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boat loans, great lakes, boat
Hit the water, not your wallet: 8 simple steps to save for a boatBy MSGCU on 7/8/2024


If you’ve visited one of our many lakes here in Michigan, you’ve probably seen several boats on the water. Maybe it inspired you to hit the waves yourself, but you don’t have a vessel of your own or know where to begin. Figuring out how to afford a boat of your own doesn’t have to be hard. Follow these simple steps to set sail on your next adventure.

1. Do your research

Before you get started, decide what kind of boat you’ll be looking to purchase and whether you’re mainly going to be spending time on inland lakes or the big water. Spend time researching your options and calculating how much buying and owning a boat will cost. Include upfront costs, monthly payments, storage, insurance, fuel, boating lessons, safety gear, and license fees.

2. Create a savings goal

Now, create a realistic savings goal that will make your boat purchase possible. This goal may be buying the boat in full, or a down payment. Establish a timeline for your goal and divide the total by the number of months that will pass until you are ready to buy that boat. This number is the amount you will need to save each month. If it is too high, you’ll need to lengthen your timeline.

MSGCU recommends creating a secondary share savings account and specifically naming it “new boat” (or something similar).

3. Review your monthly budget

Take a look at how much money you spend and earn each month. Track your expenses and income for a month or two until you have this information. As you review, consider how a boat payment will factor in to and impact your monthly budget.

4. Identify your trouble areas

Take a closer look at how you’ve been spending money on fluctuating expenses. What are the biggest pitfalls? Which spending category is draining your wallet dry? Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll be better prepared to cut back to make your boat dreams a reality.

5. Trim your budget

Start with the biggest money hole and brainstorm for ways you can tighten the strings. Once you’ve got a few good ideas in place, move on to other areas. Continue until you’ve trimmed enough back to reach your monthly savings goal.

6. Make it automatic

You’ve got your numbers worked out – now let’s make it happen! The best way to ensure you stick to your plan is to make it automatic. You can do this by linking your checking and savings account and setting up an automatic transfer in your chosen amount to go through once a month or every paycheck. You can set this up in Online or Mobile Banking. Or feel free to stop by or give us a call or chat; we’ll be happy to help you set this up.

7. Boost your income

If you want to speed things up, look for ways to earn extra money to put toward your boat. A side hustle, like freelancing or working a weekend job, can help you hit the waves a whole lot sooner.

8. Shop smart

Once your goal is within reach, start shopping for the boat of your dreams. Don’t lock yourself into your original number. If you find a boat that’s a lot cheaper than you anticipated, that’s great! Use the extra cash to jumpstart your next big savings goal or have a reserve ready for boating gear, fuel, insurance, or other necessities.

With competitive rates as low as 7.49% APR for new and used boat, we’re ready to help get you on the water.

Want additional financial guidance to make your boat dreams a reality?

We have certified financial counselors at all of our branches that can help you budget and get you pre-qualified to shop once you’re ready. Call, chat, or visit one of our convenient branch locations to get started.

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Category: Finance

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