“A new dress or a new pair of shoes will bring pleasure in the short term, while investing in property, a solid new car or a new work computer will pay off in the long run.”
I don’t know what your relationship to money is, but my bank account looks like an impractical sieve: the holes are big enough for buckets of coins and wads of bills to simply disappear.
All this talk about the rising cost of living and interest rates has me (hopefully) once again committing to some real strategy, especially when it comes to factoring in the big purchases of the life – both fun and necessary.
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The world is a blur of financial options, whether it’s sticking to a cutthroat savings strategy, investing, starting a side business, or taking out a personal loan.
Much like my obsession with peeking into the fridges and bathroom cabinets of those I admire, I wanted to know how they budget for those big purchases. Prepare the Excel spreadsheet for this one.
Isabelle Valdez*, business manager
Big purchases: A car
My biggest recent purchase was a new car.
Purchasing approach: consider everything as an investment
I’m quite impulsive because most of my purchases are work-related, and I generally see them as investments that I’ll be able to earn a return on. Personally, I needed a car for work. It was therefore an investment and a business purchase. I went for [a new car] because I thought it would be the least chilly.
In an unlucky situation, I ended up buying a lemon (very long story). Be sure to read all contracts and fine print before buying anything!! And learn about consumer law.
Budgeting Strategies: Contact a Broker
I have a full time accountant whom I pay weekly and who takes care of all the finances for my business. She was able to refer me to a broker I went through for my car loan. Having an accountant/trusted people who can refer you to other services is really handy!
It also makes the process a little more transparent, as an accountant is able to provide the required income reports and documentation when it comes time to compare available personal loans.
Alex Breitfuss, typographer and founder of Terrace Press
Big purchases: designer bags
Handbags are still my biggest investment and the money I spend. I find the cost per wear ratio to be good, so I can justify spending the money. I always save for them. [Right now] I have my eye on a vintage Chanel double flap.
Approach to buying: looking for pre-loved pieces
I have purchased used parts from marketplaces like Hills High End and am part of the resale page on Facebook for a brand I love. I find I can wear items multiple times and sell them for a similar retail price or pick up older prints or styles that I missed when they first came out.
Budgeting strategies: Deposit in an investor account
I follow a few vintage pages to get more information on which pieces to invest in. I try to put the remaining money in my account each week into an investor account (I use Pearler), and from there I build it until I can afford a piece. If I really need something, I will also try to do a little extra transfer every week if possible.
Lily Bennett, artist
Big purchases: art supplies and a vehicle
My biggest purchase was my beautiful 80’s series Landcruiser, which I love and needed to transport art, art supplies, etc. My other biggest purchases would be canvases and art supplies. I also allow myself, after selling larger pieces, some kind of treasure – whether it’s a new pair of well-made winter boots or a new work of art (I love supporting the art world as much that he supports me).
Approach to buying: Write lists and ask questions
I can be quite impulsive, so writing lists of what I need/want is important and [it’s] also a good practice to ask myself if I really need the item, how long it will last, what impact it will have on the earth in the future, etc.
Budget Strategies: Avoid Impulse Spending and Focus on Savings
I think it’s important to remember, ‘keep it, you’ve got it, spend it, you’re done’. If you’re impulse buying a lot of small, insignificant items that you’ll forget about over time, you won’t have the funds available to spend on something bigger and longer term.
It is important to consider and remember [that] a new dress or a new pair of shoes will pay off in the short term, while investing in property, a solid new car or a new work computer will pay off in the long run.
Elizabeth McPherson, vintage collector and founder of PPeached
The Big Buys: Designer Accessories and Vacations
I will never forget saving up for a vintage Chanel bag when I was in college. I have a real love for shoes and have The Row boots waiting on The Real Real. Also, saving up for a nice little Mexico vacation in June.
Approach to buying: Research, research, research
I don’t like buying on trends, however, I find that once I’m addicted to a piece, it sells out everywhere! I will see an article online/on Instagram and continue to search and browse the internet for a much cheaper price.
Budgeting Strategies: Create Accounts You Can’t Easily Access
I like to set aside 40% of my salary in savings, and a nice shoe fund – the direct debit from my savings accounts helps. I have a few accounts that I don’t have access to. It always helps because I don’t see the money as soon as it’s in savings. Set a weekly and monthly budget and stick to it!
Alanna Camilleri, Founder of Selfe Studios
Big Buys: Investing in Quality
I follow the same fundamentals as Selfe Studios: a) invest in pieces for now and forever, and b) invest in quality over quantity. These values are important to me, and so most of the time the purchases have a medium to high price – clothes, accessories, furniture and appliances and now baby products.
Purchasing approach: reflect
I am a thinker, never impulsive. Although I usually know when I see something that it’s what I want, I walk away and take my time. I’ll usually get a few opinions from my family and friends, but deep down I know I’ve already made up my mind.
Budgeting Strategies: Saving for Big Purchases
Shopping is done with savings… As my husband always says “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Big purchases take time, and if you tackle [them] in stages, it is much more achievable and eliminates all stress.
Gaby Dillon, creator and owner of Dillon Store
Big purchases: a new car and a laptop
Not very exciting, but my biggest would be a used Subaru with my partner Frenchy. We had a nice old Landcruiser before, but with the kids we opted for a nice everyday car. I’m saving for a new laptop! Large purchases are rare these days.
Shopping Approach: Slow Shopping
My approach to purchasing these items is significantly slower. I try to set aside some money each week for them. What really trips me up, and where I need help is splurging on clothes/shoes. I just love them. And I buy used boots on impulse.
I would like to be taught how to make a budget at school. I think that would be such a valuable topic. I had no idea of savings, no real idea of the value of things and how hard you have to work to earn money. Working for myself full time has been a great education for me and a reality check when it comes to budgeting!
Budgeting Strategies: Put Money Aside Every Week
I try to save money regularly from my weekly income. The money is also set aside to be reinvested in my business. Before I got my act together, I worked intense stretches at a few jobs, saved a lot of money, and then blew it all up on a purchase or trip.
It was fun at the time, but it in no way prepared me for the future. I still splurge and probably always will, but there are some limits now that make me feel more comfortable.
Holly Boorman, Founder of HLL Creative
Big purchases: Real estate, trade and design accessories
My biggest investment should be my property in Victoria and my business HLL Creative. On top of that, I tend to invest in experiences, like traveling for work. And finally, my guilty pleasure is luxury designer handbags, shoes and jewelry…. the naughty Holly.
Approach to buying: think about it
I will probably sit on it [purchase decision] for a while and possibly make the purchase on impulse or just move on.
Budgeting Strategies: Save as Much as You Can and Live Within Your Means
I save, save, save, and only spend money where I’m sure it will benefit my brand and my business. I’ve always been someone who sets aside 10-20% of what my business earns and another % for business travel/investments. I also live a lifestyle that I can afford and I never push those limits.
*Name has been changed
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