We all know the feeling – there’s a major purchase we want to make, but we’re worried it will break the bank. Whether it’s a luxury car or a hard-earned holiday, that extra expense seems just out of reach.
The good news is, there are plenty of alternatives to making an outright purchase upfront. And depending on what you’re in the market for, you might find a practical solution that won’t leave you strapped for cash.
Here are some creative ways you may not have considered to pay for a big-ticket item.
When you see something you love, it’s tempting to think you need it then and there. But if you’ve got a little patience – and the item isn’t a necessity – then a layby option is a great way to make payments more manageable.
Here’s how it works: the retailer puts the item aside, making sure that it won’t be sold to someone else, while you pay off the balance bit by bit. Normally you have to hand over a deposit and then keep making regular payments that you can afford, until it’s yours.
If you really don’t want to wait until you’ve paid off the full item, some suppliers offer ‘own now, pay later’ options. This allows you to take home the item immediately and then pay it off in regular instalments. In this case, you may be charged interest over time, so it’s always a good idea to shop around first to get the best deal – you might even find a company that offers 0% interest for the first six or 12 months.
For a major purchase that’s essential to your daily life – such as a family car or home repairs – it might be worth considering a loan or some other form of financing.
If you’re a homeowner, another financing option might be to unlock the equity in your home. Equity is the difference between the market value of your property and the amount you still owe on your home loan. This effectively allows you to borrow money against the value of your home, using your property as security. The best part is, you don’t necessarily have to use the money for home-related expenses, so you can choose what to spend it on.
Your financial adviser can help you with budgeting and refer you to a lending specialist or broker if required. They can also help set up a manageable repayment plan so you don’t end up falling behind and getting stuck in a debt spiral.
Think you can’t afford a holiday? Think again. If you haven’t heard about timeshare, then you may be in for a treat. Basically, it’s a way of owning the rights to a property for a specific amount of time each year without having to buy the whole property itself. In effect, you co-own the property with all the other shareholders and you pay a fixed amount each year – which is usually cheaper than paying for a holiday rental. That way, when you’re not using the property, someone else is.
In the same way, boat shares are available for those who prefer to spend their leisure time on the water. Instead of co-owning a holiday property, you co-own a boat and make bookings for when you want to use it. You could even apply this concept to other items that you only use occasionally, and team together with a group of friends to own it jointly.
Ever wondered why you keep buying items that err on the expensive side – like household appliances or whitegoods – when you end up having to replace them every few years?
In some cases, it may be worth renting rather than owning, especially for things like your flat-screen TV, which you might want to upgrade when a newer model comes out. Plus, in many cases, the rental supplier will take care of any repairs if the item breaks down, saving you money on maintenance.
But before you make any major financial decision, it’s always worth consulting your financial adviser. They can help you work out if your purchase fits within your budget and savings plan, and how you can best manage the repayments – whether you’re renting, borrowing, timesharing or paying instalments.