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How to Afford a Better Home Theater

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Every movie buff loves the idea of having an immersive home theater, capable of replicating the experience of going to a traditional movie theater. Depending on your priorities, that could mean investing in a big-screen TV, a network of surround sound speakers, and comfortable lounge seating—as well as soundproofing and environmental controls to minimize interference.

Unfortunately, all this equipment can get expensive, and fast. Modern big-screen TVs can be affordable, even if you want 4k definition, LED backlighting, and other modern tech features; however, if you’re looking at something more than 65 inches, you’ll see a massive increase in price. Combined with all the other tech and furniture you’ll need for the perfect experience, you can anticipate paying thousands of dollars—or even tens of thousands of dollars for the ultimate experience.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to afford this investment, there are a few options that can help you.

Personal Savings

The most straightforward option is to save up for this purchase. To do that, you’ll need to know exactly how much you need for your optimal setup. Let’s say you want $8,000. Then, you can optimize your monthly budget and make sacrifices to save up a fixed amount of money each month; from there, you should be able to chart a plan to reach the full purchase price within a specific amount of time.

For example, let’s say you’re currently making $5,000 per month, and your current expenses total $4,500, with $500 going to long-term savings. Your budget for dining out is $300, but you can reduce this to $100 by cooking at home instead of going out on at least a few occasions each month. That gives you a net savings of $200, or $2,400 per year. In just over 3 years, you’ll have all the funds you need to buy the home theater of your dreams.

Additional Income

Of course, 3 years is a long time to wait for most people, and not everyone will have the budgeting flexibility to make easy cuts to save up the money they want. That’s why for most people, the better strategy will be finding ways to make additional income; this extra money can be set aside for your home theater as separate from your primary financial plan.

There are many opportunities here. For example:

  •         Rental properties. If you purchase a rental property, you’ll be able to collect rent from tenants, often in excess of your ongoing expenses, resulting in a profit. And if you hire a property management firm, you won’t have to do much of the work yourself; they’ll take care of finding tenants, managing repairs, and more.
  •         Dividend-paying stocks. If you have some capital, you can consider investing it in dividend-paying stocks, which pay out company profits to shareholders, often in increments of up to 4 percent annually. It’s not going to make you rich, but it can make your money go much further.
  •         Side gigs. A more reliable option for people without much capital on standby is to pick up additional side gigs for extra income. For example, you might walk dogs, start a blog, babysit, or even provide lessons in an area in which you’re skilled.

Shopping for Deals

You can reduce the amount of money you have to save by shopping around for better deals on home theater equipment.

For example, consider:

  •         Major holiday sales. Every year, around the holidays, major brands start discounting their technology and electronics in the hopes of increasing sales volume. This is why, almost every year, on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday, which shortly follows) you’ll find some rock-bottom prices on things like TVs, speaker systems, and even furniture. If you’re willing to wait, you might be able to get some of these pieces of equipment for half price—or even less.
  •         Competitor pricing. If you’ve only looked at a few online sources, consider broadening your search criteria. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a competitor who offers the same product for a lower price. Ask around to get recommendations for reliable brands.
  •         Coupons and other specials. You may also be able to score a good deal by using a coupon, or taking advantage of a special. For example, a business in your area may have low prices due to a grand opening, or conversely, a going out of business sale.
  •         Used equipment. Don’t be afraid to look at used equipment—you can often get a deep discount, with little to no sacrifice in performance.

If you follow these tactics and are willing to make a few concessions, you should be able to buy a fantastic set of home theater equipment and start getting more of the immersive audio-visual experiences you want. Be patient, and remain open to alternative options. 

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