First Person: Saving for Big Ticket Purchases

Yahoo Contributor Network

"It's good to want things," but it is also satisfying to actually get those things I want. In the fifth grade, I wanted a new bike. My parents made a deal with me: save up for half the bike, and we will kick in for the rest. They set a reasonable goal and also made me really work for something, instead of just adding it to a birthday list and expecting it to appear with a shiny bow on it.

As an adult, "saving up" for something often gets abandoned in favor of instant gratification, but, over the years, I have found fun ways to get items on my list, while also exhibiting a bit of patience.

Loose Change - In my high school days, my family saved up for a five-disc CD-changer using only our loose change. It took three of us about two months to save up for a $150 CD changer, and it felt great to purchase it with "extra" money.

Pay Yourself - Currently, I am 35 miles into paying for a $130 GPS running watch. I am quite motivated to put my son in the jogging stroller and head out for a short run after work or a longer adventure on weekends. I pay myself $1 a mile, and when I place the order for the watch, it will be with several big runs logged!

Save $5 Bills - or tens, or ones. Pick a denomination. Whenever you get this as change, set it aside in an envelope and use it for a special treat. Over several weeks, I had easily saved a hundred dollars. This is a great way to save for a weekend get away!

Auto Transfer into Savings- My most important auto transfer feeds into my son's college fund. I won't touch this account for a long while, but since the money transfers without me having to do anything, I also don't feel the pinch.

Use Credit Card Points - We have an airline-based credit card, and we utililzed it to save for round trip tickets to see family over the holidays. By using our Credit Card Points, we saved over $500 on flights. We also used points to purchase our Neato vacuum cleaner, saving nearly $400, and getting the very item we wanted.

Instant gratification feels good for just that, an instant, but saving up and actually earning that new item provides longer lasting satisfaction.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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