We all crave it – the fancy car (or at least one where the kids have more space), a bigger house (with a big garden), or a trip overseas, the list goes on. The problem with these big-ticket purchases is they cost a lot of money, which can increase stress levels.

However, there are things you can do to lessen your stress-burden and ultimately improve your financial wellbeing, putting you in a better position to make the purchase. So, what can you do, you ask?

1. Research

Before you start window shopping and making offers, find out all you need to know about the product. Read reviews and user experience testimonials. Speak to your banker or financial advisor and find out what you qualify for regarding a loan, also ask them to advise on the type of loan. The better prepared you are to make a big-ticket purchase the more negotiating power you’ll have and the easier it’ll be to make the purchase. To make things run smoother, especially when buying a house, ask the bank for a preapproval letter.

2. Additional costs

Unfortunately, there are hidden costs everywhere. So, when you see a big-ticket item you like and you can afford the asking price, look beyond what you see. Find out about the insurance, maintenance, taxes, transport costs, and transfer and duty fees. Be sure you can afford it after you’ve bought it.

3. Spend smart

Re-evaluate your spending habits. By spending smarter, you can save money to help pay for your big-ticket purchase. Are there certain cuts you can make, such as eating out less or swapping to store brands? In addition, make smarter choices about where you shop; look at store advertisements and compare prices, but also use your bsmart card to pay. Using bsmart can help you stay within your monthly budget and you even earn cash back when you shop at over 10 000 stores nationwide.

4. Live smart

Assess your lifestyle and look for changes you can make to save money. When you put your monthly budget together, go through it carefully to ensure that your lifestyle matches your income, and make the needed amendments to how you live. Moreover, ask yourself if you really need that version of the item; won’t a more affordable version will be just as good?

5. Goals

When you set goals, make sure they are achievable and not out of range. If you need to save R100 000 for a deposit on your dream home, make sure that your goal-timeline is within your means. Make sure you regularly check your goals to see if you’re still on track. You’ll have to make certain sacrifices, but when you are able to afford your big-ticket, it will all have been worth it.

6. Try your luck

Ask for a discount or make a lower offer. The worst that can happen is the seller can say no, and you submit a new offer. Negotiate to try and get what you want at a more affordable price. If you’re interested in joining bsmart, and enjoying cash back when you shop, visit bsmart.co.za or phone (021) 409 7600.