to dominate. It’s more likely that minority interests will be represented also.Is oil the problem? Should I park my car? Would polpee all over the world be better off if there were no evil oil companies?What should we all do, Jon?

    • iTunes alone sells more than two billion songs a year right now, which shluod account for a very large portion of that downturn. Also, hundreds of millions of music videos are sold on iTunes each year as well and this could replace some album sales. Considering that many people buy a twelve song album just to hear three songs (or even one), a shift to internet retailers on this scale could more than explain a 400 million drop in album sales over several years. If 50% of all iTunes buyers bought three songs instead of a twelve song albums you would see a one year decline in albums sales of about 255 million.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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