Tuesday, July 17, 2018

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Large Purchase

You’re convinced: You really want that Coach handbag. Or maybe you just know that gigantic entertainment center will transform your weekends. So you swipe your card and the dream item becomes yours. You’re thrilled!

That is, until a few weeks later when the credit card bill comes, and buyer’s remorse hits. You can’t help wondering: Was it really worth the price? Before you say “yes” to a large purchase, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. Do I have cash to pay for this item? 
This question will help you determine if you can really afford the purchase. You need to have liquid funds that can cover the cost of your item. Putting it on credit means you’ll be hiking up the price once interest is tacked on, and you’ll be reminded of a possibly regrettable purchase for a long time to come.

2. Is this the best price? 
When making a large purchase, it’s important to comparison-shop by checking several online listings and some brick-and-mortar shops as well. Visit coupon sites like CouponCabin.com for automatic savings. Also find out the best season for buying this particular item and wait for a sale if it makes sense to do so. Finally, consider purchasing a previously owned item for less.

3. How many hours of work will you need to do in order to pay for this purchase? 
Calculate the total number of hours you’ll need to work to pay for this “must-have” item. Is it really worth the price?

4. How else can I spend this money? 
Think about the money you’re about to spend on this single item. What else can that money buy? A few weeks’ worth of groceries or a year’s worth of monthly dinners out? Take some time to think of other ways you can spend this money before making a final decision.

5. Have you splurged recently? 
If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional pricey indulgence. But, when luxury purchases become a habit, it can spell disaster for your finances. If you picked up a designer handbag just last week, you may be best off waiting a bit before buying the one that’s caught your eye today.

6. How often will I use this item? 
Yes, it seems essential today, but looking ahead, how often do you think you’ll really use this item? If you can see yourself only using this purchase a few times a year, you may want to re-think your decision.

7. How much will this money be worth if I put it into savings? 
You have the funds for this purchase, but how much would that money earn if you saved it? Check out this investment calculator to get that magic number. The results might leave you pleasantly surprised.

Here at Community Financial, we have several long-term savings accounts that can help your money grow. Give us a call at (877) 937-2328 or stop by, and we’ll help you choose one that’s perfect for you!

Your Turn: What’s your number one question before making a large purchase? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

5 Ways to Budget for Your Wedding

Ready to tie the knot, but don’t know if you can afford a wedding? You don’t need to skimp on the wedding of your dreams or go deeply into debt to pay for it. By planning ahead, choosing wisely and prioritizing what’s truly important, you can say “I Do” without stressing over wedding costs. Here’s how:

1.) Start saving now 
Instead of waiting for that special someone to pop the question, start saving now! The average age of marriage is 27 for men, and 26 for women. If you start saving for your wedding when you’re 20, you’ll only need to put away $333 a month. But, if you start at age 26, you’ll need to put away $2,333 a month!

2.) Time it right 
Think off-season and mid-week, and you’ll save a bundle! First, consider a winter wedding. You’ll shave thousands of dollars off the venue price by choosing an unusual time of year to get married. Second, think beyond Saturdays. If you can find a church with a vacancy on a Sunday, grab it! Venue prices drop dramatically with just a one-day switch. You can also opt for a mid-week wedding that precedes a national holiday date, like July 4th. This way, your guests will still be able to enjoy the evening without rushing home.

3.) Skip the cake 
A slice of cake for $2.50, that doesn’t even taste good? Here are some other ideas:
  • Fake your cake. If you can’t stomach the idea of a cake-less wedding, ask your baker to fake it for you by creating a false cardboard bottom for your cake and only baking a genuine top layer or two. You’ll get the same look without the huge cost. 
  • Set up a dessert bar. You can serve hot waffles, brownies or chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, caramel sauce and a selection of other fun toppings. You’ll pamper your guests at a fraction of the cost! 
  • Serve a sheet cake instead. Your guests will be happy to savor a slice – even without all that fondant and frosting.
4.) Save on your gown 
Save big on your gown by looking for a pre-owned gown on OnceWed.com or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. You can often find a beautiful gown for under $100!

5.) Vary your venue 
Save a ton by choosing a venue that has no outside contracts. This way, you can shop around for the cheapest caterer, photographer and DJ. If you really dare to be different, have your wedding in one of these budget-friendly venues:
  • College campus. You might even be able to snag a student discount! 
  • Vacation home. Rent a vacation home and let it serve as your wedding venue, lodging for out-of-town guests and a honeymoon destination for after the wedding. 
Your Turn: Already married? Share your best wedding hacks with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Buy a Boat

Get ready to set sail this summer! Read on for the ultimate boat-buying guide.

Step 1: Choose your boat type 
Like automobiles, boats should be purchased with their intended uses in mind. Determine which water activities are most important to you. Also, research different boat types and ask your boat-owning friends to share their own impressions and tips. Also decide where you’ll keep your boat. If you’re choosing to self-store your boat, you’ll need to purchase a trailer-able boat.

Step 2: Decide if you want to buy a new or used boat 
Visit boating sites like Boats.com and Discoverboating.com to check out what kind of used boats are on the market. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Step 3: Start boat shopping! 
Start your browsing with online listings like Boats.com, YachtWorld.com and BoatTrader.com. You’ll be able to sift through hundreds of models and compare prices within minutes. Next, start making the rounds at local boat shows and dealers. Hop aboard as many boats as you can and ask lots of questions. Snap pictures and organize them by boat so you can look them over again when you get home.

Step 4: Narrow your choices 
Sit down and list your priorities. Include all boat categories you will consider and then narrow that by your must-have features, ones you’d like and ones you want to keep away from. Next, review the snapshots of the boats you’ve looked at, both in real life and online, and list those that fit all, or most, of your preferences. Now, let’s choose your boat!

Step 5: Inspect your boat 
Once you think you’ve found the boat of your dreams, conduct a walk around and a sea trial. Inspect the entire boat thoroughly, because you don’t want any unpleasant surprises once the deal is done. When you’ve finished your walk around, it’s time to take her offshore. Your sea trial will show you what the boat is like out on the water. After the sea trial, ask to have the boat hauled because it’s important for you to see the entire boat before you buy it.

Step 6: Find out what’s included 
Before you sign a contract, sit down with the seller to discuss exactly what’s included in the sale. Request a list of all equipment that comes with the boat so you can ensure you’ve got it all.

Step 7: Seal the deal 
You’re ready to make it happen! Assuming you’ll have the financial details worked out by now, all that’s left to do is sign the paperwork, and then the boat is yours. If you need help on financing, check out the latest rates at cfcu.org/RV.

Step 8: Purchase insurance and a trailer 
Before you set sail, make sure your boat is adequately insured against damage. If you’re self-storing, you’ll also need to buy a trailer. Finally! You’re ready to hit the water. Enjoy the ride!

Your Turn: Do you own a boat? Share your best boat-buying tips with us in the comments!

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