The best way to avoid a money mistake is to question big-ticket items fully before committing. Asking yourself these questions will help you help you maintain your financial health by avoiding unnecessary debt. If it doesn’t relate to heating your home, drying your clothes, keeping your house dry, or getting you to work – the purchase is likely not one you MUST make.
This brings us to the first question in our series that you’ll want to answer.
1. Is it necessary? Can you function in your day to day life without it?
We realize we’re being strict, but a narrow view of necessities is key to maintaining control over your finances. You may have guessed from the introduction that we consider a new heater, a dryer and a car to be necessities. Boats, vacations to Tahiti, and kitchen renovations are typically not.
2. Can you borrow? Buy used?
Use Facebook or Nextdoor to put a call out. Examples of things you might be able to borrow include phones and laptops. They are necessary for us to maintain our jobs but if we don’t have the money to buy them new, one option would be to borrow or buy a sparingly used phone or laptop from a friend. Furthermore, while you wouldn’t borrow a dryer, you might make due without one for the summer months by hanging up your clothes to dry outside, using a neighbor’s, or going to the closest laundromat until you have saved up enough to buy your own.
Some items are harder to borrow, like a car or truck. Having a reliable vehicle to get you and your loved ones to where they need to go is important. RMLEFCU is proud to partner with AutoTrek for honest car buying advice. They are offering the following incentives to RMLEFCU members for used and new cars:
- $100 gas card
- Discounted prices on 2017 models
- Exclusive access to 50,000 used models online and over 100 on their lot
3. Shop around if possible and pay attention to reviews.
The Internet and social media make it so much easier to Google the specific brand and model of many big-ticket items and find out who has the best price. A little research can save you a lot of money.
4. Can you do it yourself? Do you have the time? Are you handy?
Be honest not only with how capable you are, but with how much time you are willing to give up to fix or replace the item yourself. YouTube videos can be useful to show you how to properly cut a mango, but hanging drywall may be best left to a team who has done it before.
We have mentioned starting an emergency fund in many of our articles. If you don’t have one, here’s a few reasons why you should. Thankfully, RMLEFCU offers a service called Courtesy Pay that will allow check, debit and ACH items to be paid up to $1,000 by allowing your checking account to go into the negative; rather than returning the overdraft item. This will help keep you out of debt in case you have any financial emergencies.
Speak with a RMLEFCU employee about our current AutoTrek promotion and Courtesy Pay today!