Prepare for Major Purchases

Big ticket items can come up at any time of the year. Some we can predict and plan for and others we don’t see coming. For those unexpected expenses, experts recommend having a separate cash account to cover emergencies. Ideally, you should have three to six months of living expenses set aside. If that seems like a lot, start with $1,000 and contribute each pay period until you meet your goal.

For those expensive items we DO anticipate, it’s best to be prepared and have a plan to avoid unwanted stress and debt. Try our tips if you’re in the market for a major purchase this holiday season!

  1. Identify what is a major purchase

A major purchase can be any number of things. Maybe for your family it’s a car. For other families it may be a new TV, gaming system, or new appliance. You’ll want to identify if the item is a need or a want. It’s OK to buy things you want but taking this step first might help you avoid impulse buying.

Savings hack: Think about the future when you are considering any major purchase. From furniture to cars, a great question for any MilSpouse to consider before buying is, “Will this make sense in a year or two?” A new car may be exciting and fun now, but what happens if you get OCONUS orders? A new sectional sofa would look great in your current home, but will it fit in your living room at your next duty station? Plan major purchases with the future in mind whenever possible.

  1. Determine if there are additional costs AFTER the initial purchase

This is key and often overlooked. For example, with a car, most focus on the monthly payment but forget the gas mileage, maintenance requirements, and insurance rates. This might help you refine your car search to fit your spending plan. If it’s a new TV or gaming system, will there be ongoing subscription costs? Do your homework and prepare for those costs BEFORE you make the purchase.

  1. Shop around

This step does two things. First, it forces you to slow down and use logic over emotions when making a big decision with big financial implications. Secondly, comparing prices and packages could help you find a better deal for your family. Don’t forget to shop on your installation as appropriate and ask for military discounts

  1. Decide how will you pay

Ideally, you’ve planned and have money saved up for this major purchase and can pay cash and be done. But life doesn’t always work that way, so you may have to finance your major purchase. Before you do, just be aware of the cost of debt. Read our “Before You Take on Debt” section to learn more. We also have many financial calculators to help you prepare for your next major purchase.

This is the time of year many of us splurge on big ticket items. Use these tips to help avoid your next major purchase becoming a major stressor whether you’re preparing for the holidays or not.

 

MilSpouse Money Mission® is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

 

 

 

Primary Text Separator for Milspouse Money Mission, Financial Education for Military Spouses

MilLife Milestones

Primary Text Separator for Milspouse Money Mission, Financial Education for Military Spouses

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Big ticket items can come up at any time of the year. Some we can predict and plan for and others we don’t see coming. For those unexpected expenses, experts recommend having a separate cash account to cover emergencies. Ideally, you should have three to six months of living expenses set aside. If that seems like a lot, start with $1,000 and contribute each pay period until you meet your goal.

For those expensive items we DO anticipate, it’s best to be prepared and have a plan to avoid unwanted stress and debt. Try our tips if you’re in the market for a major purchase this holiday season!

  1. Identify what is a major purchase

A major purchase can be any number of things. Maybe for your family it’s a car. For other families it may be a new TV, gaming system, or new appliance. You’ll want to identify if the item is a need or a want. It’s OK to buy things you want but taking this step first might help you avoid impulse buying.

Savings hack: Think about the future when you are considering any major purchase. From furniture to cars, a great question for any MilSpouse to consider before buying is, “Will this make sense in a year or two?” A new car may be exciting and fun now, but what happens if you get OCONUS orders? A new sectional sofa would look great in your current home, but will it fit in your living room at your next duty station? Plan major purchases with the future in mind whenever possible.

  1. Determine if there are additional costs AFTER the initial purchase

This is key and often overlooked. For example, with a car, most focus on the monthly payment but forget the gas mileage, maintenance requirements, and insurance rates. This might help you refine your car search to fit your spending plan. If it’s a new TV or gaming system, will there be ongoing subscription costs? Do your homework and prepare for those costs BEFORE you make the purchase.

  1. Shop around

This step does two things. First, it forces you to slow down and use logic over emotions when making a big decision with big financial implications. Secondly, comparing prices and packages could help you find a better deal for your family. Don’t forget to shop on your installation as appropriate and ask for military discounts

  1. Decide how will you pay

Ideally, you’ve planned and have money saved up for this major purchase and can pay cash and be done. But life doesn’t always work that way, so you may have to finance your major purchase. Before you do, just be aware of the cost of debt. Read our “Before You Take on Debt” section to learn more. We also have many financial calculators to help you prepare for your next major purchase.

This is the time of year many of us splurge on big ticket items. Use these tips to help avoid your next major purchase becoming a major stressor whether you’re preparing for the holidays or not.

 

MilSpouse Money Mission® is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

 

 

 

Team Member

We are team of financial professionals who understand military life because we have experienced military life. Our goal is to educate and empower military spouses to help them make smart money moves. We combine passion and expertise to ensure you get the most accurate and relevant information. Take comfort knowing Certified Financial Planner™ professionals, an Accredited Financial Counselor® and the Department of Defense Office of Financial Readiness have vetted the content on this site.

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Primary Text Separator for Milspouse Money Mission, Financial Education for Military Spouses

MilLife Milestones

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