How to Budget for Big Expenses

Your monthly budget might account for routine expenses like groceries or your Costco membership, but are you prepared to cover a major expense? Along with unexpected costs like a broken car or extra tuition fees, you may need to save for exciting experiences — like a trip to Honolulu or jewelry for your significant other.

No matter your budget, you can find ways to save while still getting the experience you want. Here are a few tips, some great deals, and the best places to help you when budgeting for big expenses.

Figure out what’s most important to you.

Everyone has different priorities that will dictate their budgets. For example, one engaged couple might want to put money into a big wedding, while another couple might want to spend money on the engagement ring and honeymoon. These priorities aren’t right or wrong, they just reflect the values of each person.

Discuss with your partner or family what is important to you. If you want a large engagement ring, read some Agape Diamond reviews, or wherever you’re shopping for jewelry, to see if they’re your best option. If you want a small wedding, consider eloping to Maui, Oahu, or Honolulu instead.

You don’t have to set high budgets for everything. By cutting costs on the least important aspects of a purchase, you can have enough funds for the most important parts.

Identify what you can pay for in advance.

There may be some expenses you need to pay for at once — like an engagement ring — while other expenses can be paid for overtime. This is different than opting for a loan, where you buy the item immediately and then pay back the lender.

Consider a vacation to Hawaii as an example. A couple looking for a romantic getaway could book and pay for a few nights in Maui one month and then book their stay in Oahu the next. In the months following, they could book a cheap flight in and out of Honolulu, cover their next-day rental car costs, and still pay for excursions to various Hawaiian islands and sites like Pearl Harbor. Within a year, most of the trip could be paid off. This is exactly how to visit Hawaii with a limited budget and get the best deal without any major costs.

If you are trying to save for something big — like a wedding or Hawaiian vacation — see what you can pay for in the months leading up to it. This way you won’t return to a high-interest loan or major credit card bills. Just make sure you check the cancellation policies so you can get fully refunded if something goes wrong.

The cheapest way isn’t always the best one.

You may be tempted to cut costs and stay within budget by opting for the cheapest options available, but you could end up spending more. There is a popular phrase that you can either “buy the cheapest or buy twice,” meaning cheap options are more prone to breaking or disappointing you with their low quality.

Evaluate certain items that you want to spend money on to ensure quality. This could include paying more for a nice piece of jewelry or opting for a hotel room on Waikiki beach instead of a cheap place away from the water.

Budgeting a little extra for nice experiences is often the best thing to do for lower stress levels. You can have a good time enjoying the amenities that come with paying more instead of worrying about earrings breaking or finding day passes to the beach.

Whether you are saving up for some high-quality earrings, a diamond engagement ring, or a hotel room with an ocean view on a Hawaiian island, it’s possible to budget several months before in order to create the experience you want. Keep these tips in mind and communicate with your fiancé or spouse beforehand so everyone is happy with the decisions.