One of the toughest things we face when dealing with money is spending a LOT of it all at once. It feels like the minute you buy something really big it will go on sale or you’ll see something better. Face your fears by following these steps:
- Do your homework: Hey, it’s your money! Make sure you’re getting the best product at the best price. One of my favorite things about the library is the free databases we have access to with our library cards. I use the databases on the Consumer Reports and Information page for big ticket items or services (yay, Consumer Reports!) and the databases on the Automotive and Transportation page for all things “getting around” (including Kelly Blue Book and NADA Guides).
- Check out these resources and books from the library. If it’s a house you’re after, find out if you qualify for homeownership assistance programs with the City of Seattle. Also, take advantage of free home buying classes offered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
- Start budgeting now for later: People hear the word budget and they want to quit. But we’re talking about your dreams here, so you’re going to have to put your grownup pants on and just do it. Figure out how much your big purchase will cost over what you’re currently spending and save the difference. Are you able to do this for six months? Then you’re ready to move to the next level.
- Save an ample emergency fund because of Murphy’s Law.
- Buy what you need, not what you want. This part is the hardest. But consider this: Cars depreciate the second you drive them off the lot. Huge houses are empty across the nation because people can’t afford them. Your future self will thank you.
Above all, take your time. Know that big purchases are hard for all of us. And keep in mind those famous words from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Don’t Panic.