How to save up for a boat without drowning in debt

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Boating is a favorable summer pastime. 

Days spent in the hot summer sun, cruising on the water with a drink in hand and music on blast is an ideal summer scenario for many. But how do you get there? 

If you plan on spending many days on the water, then it’s time to start saving for a boat. Whether you want a boat in a year, two, five or 10, it’s never too early to start saving if it is within your means to do so. 

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Do keep in mind that you can still enjoy a lake day for a much lower cost by simply renting a boat of your choice for a special occasion. 

If you decide that buying a boat is right for you, don’t forget about the other expenses that need to be considered, such as gas and insurance, that go beyond just the boat itself. 

To buy the boat, you can pay outright, or you can look into taking out a loan, although not all lenders have this option. If you choose to finance a boat, ensure that the monthly payment fits into your budget before making the purchase. 

If you have started thinking about your savings plan for your new boat, here are tips that will have you setting sail in no time. 

Before considering making a huge purchase like a boat, make sure all your other finances are in order, like your emergency fund. 

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Now, this isn’t to say if you have expenses like a mortgage or a car payment that you can’t buy a boat, but you don’t want this purchase to sink you into a debt that you can’t get out of. 

To avoid this happening, consider waiting to buy a boat until one of your other major bills, like a car payment, is paid off. Also, make sure that you have an emergency fund stocked with three to six months of living expenses covered. This is something you should have in place before making a big purchase to protect yourself financially in the event that your income decreases. 

Keep your boat savings separate from the rest of your savings. A lot of banks allow you to create different “buckets” within your savings account so that you can separate your savings goals. 

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Utilizing this feature will provide for seamless savings. Instead of having one large number in your savings, you’ll have all different numbers, clearly labeled for a specific goal you are trying to achieve. This also makes it so that once you have enough money, you won’t have to empty out your entire savings. You’ll still have all your savings goals that your working towards being funded. 

If you have a bank that allows you to do this, create a savings account for just your boat savings. That way, you can see exactly how much you have saved up for that specific purpose, and you are still putting money aside for other things. You can also consider getting a high-yield savings account to earn more money on your savings and help your money grow faster. 

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Once you have your emergency fund covered and have a separate savings account set up for your boat, it’s time to do research on your expenses. This, of course, includes the kind of boat you want and how much you’ll need to save to make your purchase, but also everything else that comes with owning a boat. 

Things you’ll have to consider are maintenance costs, storage fees, towing equipment, boat insurance, marina fees, a boating license as well as any other additional equipment you want to buy. 

Make sure you account for and are able to cover all these expenses, since a lot of them are going to continue for the amount of time you own the boat, instead of being one-time payments. 

One of the easiest ways to save money is by setting up automatic payments. 

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Automatic payments take all the thought out of saving. You don’t have to worry about manually putting money in as it’s all done for you. 

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Once you figure out how much you want to put aside each month, set up automatic payments into your boat savings account. You can always put more money in during certain months, but those automatic payments will at least be a base amount that’s guaranteed to go into the account each month. 

If you find yourself saving slower than you would like to, you can start to look into ways to boost your income. This could be done through a side hustle that is of interest to you. All the money you make from your business could be put straight into the boat account. 

You can also look through your expenses and cut back in areas. If you find that you eat out a lot, you can try to stay in more and put that money you save toward the boat.

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You may spend more than you’d like on entertainment, like streaming services, and you could cut back on those. When making a big purchase like this, you will most likely need to cut back on other things to make the purchase possible in the future. 

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