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When planned in advance, saving for expensive purchases is pretty easy. A certain amount of money is tucked away each month until it’s time to buy. However, when the timeline is short, trying to come up with the money is sometimes easier said than done. Even with advance planning, saving for a big purchase needs a strategy.

While there’s really no shortcut to saving money, there are ways to make the process a little stressful.

Determine the Best Way to Save

Everyone saves money differently. Some people can leave a set amount in their checking account until they have what they need. Other types of spenders need a separate account where they have limited access to the money. The only way to determine what works best is to try each method and see how it goes. If it appears the saved money keeps being spent, it’s a good idea to open a savings account.

Be Thrifty

When saving for a big purchase, it’s important to cut corners where possible. One of the easiest ways to is to comparison shop and buy some items in thrift. In addition to clipping coupons, shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops can save a lot of money. In fact, there are consignment shops that only luxury goods at a fraction of the original cost.

Stick to a Budget

Probably the easiest way to save up for a big purchase is sticking to a budget. It’s surprising how fast the little things add up. From morning lattes to happy hours, it’s not uncommon to spend an additional $100 a month and not even know it. Create a budget where a once-a-week indulgence is allowed while saving the rest.

Go Generic

When it comes to groceries, long gone are the days where buying generic means sacrificing quality. Nowadays, many brands offer generic substitutes to name brands, which taste exactly like the real thing. That’s not to say that everything bought has to be an off-label brand, but it’s not a bad habit to take up.

Whether it’s for vacation or new home, saving for a big purchase doesn’t need to be overwhelming. The key is finding ways to pinch pennies without having to live like a Scrooge.