As I’ve already mentioned, custom skis are an investment. Though the benefits will pay off in the long run, you may be looking for ways to mitigate seasonal costs while you save for (or recover from) this big purchase. We have the realistic budgeting tips you need to get through the first few seasons after purchasing custom skis—and you don’t even have to give up your apres-ski.

Let’s start with additional equipment. If you’re investing in custom skis this year, you probably won’t be purchasing a new coat or snow pants any time soon. However, sometimes timing doesn’t quite line up, and you could end up needing some new ski equipment and apparel in addition to your custom skis. When this is the case, shop seasonally and smart. Make big purchases, such as coats, thermal apparel, and snow pants in the summer, when outlets have gigantic blow-out sales in an attempt to clear out their inventory. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional discounts, and keep an eye out for missing buttons, tears, or stains.

Next up: lift ticket savings. If you’re purchasing custom skis, you probably know enough about the sport to purchase season passes early and in advance. Most resorts will release a first round of discounted season passes in the summer, so be on the look-out for announcements. Looking to save even more? Get a bunch of friends together and buy your passes at the same time; some resorts will offer discounted family passes. If you’re not tied to a mountain, shop around for cheaper alternatives to your current resort.

Now, you’ve done all the seasonal preparation you can muster. You’ve purchased the least expensive season pass you could find, bought discounted apparel, and are waiting for the season to start. Not so fast: if you ski at a resort, you’re likely to fall into money traps. The worst culprit? Lodge food. Think of your resort’s cafeteria like you would an airport Starbucks—everything is marked up 100%, it tastes old, and you’d be better off bringing something you made at home. So, that’s exactly what you should do. Make a few sandwiches, stuff a few bags of chips in the cooler, and head out to the resort. Remember: if you save money on lunch, you can afford a beer or two at the end of the day.

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