NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Saving For a Big Purchase

Saving For a Big Purchase

                A $5 latte here, a $15 manicure there–these little purchases that often bring temporary joy can be the items that are busting your budget each month. These are also the same purchases that could add to your savings accounts if you were to stop spending money on them. When you add up the cost of those afternoon coffee runs, you may find the money to buy that new laptop you need or other big ticket items.

1. Put money into your savings account each and every month.  If you're trying to save up for a big purchase, the first thing you need to do is set up a savings account through your regular bank. Then, ask them to withdraw money each month from your checking account and deposit it into your savings account. Having them do this automatically for you will help you save money simply by not having it in your checking account to spend.

2. Work overtime.  If you have the option to work additional hours, consider building enough overtime into your schedule to cover the item you want to purchase. Just remember to also consider the potential expense of additional child care while you're working.

3. Temporarily take on a second job. This is another relatively easy way to earn additional money. Keep in mind that a "second job" doesn't have to mean that you'd be earning minimum wage pay, either. Take a skill you already possess and find a way to share it with others. Use your creativity and consider where the skills you already possess meet a need in your community.

4. Sell unused items .  Take a good look around. What do you see that you don't use, need, or love? These may be items that could earn you some money on an auction site like eBay, a rummage sale or a poster on a bulletin board.

5. Cut back on your grocery bills. Another quick way to save toward a big purchase is to spend less on non-fixed expenses, like groceries and eating out. Make an effort to plan your meals and look for recipes that are economical. Being intentional about how much money you spend per meal can help you save toward the big purchase you have in mind.

6. Research the item you want to purchase. Spend some time researching your purchase online. The manufacturer’s web page can give you specifics on the model that best matches your needs.  In addition, see if you can't purchase the item you're looking for through an auction site, such as eBay.com.

7. Separate needs and wants. Sometimes we have to reevaluate our expectations and purchase a less-expensive option that may not have all the "bells and whistles" we were looking for. To help you separate what you need from what you want, take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. On the left, write down the features this big purchase must include. Then, on the right, write down the features that you'd like to have. Then compare the results to the options that are in your price range.

8. Be patient.  Sometimes you just have to wait a while longer before making your big purchase. For example, if you'd like a larger TV, and you're able to set aside $40 per month toward a new one, saving for an extra six months would give you an additional $240 to spend. In addition, if you're expecting a generous tax return in the next twelve months, waiting for it is another painless way to save for a big purchase.

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