My husband and I recently bought our first home. And of course, there were some big ticket items we needed to purchase to go along with the home. We knew this would come up, so we have been preparing the last few months. We would like to share our adventure with you.
Before we got married, we attended some pre-marital counseling at our church home. One thing our pastor told us was, "If you ever want to purchase a big ticket item, save up for it together. It's more meaningful that way, you're working towards something together, and you appreciate the item more."
This has stuck with us, and will forever stick with us through our life.
The fastest and easiest way you can get yourself into debt is purchasing something expensive without consulting your budget!! Here are some tips on How to Purchase Big Ticket Items Without Breaking the Bank:
#1 - Decide on your Item
It could be a new fridge, home remodel, a vacation...anything! Decide what in particular you want to start saving for, talk with your partner, and agree that you are going to save for it INSTEAD of putting it on the CC and paying it off monthly (that's how you get stuck in debt!) Set your price, don't forget to include the tax, and that is the amount you need to "fundraise."
#2 - Research
As soon as you decide on your item, do your homework! Look at models, prices, customer reviews, etc. Look at different venues, and price match the same item to see which is cheaper. You can also search for coupons, or even email the company to see if they can offer you a coupon code. The more research you do, the better buy you will get!
#3 - Brainstorm
You and your partner should sit down and brainstorm how you can come up with extra money for your item. If you want the item THAT BADLY, you will make darn sure you raise that money! You can do anything from selling your old textbooks (we used cash4books.net), selling stuff on ebay, amazon and craigslist, doing a garage sale, extra little jobs here and there, etc. You can even cash out those credit card "points" for giftcards. If your birthday or a special holiday is coming up, ask for cash or giftcards. There is NO limit to the little things you can do to make extra money. We decided anything ABOVE, BEYOND, UNEXPECTED, and NOT PART OF OUR BUDGET can go towards our purchase.
#4 - Be Patient BUT Set a Goal
Set a monetary goal and a date. Make it your goal each month to raise funds for your purchase. Whenever you get close to the amount you need - DON'T CAVE IN!! So many times, Brian and I said "we're almost there, let's just do it." NO WAY!! Finish Strong!! I have found that the more patient we are (especially with our finances) the more favor we have when we buy.
The item we ended up purchasing was going to cost probably around $900.00 (not on sale, tax included), so we started raising money for that starting in April 2010. You would not believe how quickly we were able to make that much money - and the best part is...we didn't even TOUCH our budget. In fact, we made a little interest on that money in our savings account over the last couple of months.
I put a spreadsheet together to keep track of our savings. Below, you can see how much money we made in each category:
$385.10 – Garage Sale Profit
$101.00 – Rangers Ticket Sales (Brian gets tickets each month, so 100% profit for us)
$97.25 – Extra Tips (Brian does valet for the Texas Rangers. I told him any tips over $60 each night would go towards our purchase)
$89.42 – Craigslist Sales (minus postage/envelopes) [I sold: Tap Shoes, Flat Screen Monitor, Digital Converter, Unused Kitchen Utensils, Joel Osteen Book, TCU Thank You Cards...I was surprised as to which items sold.]$52.10 – Unexpected Blog Income
$50.00 – (2) $25.00 Visa GCs from Kia Cars (We ended up not using these because we purchased online, but we still counted them because they will go towards something else like groceries)$20.00 – Best Buy Reward Zone Gift Certificate (from a previous purchase)
$10.00 – Store GC from Chase Leisure Rewards
$9.00 – Sold $25.00 GiftCard to Houston Garden (I got this for FREE)
$1.15 – Coins found on the ground (YES – we did this!!)
TOTAL – $898.92
We were able to raise this much money in 2 months!!
We did a TON of research before we made our purchase. And actually our total was a little less than the amount we raised. We ended up purchasing our item online through a special site, in which we got 5% of our purchase back. AND, we did use a CC, where we got another 1% back. Because we have the available cash in our bank account, we will pay this off when we get our next bill - NO INTEREST!!
If you have a major purchase you would like to make, I would HIGHLY encourage you to SAVE before you buy. Be in agreement with your partner and work together. You will value each other, value your money and value your purchase so much more!! You will stay out of debt and not have to worry about money or finances.
Maybe our next BIG purchase will be a vacation??...Lord knows we need one!
Enjoy the FREE savings?