We are all consumers and, as such, we find ourselves consuming at a broad range of prices, buying everything from soft drinks to cars to houses. When it comes to the bigger-ticket items, it helps to have a strategy for making those larger cash outlays.
Budgeting should always be first on your list, to make sure you have cash available when a great price comes along. And if you have a big-ticket seasonal purchase in mind, consider seasonal budgeting.
Aside from budgeting, one of the first things you should do is identify big-ticket purchases that you make all the time but may not recognize as premium items. Sure, you may need to drop the occasional bundle on a household appliance or vehicle, but there are everyday big-ticket items, too.
It All Adds Up
Add up how much you spend at the grocery store in the course of a year. If you were to make that purchase all at once, youd be dealing with a very big bill. There are some simple ways to make a significant cut in your food spending. One is to buy items in bulk when they go on sale. This is especially good advice for things that tend to be more expensive, like meat. Investing in a stand-alone freezer, buying meat on sale and freezing it can give you next months meals at last months sale prices. Another way to reduce big food bills is to only go to the grocery store when you absolutely need to replenish your pantry and/or freezer. Get creative. Take a look at what you have around the house, including leftovers and make sure youve exhausted your meal possibilities before you go shopping.
Home Sweet Home
Theres a regular cost to owning your house that you may not realize is negotiable—your property taxes. When you get your tax bill, check out your assessment against the actual current selling prices for homes in your area; you may find out that youre being taxed at a seriously overvalued number. You have every right to appeal that tax bill and request an adjustment. When buying a home, you dont have to settle for paying traditional real estate agent percentages. There are many reputable and successful agents these days who operate at lower fees than big-name agencies. If you have an agent youve worked with before at traditional rates, ask about the possibility of a returning-customer rate. If youre doing something like downsizing locally, ask your agent about a special deal for using her/him for both your sale and your purchase.
And Then, There Are Cars
A new car is another large purchases. The most important thing to do, of course, is to shop carefully, but its a good idea to pause first and make some decisions about what youll be shopping for. You may have your heart set on a particular make and model, but that vehicle may be too much of a budgetary stretch. If thats the case, check out similar models from other manufacturers. They may not have the brand appeal of the car you have in mind, but they could very well offer some or most of what youre looking for at a lesser price. Another way to spend less on a new car is to give serious consideration to a used car. Looking for a quality used car (or pre-owned car, if you prefer) is easier than ever.
Whatever You Do, Think Strategically
When thinking about how to spend your hard-earned, money, try a few of these ideas on how to be what you might call an action-oriented shopper.
If you find a great price on an item at a store you dont usually stop, take proof of that price to a place where youre already a customer in good standing and ask them to beat it. At the very least, theyre likely to match it rather than lose a sale (and potentially, a customer).
Timing is also an important factor in getting the prices. While youre getting the money together for a purchase, and if the purchase doesnt have to beamed on an emergency basis, put some effort into figuring out the best time of year to buy.
And lets not forget coupons. Theyre not just for the grocery store, anymore. Youll be surprise at the number of money-saving options youll out there online. All you have to do is look for them.
At the heart of all of this advice is a simple rule of thumb: Youre in charge. The marketplace exists to serve you. Youre the consumer. Theres no reason to fear the term big ticket. You have the power to cut those tickets down to more manageable sizes.