Saving up for a big purchase can be a challenge. And when you calculate how much you're looking to save, it can become suddenly become a very intimidating challenge. Where do you even begin?
In this post, we'll be going over some simple ways that you can save up for a big purchase with minimal headache and stress. Through these six simple methods, you can take a simple yet significant look at your goals and work toward them intentionally.
1. Make Goals
Think of goals. Set goals. Keep goals. Work toward goals. Remember your goals.
Goals are such a motivational way to not only word toward, but also to measure our progress against. Without a goal, it can be harder to see where you stand and see the evidence that your hard work has paid off. But don't just make a random goal for the sake of it, make an intentional goal that you're excited about.
Have a goal? Great. Now figure out what it means to you. Motivate yourself. If you have to, make notes to read later when you want to remember why you started.
Try breaking your goal down into realistic, small steps that you can achieve. This can be much less intimidating, and make tracking progress much more exciting and interactive!
For example: let's say that your goal is to save $5,000 for an upcoming purchase. Woah. That is a big chunk of money staring you down. But if you start to break it down into realistic amounts and timelines, so much of that pressure can be lifted.
Think of it as saving about $100 a week for the course of a year. Or maybe around $200 a week for the course of 6 months. Look at how you can cut back on your expenses to save these amounts. What can you do, in your power, to achieve this?
Having realistic and detailed goals is a motivating way to work towards saving for a big purchase. Not only can it be helpful for holding yourself accountable, but it can also be motivating to see how far you've come.
Some examples for goals could be:
timelines of dates you want to achieve x dollars
transferring x dollars to your savings account each payday
cutting back on items to save those dollars per week (we'll discuss more on this below)
2. Keep Track
Tracking your progress and the status of your goals is an important way to hold yourself accountable. Something about tracking something makes it feel real and much more approachable when you can see it laid out in front of you.
Although at times it's easy to believe that we're just too busy to stay on track, even just a few minutes per month can make a huge difference. If this sounds like you, I can relate. I was the same way, and my spending really suffered because of it. But, I learned, and ultimately ended up developing an auto-pilot expense/savings/budget tracking spreadsheet that does everything for me in just a few short minutes per month.
Some examples of keeping track could be:
using a spreadsheet to track your income, expenses, and savings goals per month
using worksheets to stay on track of other routines (like meal prep, grocery shopping, etc.) that aid you in saving money
3. Cut Back on Non-Essential Purchases
While this is a challenging category to approach, it is a very basic way to cut back on monthly expenses. There are many things that could be considered non-essential expenses, and chances are that they will look different to each person.
If your savings goal requires you to save a certain amount per week, there's no better place to start than to take a good, realistic look at if and how you can achieve that savings amount per week. Often times, a few simple, small spending changes can really add up over time to be strong money saving habits.
Some examples of non-essential expenses could include:
fast food and dining out
buying coffee rather than making it at home
buying expensive gifts rather than thoughtful yet frugal gifts
going for drives just for fun, rather than just to commute to/from essential places
4. Make Products at Home
How much do you spend on products each week? From body care to dish soap to gifts and snacks, SO MUCH of spending can easily be done on various products. There is another option: make some at home to save money.
Making things at home might take a little time, but it can save a lot of money in the long run. And hey, it might be a good learning experience too. There are so many things that can be made at home by utilizing a helpful tutorial.
Check out resources (seriously, there are TONS of fantastic blogs that specialize in DIY-ing certain homemade products) to help you consider whether or not you can make something at home before jumping to buy it.
Some examples of products to consider making at home include:
bath/body care products (body wash, shampoo, conditioner, etc.)
home decor (air fresheners, storage bins, etc.)
gifts for others
It may not be a method to get rich quickly, but it sure does help to save a few dollars (or more) each week by making your own products. Over time, this can really add a little big here and a little big there to your savings. Plus, how cool is it to say you made it yourself!?
5. Sell Used Items
Selling used items is a good way to make a little cash. One thing I recommend is as soon as you sell an item, put that money right into your savings funds. That way, there is no temptation to spend it or even include it with your spending money.
If you sell a few things here and a few things there, this again adds up over time. Of course, bigger items like electronics and appliances can be sold for quite a bit of cash if they are in great condition. From personal experience, these items go the fastest.
Other items like clothes, home decor, etc. in good condition are also simple to post for sale but I've found do take a little more time and effort.
So, if you've got products that you no longer use, this method might just make you some extra cash. Not only does it give someone else a chance to buy a quality, used item for a lower price, but it helps you de-clutter and make a little money.
One of the biggest ways people do this is through having a garage sale. But there are also many apps now which allow to to virtually upload photos and descriptions. If you're interested in learning more, I've got an entire post dedicated to selling used items.
6. Budget for The Big Purchase
The big purchase - maybe its a car, a down payment, a new appliance, or a special gift. Maybe its something else. Whatever it is, create a budget for it. Know what you're going to need to spend. And once you have an idea, take a look around to see if there are any possible sales, discounts, etc. that you can utilize.
Also ensure that you take into account any related expenses that may come along with it such as accessories, additional parts, taxes, service fees, tips, etc. Of course, these will vary greatly depending on the purchase.
Last but not least, a big part of budgeting for the purchase is simply having patience. This is one of the most helpful tools in saving for a big purchase. I know it's not fun, but it's super important.
Unfortunately it can take a lot of time, effort, and intentional spending to save to the point we want to - but most times it is so worth it when that day comes.
Picture yourself making that big purchase knowing that all the big and little decisions you made, from budgeting to spending intentionally to cutting back to seeking sales, has helped you get to where you are. And let that image inspire you. You've got this, friend - it just may take a little time to get there.