Living frugally is sometimes necessary but rarely fun. There are many reasons for it, including a loss in income, saving for a big expense, or putting some money back for retirement. Whatever your reason for saving money, it’s important to allow yourself to indulge once in a while. You just need to find cheaper ways to do it.
Fortunately, most big-ticket items can be bought at a discount if you know where, when, and how to shop for them. That’s what we’re here to show you. Use any one or a combination of these tips and you could be living like royalty for a fraction of the price.
Find less expensive alternatives.
It might go without saying that, with a little research, you can usually find what you’re looking for at a bargain. However, a lot of people aren’t used to having to save money so they don’t realize how many alternatives are available. You usually don’t even have to sacrifice quality or getting what you want in order to cut back. One great example is a salt and pepper diamond. Also sometimes called rustic diamonds, these gems are just as dazzling as white diamonds, but can be bought for a fraction of the price. They’re also 100% real diamonds, not imitations. So, whether it’s an anniversary gift, engagement ring, or wedding ring, your partner will be blown away by the beauty of a pepper ring.
Salt and pepper diamonds come in a range of clarity and cuts so you can personally choose the design you want. Some people prefer the darker characteristics in some of the stones that give them a unique look, while others prefer the clearer gems that look more like clear diamonds. Just keep in mind that the real brilliance in any diamond comes from the cut, so be sure you shop with a trusted jeweler.
Shop at auctions.
Auctions can be a great place to save money on big-ticket items. You just have to know what you’re looking for. This goes for antiques, farm equipment, furniture, and much more. In fact, one costly item that is notoriously cheaper at an auction is an automobile. Many used car dealers shop at these auctions for low prices on autos they can make a profit on. You can skip the middle man by shopping at these yourself for gently used or salvage cars. This can allow you to still drive in style without spending the money everyone else spends.
Take your time and shop around.
Many people don’t realize that even necessary expenses like doctor visits, home repairs, and braces for kids can range greatly in cost from one business to the next. Of course, for something as important as your child’s teeth, you’ll obviously want to find the best orthodontic care you can, but it doesn’t hurt to compare prices as part of your criteria as the buyer of that headgear or mouthguard.
One thing you may not know is that orthodontics is less expensive than it used to be. Orthodontists also offer a whole lot more options. Traditional metal braces may still necessary for some situations, but there are also other types of braces. This includes clear aligners, ceramic braces, and others. Let your orthodontist know that the cost of braces is an issue, and they’re likely to work something out with you and find the least expensive alternative. Many providers also now offer reasonable payment plans that allow you to more easily manage your budget.
Did you know that almost anything you can buy has a peak pricing season? Just doing a little research ahead of time will help you figure out what those are and learn to shop seasonally for your larger purchases. For instance, electronics are usually discounted by up to 50% after the holidays. You can get the biggest bargains in late December through January. Furniture sales are highest during the summer, so it starts getting marked down around Labor Day weekend. Cars and motorcycles are some of the biggest ticket items that you should wait to purchase if at all possible. New models start coming out toward the end of each year, so last year’s models will go on sale at about the same time. Some sellers even start slashing prices as early as October to try and entice people when they begin their holiday shopping. Simply waiting for the right season can make a huge difference.
Hire a medical billing advocate.
Unexpected medical costs can lead to serious financial trouble. So, if this expense is something you’re having trouble with, consider hiring a medical billing advocate. Since this is not a free service, it should only be used in certain situations. It’s a good idea to check into it if you’re struggling to understand your charges or feel like you’re drowning in debt. Advocates can check your bills for accuracy and negotiate with providers for lower fees or lower payments. They can also deal with Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurers on your behalf to make sure you’re getting the right coverage for the type of treatment you need.