Summer has begun to wind down and transition into fall, and the year’s hottest months are slowly fading from our daily routine. The added expenses that the summer brings (especially with family outings, unplanned costs, and back-to-school shopping) can often feel like the prospect of having the swimming pool of one’s dreams is more like a pipe dream. In addition, the thought of financing a new pool and the costs associated can scare off most people from even discussing the idea with a pool builder.
Before you lose all hope, consider the possibility of minimizing your financial burdens and create a plan that combines a solid savings plan with shrewd planning. By taking a long-game approach, see how your dreams can not only be realized, but exceeded when you combine all of your strengths.
Step 1: List Your Financial Needs and Your Pool Wants
The first step is always the toughest, but it’s also the most fun. This is where you should sit down and begin writing out your list of needs and wants – needs being what you need to live on and financial obligations, balanced by wants, which in this case, is having a swimming pool where money saved can be used as either a major down payment or, if you’re feeling ambitious, cover the costs of the installation and accompanying requirements for your summertime dream. While your needs list should be detailed in terms of breaking down specific costs and fiscal requirements when applicable, your list of wants should be seen more as a sandbox for creative thinking.
Here are some areas that should definitely be covered as you begin brainstorming. Be sure to focus on where you’d like your new pool and/or spa and what aspects of your current backyard would be affected:
• Swimming pool, or swimming pool and spa?
• How would your dream pool look? Think about decking, color scheme, amenities, and a space for patio furniture (and all of your friends, of course).
• Where will construction crews come in from the street? Will you need to move a garden? A fence? Imagine the increase in foot traffic and the obstructions that may be in the way.
• Salt water or chlorinated?
Of course, these are a few basic areas to first consider – your needs will vary depending on your lifestyle, and any big idea that crosses your mind should definitely be considered as you begin planning. Once you know exactly what your financial situation is and how you envision your backyard, begin making plans to speak to professionals who can assist you in proper design and implementation planning.
Step 2: Speak to a Pool Building Expert and Get a Quote
Naturally, we’re a little bit biased – after all, we are not just one of the best pool builders in the state of Texas and a Top 50 Pool Builder in North America, but we have the hardware and the local reputation to back it up! We pride ourselves on accommodating the fine balance between budgetary needs and the reachable dream of owning an in-ground pool, and we welcome those living in Houston, Victoria, Beaumont, or anywhere along the Texas Gulf Coast and points in-between to stop in for consultation.
That being said, the concept is universal – regardless of where you live, once you get an idea of your own wants and needs and commit them to paper, you’re in an ideal position to speak to an expert and understand the process even more. If this seems a bit daunting, understand that in the pool-building process, you (the customer) have all of the control in your quest for an affordable pool savings plan, and by being able to speak to an expert pool installer, the reality of your planning will come into view.
It’s Who You Know: Confide in Your Local Pool Expert Early
The upside to developing a plan early is that you have time to revise your ambitious plans for a dream pool as circumstances change. With proper planning and research, a solid plan of action can be achieved that covers all conditions, from the initial dream to the final reality. But as is the case with anything, it’s always a benefit to “know somebody” who has either done the work, seen the work, or can refer you to someone who can fill you in on what to expect when planning for unforeseen construction and financial constraints. Finding someone who has been through the process is important for your long-term plan.
Who Constitutes as a “Pool Expert”?
A pool expert is someone who, to put it simply, has done it before. There are two sides to the process – the experiences of those that purchase the pool and the experience of those who install and deliver the end result. By thinking about it in this fashion, consider the following:
• What are your friends, neighbors, and relatives’ thoughts on their pool-buying experiences?
• What are the common issues that appear?
• What are your options in your area for a dependable pool provider? Do they provide consultation services?
• Most importantly, is the advice you’re receiving reliable? Anybody can profess to having the answers, but the source should always be considered.
By speaking to those that have been through the process before and by speaking to a pool manufacturer or expert builder, the merging of your financial needs and your dreams can become easier, which means an easier time in planning for your long-term pool savings plan!
Step 3: Maximize Your Budget Responsibly
Let’s take a moment and look back on where we’ve been:
We’ve listed our financial obligations and detailed what we envision our pool to look like and contain with respect to our backyard or land restrictions. We’ve thought about logistical challenges in having an installer on-site, we’ve consulted friends, family, neighbors and even the occasional stranger in passing about their experiences, and we’ve begun to look for a prospective swimming pool builder. Of course, you’ve already found a local supplier that has done a magnificent job at providing the honest reality check that balances wants and needs, and now that you know how much your dream will cost, how can you make the savings process easier?
Cut Frivolous Expenses Without Restricting Your Lifestyle
Saving money can be difficult, but by looking for ways to cut spending responsibly without having to suffer, you’ll find that it’s easier than you dreamed of (and yes, you can even keep your daily Starbucks routine). Here are some ideas that can help you along the way:
• Have a garage sale, or better yet, utilize Craigslist and eBay to get rid of items collecting dust. Sell the kayak from that one impulse buy-laden summer a few years back and voila – that’s enough for a top of the line Pentair WhisperFlo Pool Pump!
• Audit your online purchases. Using multiple music providers and movie-streaming services? By downsizing and removing two subscription services at $10 a month, that’s an immediate $240.
• Swap a night or two out at the local bar and replace it with a game night or get-together at home with friends and save money on the overhead costs, all while keeping your social life in a good place.
• Dining out too much? Replace one night out a month and substitute it for dinner at home – the more mouths you have to feed, the more money you can save. By saving $50-$100 a week, spread out over 52 weeks, you stand to add $2,600 to $5,200 over the course of a year!
Of course, don’t cut too close to the bone, as this will invariably lead to impulsive splurges that could derail your dreams. By making small adjustments, looking for better deals, and finding ways to keep your quality of life while saving on excesses, you’ll find that making savings a game that the family can contribute to is easy and makes the whole adventure much more of a team effort.
Step 4: Learn More About Financing a New Swimming Pool
Initially, we covered being able to fully fund the costs associated with pool ownership, but financing options can be a great course of action designed to cover the expenses when cash on-hand isn’t enough. By having a healthy mix of a good down payment and a reasonable rate, you’ll find that monthly rates can be minimal and assist you in your plans. Options to look for include:
• Competitive interest rates, or fixed rates that work with your budget.
• Term length options, for short-term and long-term options.
• Loans that are secured and provide no downsides.
Financing a New Pool Means Doing Your Homework
Regarding the last point – for some, the option of a secured loan may be out of one’s reach, and there are numerous alternatives for those who seek to continue the pool-buying process. These paths often come with hidden risks that may work well for some, and for others, may not be ideal due to individual circumstances. Typical routes include:
• Home Equity Lines
• Second mortgages
• Unsecured Loans
And for many, it’s worth doing your research and learning more about what works best for you and your family, as well as your long-term budgetary needs.
Step 5: Begin Making Plans for Your Dream Pool
Congratulations! With the above steps firmly in place, you deserve a breather! Be sure to check your savings habits, track your progress, and follow-up with the construction and pool provider once the time draws near. When you have everything where you’d like it to be on the logistical front, make some time to focus on the features that will make your summer dream pool truly sparkle! Because you planned for it, already, the worries of not being able to afford furniture should be minimal. Revisit your list and begin exploring options for an outdoor patio table and chairs, BBQ grill, and for those like us who enjoy the shade as much as we do the sun, some year-round umbrellas. Accessories like these will help make your dream a comfortable reality!