Before You Buy That Stylish Couch, Think About This

the hand of a young woman pressing the buttons on a portable credit card payment device being held by a store clerk

You see that plush couch with stylish pillows in the furniture store window.  If you had it in your own home, you could sink into the soft cushions and take a refreshing nap after a long day’s work.  Whether you wince at the price tag, or you know you have the reserves to make such a purchase, take a step back and consider a few things first.

Taking a Step Back is Always a Good Idea

Give yourself a chance to truly consider if the purchase is worth it or not.  Before you buy the couch – or any big piece of furniture, ask yourself:

  • Can I afford this couch while still meeting necessary expenses?  Can I afford to save up for (or make payments towards) the couch while still paying the monthly bills?
  • What makes this particular couch so good?  Can I find a different couch that’s just as good and has a better price point?
  • Does the store have any coupons, or an upcoming sale that I should wait for so I can get the couch at a lower price?
  • How will I get the couch to my home?  Can I meet the extra cost of a moving service?
  • Does this couch even fit where I want it to go?  Just imagine lugging a new couch all the way to your fifth floor apartment and finding it doesn’t even fit through the front door.  Take the time to measure the space where a new couch would go and see if the new couch fits the dimensions.
  • What’s the subsequent cost of design and upkeep for the couch?  (E.g. buying pillows to go on the couch, cleaning the cushions, etc.)
  • How long will this couch last, and is that length of time worth the price?
  • Will I care if the pattern/design of the couch goes out of style a year from now?  Is paying, say, $3,000 for a couch worth the one year it’s new and fashionable?
  • And most importantly, do I really need this couch?  Do I already have a couch that works just fine?  Could I put this money towards something more important, like debt, education, or retirement savings?

Maybe you’ve got hand-me-downs or nice, durable furniture, but seeing that new couch makes you want to freshen up your living space.  Whatever the case, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you already have some money saved for new furniture…

GOOD JOB!  You’re ahead of the game if you set aside money each month in preparation for buying new appliances/furniture.  As long as the allotted amount you have to date completely covers the purchase, go for it.

Of course, many of us may not be so fortunate to have oodles of cash on hand.

If you do save money for this kind of purchase but you don’t have enough yet, then wait!  You may be looking at a couch worth several thousand dollars, so continue to save up.  Resist the temptation to make up the difference with a credit card or money from some other part of your budget.  (You don’t want to purchase a couch with some of your emergency savings only to get in an accident the following week.)

If you can’t afford it right now…

Save!  Save!  Save!  Patiently set aside money and you’ll be able to get that couch eventually.

The best way to start saving up, once you have a clear goal, is to (1) figure out how much you need to save in order to meet your goal, and (2) establish how much money you can afford to put towards your goal each month.  From there you’ll have the time frame for how long it will take to meet your goal.

If you want a couch that’s $3,000.00 and you can afford to set aside $300.00 a month, you can purchase that couch in less than a year.  If you want to boost the amount you save each month, consider changing some of your discretionary spending in order to put more money towards the couch.  For instance, you could skip the bi-monthly movie theater trips for a while, adding at least $20 to your goal each month.

Making a big purchase – like buying a new, stylish couch – comes back to your budget.  You’ve got to know your income, know how much of it goes towards expenses, and what’s left over.  If you want help creating a budget and learning the best way to meet your savings goal, talk with a Money Coach.  Your Money Coach can also provide worksheets and tips, and present more insightful questions to help you make informed purchases.  Talk with a Money Coach today at 888-724-2326 and get smart with your money.