Buying a house is exciting – the many costs that come with it, not so much.
Saving for a down-payment on a home is one of the most significant stressors for first-time buyers. Considering that the average down-payment ranges between 10-20%, the idea of making such large sums available can feel overwhelming, if not impossible, for many buyers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking some simple steps, you can boost your savings account ahead of your home purchase, making that down-payment far less intimidating. These eight simple money-saving tips will help you on your way to homeownership.
A down-payment doesn’t need to stand in the way of the perfect home.
1. Size Up Your Memberships
Maybe you got that gym membership thinking you’d finally get the motivation to get in shape – but you can’t bring yourself to get there. Cancel any superfluous memberships or subscriptions to cut down your monthly bills to what you need. Do you have to have multiple streaming subscriptions and cable TV? Can you rent movies from your local library for free?
2. Make Your Savings Automatic
Do you have an active savings strategy, or do you just casually transfer money between your accounts from time-to-time? If it’s not the former, then it’s time to change your mindset.
Look into apps that will automatically transfer funds to your saving account, or set up automatic transfers directly with your bank. Just by adding small amounts on a regular basis, you’ll be surprised at how much your savings can grow.
3. Sell Extra Stuff
Not only is a yard sale helpful for cleaning out your home, but it’s also a great way to get some extra money. Your unwanted items may be someone else’s prized possession, so go through closets, attic, storage, and shelves to see what you can find.
You can also go online with your sales, and sell items on popular websites. If you go this way, remember that shipping can be costly, so don’t try and sell a $100 bureau from your grandmother to someone across the country. Look into apps and retail locations where you can sell items like clothing, which have much easier shipping requirements.
Sell unwanted goods, and you’ll have extra money for your savings.
4. Go Generic
Don’t be wooed by big-name brands when at the grocery store, and instead, opt for generic options. These are often the same products, so you’re paying a markup only for a brand name.
5. Make Your Food
Dining out can drain your finances, so consider not eating lunch at a restaurant and making your food at home instead. You’ll end up saving money and eating healthier.
The same goes for dining out at night. You don’t need to destroy your social life, but you can come up with options like potluck dinners at home that take the cost burden off of everyone.
6. Survey Your Fees
The thing with fees is that we don’t notice them unless we take a closer look. Late payment fees are the most common type of fees when it comes to credit cards, so make sure all payments are on time. Do you carry a balance on your credit card? You may be paying significantly more each month. Know the fee schedule for your accounts, and find ways to pay off high balances, so you aren’t losing extra money.
Put your skills to use for some extra income.
7. Get A Side Job
Do you have any skills that could be put to use in your downtime? There is potential income in everything from house cleaning to logo design, so think about what you can do to increase your revenue.
8. Skip The Starbucks
Every time you buy a cup of coffee you are paying a huge markup on something you can make for free. Just compare the price of a bag of coffee grounds to a cup of coffee from a vendor, and you’ll see how much you can be saving. Get a coffee maker for work and take your coffee with you in the morning to start saving.
It’s always a good idea to start boosting your savings if you’re ready to buy a house, and it’s also important to find the right loan structure, both when it comes to your down-payment and to get the best mortgage rates.