How to Stop Overspending on Big-Ticket Items

Big ticket items almost ALWAYS mean a bigger expense, but they don’t have to blow your entire budget. Try one of these five tips to grab them for much less!

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This post was originally part of my 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses series, which has been completely revamped and updated for publication. It contains over 70% NEW content not found anywhere on the blog! Learn more about the book your budget has been waiting for.

There are so many big ticket items on my "want to buy" list—patio furniture and a new dishwasher are just a few of them! But there's never enough money in the budget. I love these options for spending less out of pocket. Now I don't have to put it on my credit card! #savemoney #moneysavingtips #howtosaveonbigitems #howtosavebig #howtosave #bigitems #savingonhouseholditems

Even though new furniture sets, mattresses, large appliances, and electronics aren’t necessarily a monthly expense, they do appear in our budgets every now and then. Whether you’re replacing an item that’s old and broken, or splurging on something shiny and new, take the time to research all options so you can find each item at the best possible price!

I personally like to start a “Household Wish List” {separate from my personal one}, and write down everything I can think of that we may need or want. Right now, our biggest items are a King-size bed, patio set, new TV, and craft table.

Once you have your list, pull out a clean sheet of paper and start writing down each item in the order you would like {or need} to purchase them. If you have a spouse, schedule a date night at home and talk over these items together, then label accordingly.

These may or may not be purchases you need to buy right away, so depending on the timetable, you have some time to find exactly what you want – which is usually how I prefer to shop anyway! Then, when you’re finally ready to commit {aka you have the money saved up for it}, check out this list below for the best ways to start your search.

How to Afford Big Ticket Items:

1. Browse Craigslist Everyday – Craigslist is a fantastic place to find all sorts of furniture pieces and used appliances. Some quick tips are to not be too specific with your search terms, search under the Owner category {not Dealer}, and ask lots of questions before meeting someone to pick up your item. This will save you from wasted time and hassle of actually seeing the item in person, then deciding that you don’t want it because you didn’t ask for sizes or other vital information!

2. Shop Scratch and Dent Stores – If you’re not especially picky about a tiny scratch, stain, or tear, check out your local scratch and dent stores for discount brand name items. Companies don’t necessarily want to sell these damaged big ticket items alongside their regular offerings, and thus give frugals a chance to buy these same items with usually just a tiny defect. Who knows, you might find that perfect piece, and no one will probably notice anything wrong with it!

3. Stop by a Thrift Store or Flea Market – Thrift stores, consignment shops, and flea markets often have a section of the store or booth where they sell used furniture. Some items are not in especially great condition, but others would make a beautiful statement piece. Plus, if the structure is solid, you can always refinish it to match your current decor.

4. Browse Local Yard and Moving Sales – Because most home owners have way too much stuff lying around, yard/moving sales are the perfect place to find new-to-you treasures. Check Craigslist or your local paper for times, or go out for an early drive Friday or Saturday morning to get the best selection.

5. Plan a Black Friday Jaunt – Black Friday either makes us cringe with despair or squeal with delight. I can usually take or leave Black Friday Shopping, but if I’m in the market for a few specific big ticket items, I’ll head out for a quick look around. My Black Friday probably looks a lot different from the typical shopper, but somehow I still manage to get some great deals!

Need to Reduce Even More Monthly Expenses?

Whether you crave extra room in your budget, or want to save towards a future goal, 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses is your must-have resource to tackle both.

This book is jam-packed with practical advice to slash costs, lower monthly bills, and put more money in your bank account every month!

Get a peek at the Table of Contents and download a sample chapter HERE. Or, if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can purchase this guide directly on Amazon.

What’s your best craigslist or thrift store find?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. When my daughter finished college and got her first apartment, she needed everything. She was excited, naturally. She related how she bought a floor model sectional with a triangular rip in the upholstery, saying the rip was between the pieces. I reminded her she could sew it up and told her how. Then, she bought a scratched refrigerator, giggled, and explained that the scratch was the side that went against the counter. She said she did not have time for yard sales with the stress of being a new teacher and the hours she kept. But, I am quite sure she was so much wiser than some kids graduating from college and far smarter than older folk who just spend to have the best right now.

    I do know that most of her gifts for her birthday and Christmas that I sent her were from yard sales. After she opened the gift, she did use the items to decorate her home. My kids don’t mind secondhand.

    1. Most definitely YES — so many college kids and beyond just buy everything they can new, without taking the time to look around for the best deals. Your daughter sounds like a really smart girl!!

  2. I am a big believer in the power of attractions. My hubbie told me this morning that we need to replace our refrigerator. I shared your advice on saving on big ticket purchases and he agrees as I do it is in the planning. Find the exact model that you want, set up alerts of Craig’s lists, and then earmark a certain amount of money to be transferred into an online savings account each month. I did this just this last summer with our new couch. I originally planned on spending $600 but (surprise!) paid only $250 for a brand new couch with free delivery and take away. You must have a clear target to shot at.

    1. This is a great plan! I love that you automatically send money into your savings each month to go towards the new purchase — and finding it for over 50% less is certainly an added bonus!

  3. I have a King size bed and will never buy one again. Since we purchased this bed we’ve moved, and moved, and moved even from our purchased homes not just rented places. I still love the Cast iron and Brass Elliott Designs Bed with beautiful Head and Footboard. However, they fit in the room we had, butI find that with most rentals there isn’t enough room to walk around neither does the bed fit the room to scale. We have to step sideways in order to get around the bed. My husband is 6′-6″ and we purchased it with his height in mind. I still don’t want to give the bed up because of no funds to replace it but will definitely purchase a Queen next time. Besides the cost is always more for king size bedding. Connie

    1. A king-size bed is definitely a huge piece of furniture to move around! And you’re definitely right about bedding — it’s about $10-20 more than Queen sets for sure.

  4. Well, we’re planning to replace our kitchen floors and counter tops. Both are on the list, but I also need to replace our bedroom sheets since we actually wore a hole in them! They served us well but now I need new ones. My husband wants to make sure they are soft and cool so I’m looking around for the best deal.

    1. We finally had to break down and buy new bedsheets the other day — both sets had holes! Having a bunny rabbit with a chewing habit may have been an added culprit though…. 😉

      We bought our sheets from Bed, Bath, and Beyond – it was a little bit higher priced, but good quality, and we had one of those 20% off coupons, so it saved us about $10.00 off the set.

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