We’ve all been there. You’ve finalized a household budget, everything’s going great, and then…the dryer breaks, or (even worse!) your pet gets sick and racks up a bill at the vet. It’s great when all your budgeting goes according to plan and you can start to sock away some savings for your Disney trip, but life often throws a wrench into our plans. We recently had to purchase a new dryer (such a boring thing to have to spend money on!) We really didn’t plan on having to spend money on any extravagant purchases, as we are currently saving for our Disney cruise in October, but it’s not always an option to hang the clothes out to dry. In this post we’ll share our tips for making those unexpected big purchases as painless as possible.
- Shop around. For our dryer purchase, my husband wanted to buy from a big box store because of the special financing for cardholders. As we were checking out, I looked up the model number of the dryer we were purchasing on a competitor’s site, and found it was $48 cheaper. I mentioned it to the store clerk and he matched the price, no questions asked. Don’t just accept the first price you find. Do some web research, and read reviews to make sure you’re getting a quality appliance. For a recent camera purchase I made, I researched for months on types of cameras, prices of each category and models until I found the right camera, and then held out for a sale of that model. I knew I was getting a good price, because I had been tracking that camera for months.
- Do your research. Find exactly what you need. Do you need 12 dry cycles on your new dryer? We sure don’t. Paying for something you don’t need and will likely never use isn’t budget-wise and won’t get you to your dream vacation faster. On my camera upgrade, I looked at all the bells and whistles I could see myself enjoying and ones I don’t need right now at my level of experience. I saved about $500 by being realistic and settling for a more basic model.
- Pay cash or get a good financing deal. We’re not really “pay cash up front” people. We just don’t have that kind of savings (duh, we go to Disney every year!) But we have been able to avoid paying interest on unexpected purchases by using store cards such as Best Buy, Lowe’s, etc. They usually offer a generous time to pay off your purchase, interest free. Just be absolutely sure you can pay off the purchase or you will get hit with all that interest. And that..is..no..fun.
- Check out Ebay. I have recently become re-obsessed with photography. I wanted to start taking better pictures for the blog and hopefully start vlogging in the future. I have bought a great almost-new lens and a wonderful new camera strap for much less than retail, by using ebay. You should definitely read the auction carefully to make sure of what you’re getting before you bid, and don’t forget to look at the shipping charges. Look at the seller’s reviews to make sure you are buying from a reputable source.
- Local resources. Craigslist, goodwill, yard sales. If you’re okay with used, check out your local thrift stores. Just be sure to test it out before you buy and confirm the store’s return policy. Yard sales and Craigslist can provide great deals but use your common sense when buying used.
- For unexpected vet bills, we have used Care Credit, a program that offers low interest loans for vet bills and medical expenses not covered by insurance. Always check if your vet offers any discount for paying cash or having multiple pets. We get a “multi-pet” discount at our vet and it definitely helps out.
We all know that life has all types of surprises waiting for us around the next corner waiting to test our patience and our financial strength. So when an unfortunate event happens don’t let you first reaction be “that’s it we aren’t going on vacation ever again!” instead try to come up with a solution that won’t hurt your long term vacation plans.
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