Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you need to make a big purchase. Your washing machine stops working or your car needs to be repaired. This is when people usually pull out their credit card and wince while it’s swiped. We have been trained to think that we don’t have another choice. People believe that they need to make big purchases now and that they must borrow money to do so. This just isn’t true. You can make a big purchase without going into debt. A lot of times it involves patience and purposeful planning. Try these strategies to help you buy that next item without the extra guilt.
Needs vs. Wants
Before you spend big money on something, take time to determine if it’s a want or a need. If it’s just something you want really bad, then you shouldn’t spend the extra money unless you have budgeted for it. For instance, I really want to replace the carpet in my living room with wood floors. The carpet is that disgusting builder-grade carpet that shows every possible stain. However, I don’t need those nice, new wood floors right now. They would be lovely, but they can wait until we have budgeted and saved. The same goes for cars, technology, and other items as well. If your dryer breaks, you don’t have to replace it right away. Hang dry your clothes until you have saved enough to buy a dryer with cash. It’s not worth going into debt!
Figure Out The Math
Before you buy that big-ticket item, figure out exactly how much it will cost. Shop around and find the best possible price. Can you buy the item used to save money? Once you have hunted down the lowest price, determine when you will need to buy it. How long can you go without it? Then, divide the cost of the item by the number of pay periods you have until then. This will tell you exactly how much you need to save out of each paycheck to buy the item with cash.
I’ll give you an example. My husband currently drives a 10-year old car. We know that his car will not last forever and that we will need to buy him a new-to-us (used) car in the next few years. If we want to save $20,000 to buy a car in cash, we will divide the total cost of the car by the number of months we want to save.
If you don’t think you can save that much money each pay period, then you’ll have to change the length of time or consider one of the options below.
If you are desperate for extra money, then it’s time to go through your house and sell stuff that you don’t need or have not touched in a year. You will be surprised what people will buy online! It’s also not as hard as you might think. Just take a picture of something you want to sell and post it on Facebook Marketplace. Make sure you do a little research so you don’t set your price too high or low. Any money from items that you sell can be set aside for your big purchase. You could also hold a garage sale. Get your kids involved and let them sell their items too. They can start saving up for their own toys!
Work Extra Shifts
If it’s possible for you to get overtime or take extra shifts at work, then go for it! The extra income can help cover the cost of what you want to buy and you’ll spend less money because you’ll be out working (bonus)! If your job doesn’t offer overtime, then find a way that you can use your skills to earn extra money. If you are artistic, then consider painting pictures of pets or homes and charging a small fee for them. If you have friends who need a babysitter, offer up your services! Remember, just because you take on an extra job or shift doesn’t mean you’ll do it forever. It can be temporary.
Set a Spending Freeze
If you need to find extra money in your budget, then consider having a spending freeze. A spending freeze is when you decide that you won’t spend any money for a certain amount of time. It could be a day, a weekend, an entire week, or even a month. If a spending freeze seems too drastic, then make small changes like bringing your lunch to work each day, to save big money. Need more ideas on how to save money? Check out 24 Frugal Tips to Save More Money.
Saving Money While Paying Off Debt
If you are currently on your debt free journey and you find yourself needing to make a big purchase (like your a/c or heater went out), then you can always pause your debt snowball to save money. When you pause your debt snowball, you’ll stop paying extra on your debts. Keep making minimum payments on all bills and save all extra money for your big purchase. Once you have saved up enough money to make your large purchase, you continue on with your debt snowball. If you need to dip into your emergency fund, make sure you replace it before restarting your debt snowball. Need more information on how to start your own debt snowball? Click HERE. It’s how we paid off over $111,000 in 4.5 years!
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