We get taught to hold on to our wallets (our money) tightly, to stay away from the big purchases. You know what I mean, right? Say no to this, settle on that, only drink the top shelf on special occasions.
Those of us who are financially fit have pretty much used a budget as our financial foundation our entire adult lives.
Those who've achieved wealth cite a budget that drives savings and investments as the key to their success. Look no further than the money in their savings accounts or investment portfolios for the evidence. However, there is a certain kind of sadness feeling like you can never splurge or indulge in the things that fall into the category of big purchases.
Many in the financial blogosphere frown upon excess spending. Then again, excess spending means different things to different people. Big purchases don't have to be budget-busting. They can do this intelligently.
What follows are four recommendations for big purchases you can make that won’t immediately trigger your buyer’s remorse. You can finally experience the thrill that comes from the adrenaline rush when you buy something you've always wanted. You should be able to make these big purchases without your frugal mind immediately entering sheer panic mode.
Let's take a look.
A retirement plan
At first glance, you may not think this fits into the category of big purchases. However, if you skimp on funding your retirement plan, especially those that offer an employer match, you're losing substantial amounts of money in the long term.
Most retirement plans through employers are free of charge to set up; the only money you pay is whatever amount you contribute from your paycheck. Depending on your salary, that could be quite a lot—especially if your employer offers a 4% 401k match.
It might hurt to see hundreds and hundreds of dollars siphoned from your paycheck every month. That keeps many from contributing. However, you will be grateful you made the ongoing sacrifice to save. You can kick back and retire while most people your age are looking at nearly another decade of labor!
This advice, although very practical, does not exactly hit the mark in terms of that bone-chilling adrenaline rush we mentioned earlier. Saving for retirement is a waiting game for a long, delayed reward, and unless you look at each paystub, you hardly notice that money is missing.
Let’s take a look at some purchases that deliver instant (and delayed!) satisfaction.
A new car
Okay, before you frugal fanatics start hammering me, hear me out on this one.
If you’ve run your car down to its nuts and bolts, it may be time to invest in a new one. The last thing you want is to ignore the warning signs and wind up on the side of the road, or worse yet, wind up in an accident due to dangerous conditions left unattended.
Even if you don’t technically “need” a new car, you might think of a couple of justifications for why you might want one. It could help your business image, renew a sense of car ownership pride, or generally improve your commute and, correspondingly, your well-being.
I'm guessing some of you cringed at the business image idea. Here's the thing. What if you have a career in sales, service, or any other position that has you visiting and entertaining clients? I'd think the last thing you want is to pull up in your 1997 Toyota Corolla with 300,000 miles on it. I doubt your boss wants you to either.
Now let's get to the discussion about a “new” car.
For some, the words “new car” sound like nails on a chalkboard. Just because you’re buying a car that is new to you does not mean that it necessarily has to be new off the lot. You can find plenty of gently used cars in your area at an incredible price. If you want to shop luxury vehicles without feeling bad about it, check out a certified pre-owned Mercedes for sale in Houston or a like-new BMW in Detroit—two cities known for their robust automotive industries.
There are several other quality, gently used car options to consider. Look for cars that hold their resale value and are built to last into the hundreds of thousands of miles. The internet opens up a brave new world in which to do your car shopping. You can research the history of any used car. You can find how many owners it's had, the trade-in vs. individual resale value and all kinds of useful things to help with the decision.
Researching before making this big purchase can save you a ton of money and put you into a car that will be economical and last.
Are you thinking about remodeling or taking on a renovation project? Do you have difficulty wrapping your head around the expense? Here is a solution for you – invest in energy-efficient upgrades that can improve your aesthetic and lower your utility bill.
Maybe you choose solar panels to power your home. Perhaps it's new windows for better insulation or appliances that conserve water. You’re likely to see generous savings after your initial purchase. Plus, you can feel good about doing your part to help the planet!
On its surface, these may seem like costly options. They very well may be initially. However, when considering solar and other energy savings options, you may be eligible for tax credits in addition to the potential monthly reduction in utility costs.
Take a vacation
You can’t put a price on health, and a little RNR on vacation may be just what the doctor ordered to take off some stress. Science proves that people who take time off from work come back happier and more productive. By disconnecting and letting go of the chaos and commotion of everyday life, people come back centered, rebalanced, and rejuvenated.
So if you’re the type who burns the midnight oil, working hard to earn income and put money in the bank, maybe it’s time to put it on pause for a minute. Lay on the beach in the sand, explore a foreign country. Answer the adventure that’s been calling your name.
With a little planning, you can take a vacation that doesn't break the bank.
Having and managing a budget is a good thing. Stressing over it is not. Many people take budgeting and cutting expenses to the extreme. Doing so can bring on stress and frustration that gets in the way of living life to the fullest today. There has to be a balance.
If you need a new car, a vacation, or have other big purchases to make, some careful planning can take the sting out of them.
Do yourself a favor. Stop Stressing and start living. You'll be much happier if you do.Follow us