Everyone wants to buy a big-ticket item at some point in their life. It might be something they’ve been dreaming about, like a new home, but it’s just as likely to be something they need, like a new appliance or a medical bill. No matter what the big-ticket item is, though, it’s always expensive.
Many people have no idea how they’ll afford these big-ticket items. As a result, they put it out of their minds. This can work if the big-ticket item in question would just be something nice to have.
If the big-ticket item is a necessity, though, they might have to max out their credit card, try to get a loan on short notice or even swallow their dignity and turn to charity come up with the money they need.
The truth is that big-ticket items don’t have to be unattainable dreams or looming financial nightmares. There are several things you can do to make sure you can afford a big-ticket item.
Out of all the steps you can take to make sure you can afford a big-ticket item, the most important step is to plan. Take a few minutes and put together a list of what big-ticket items you’ll want to purchase.
During this phase, start with the items you’ll need. If your refrigerator is showing its age or you know your child needs braces, write them down, along with an estimate of how much it will cost. Afterwards, you can start listing your dream goals.
If you only have a vague goal in mind, such as “emergency home repairs” or “emergency medical bills,” you can still get an estimate. Try to figure out how much the average family spends on home repair bills, for instance, or look up how much you’ll have to pay as a deductible before your health insurance kicks in.
Once you know what big-ticket items you want and know how much they’ll cost, you’ll need to start setting aside money until you hit your goals. This is where budgeting comes in. If you already have a budget, go through it and see what you can reasonably set aside each month.
If you don’t have a budget, on the other hand, now is the time to start. As a bonus, though, you’ll be able to factor in your monthly big-ticket allocation without worrying about which budget category you’ll have to take that money from.
How much you should be saving depends on how much the item in question costs and when you’re planning to buy it. If you’ll need to buy a new furnace that costs $5,000 in three years, you’ll need to set aside $138 a month to meet your goal. If your budget can’t handle that, you’ll need to move out the date you’re planning to buy the furnace or look at a cheaper model.
If you don’t have a definite goal in mind, though, you don’t have to set aside a lot of money. Even if you can only afford $10 a paycheck, that means you’re saving around $20 a month. Keep saving that much for 36 months and you’ll have $720!
Search for Deals
Once you have a goal in mind and you’re setting aside the money each month, start looking for deals even if you’re not planning on buying anything for a couple years. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the lowest price you can get and when sellers tend to offer the best deals.
Don’t just look at retailers, either. Places like eBay and Craigslist can sometimes have incredible deals on slightly used items, and many people put their own cars up for sale. While you may have to wait a while for a good deal to come up, remember that you’re playing a long game here.
Save Money for Big-Ticket Items With First Alliance Credit Union
You don’t have to be a millionaire or win the lottery to buy a big-ticket item. All you have to do is plan, budget and keep an eye out for the best possible deal. You may not be able to achieve your goal immediately, but you will get there.
While you’re saving money, make sure it’s also working for you. Become a First Alliance Credit Union member today and take advantage of great rates on savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. You can even start a WINcentive savings account and be eligible to win money for saving money!