Friday, March 30, 2012

Rules for Buying Big-ticket Items

I can’t stand making big-ticket purchases. I don’t like to finance things, so I like to pay in cash instead, and it’s a big hit to my wallet when I finally have to break down and buy something expensive.

In a way though, having to pay cash is actually a good thing when it comes to higher priced purchases because it really makes me stop and think about what I’m doing and how much it’s going to cost. In the process, I use certain rules to help me make my decision.

Conduct a Thorough Search
One of the first and most important rules that governs my purchase of big-ticket items is to investigate and research my available buying options before I make a decision. Deciding not only where to look but what kind of options -- both in brands/models and prices -- can make a huge difference in how or where I buy.

Deciding whether to buy online or go to the store -- and in that case, which store -- can mean hundreds of dollars in savings during my big-ticket purchases. The time involved in this process also means that I likely won’t just buy the first thing that comes along, which helps me avoid impulse buys that I might regret later.

Utilize the Tools at Your Disposal
With the Internet playing an increasingly important role in many of our purchases these days, it can be a great tool to find out more about big-ticket buying options and conduct a little due diligence. By reading reviews, getting customer feedback, and using the Internet to search various online deals or retailers, it can be a great tool to help in saving money on such purchases. I did this when considering buying an electric fireplace, and saved myself $300 in the process.

I also tend to discuss items I’m considering purchasing with friends and family before I make a decision. This allows me to see if they have knowledge of or experience with the items I’m buying or know of a certain brand or deal out there that could save me money.

Watch for Discounts and Sales
Biding your time and watching for big store discounts or sales could have your realizing huge savings on your big-ticket purchases. When we purchased our king-sized bed, we had a few gift cards to an area retailer who had a home furnishings outlet nearby. We waited for a while though to make our purchase, delaying the gratification of our big new bed until that retailer had a massive outlet sale. We ended up saving hundreds of dollars on our new purchase in the process.

Consider Other Options
Of course, just because you’re buying big, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy new, or even buy at all for that matter. We’ve gotten some of our biggest ticket items from friends, neighbors and family for free or almost free. From a patio set and baby furniture, to a sofa and washer and dryer, those closest to you might have items stashed away that they’re not only not using but looking to be rid of at little or no cost to you.

Our family had a storage unit full of stuff that they were tired of paying the rental fee for and that they were itching to be rid of. While our taking of certain choice items came with the responsibility of taking other things we didn’t really want or need, it was worth having to deal with the extra stuff in order to have a nice sofa, a good dining room table, a bed for our son, and other big-ticket items that we would likely have had to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars upon otherwise.

Take Your Time…but Hurry Up
I like to take it slow to investigate my buying options and make sure I don’t buy something I’ll regret later, but taking too long could leave me missing the boat when it comes to a really great deal. That’s why it’s important that while taking time to research and make a decision, I’m still keeping an eye out for great deals along the way.

Whether it’s through a chance encounter at a resale shop or garage sale, an online discount, store sale, or whatever, I don’t want to pass up a great deal just because I’m too concerned about investigating my options. Setting up account alerts or watching particular items through the Internet can be a great option to ensure that you don’t miss out on a deal. But having an idea of what you’re looking for ahead of time and what sort of price range is right for the big-ticket purchase you have in mind can also have you ready to pounce should a great deal arise.

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