The views expressed in Economy Matters are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System.

Editor's note: Throughout Economy Matters, "Southeast" refers to the six states that, in whole or in part, make up the Sixth Federal Reserve District: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Financial Tips from the Atlanta Fed: Purchasing Prowess

September 1, 2022

couple shops for washing machine and dryer

Nota del editor: Este artículo también está disponible en español.

Making a big-ticket purchase can be a stressful process since both money and emotions are often involved. Furthermore, making purchasing decisions can be overwhelming when you are confronted with many choices. Use these financial tips to be an informed consumer when making that next big purchase.

  • Prior to making any big-ticket purchase, consider preparing your finances, specifically your budget and credit.
  • A decision making model, such as PACED, can assist in identifying your most important criteria as you evaluate your upcoming purchase. When using the PACED model, you will define the problem, list alternatives, specify criteria, evaluate alternatives based on the criteria, and make the decision.
  • If your big-ticket purchase involves buying a home, it can be helpful to explore homebuyer assistance programs, which may provide housing counseling services and a variety of other resources.
  • In addition to paying for appliances and home furnishings with cash or credit, a variety of other financing and payment options are available. Learn the difference and understand the terms and conditions of these options since the wrong choice could lead to a much more costly purchase than anticipated.
  • Fully evaluate extended warranties and service contracts that may be available for home-related purchases. Understanding the costs, length of contract, and coverage can help you make an informed decision on whether the service is right for you.
  • People may turn to online marketplaces to find a good deal. Different sites offer varying protections, and it is important to understand your options if there is an issue with the purchase.
  • Use caution before making a purchase or providing your personal information. Consumers are often targeted in various scams focused on home improvement, security systems, and more. If you were a victim of a scam, be sure to take action and report the issue.