Now that you’ve paid off debt and saved up enough money for an emergency fund, it’s time to start thinking about bigger financial goals. For many people, those goals include purchasing your first home. In order to qualify for a mortgage, you typically need a 20 percent down payment. Your down payment will also greatly influence how much your monthly mortgage will be. When money is tight, it may seem impossible to save enough for a down payment, but I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely possible! Follow these simple steps and learn how to stop spending money and start saving for a house. Buying a house may not be on your current to do list, but this can help you prepare for the future.
First, look at your budget. Where is your money going? I can guarantee it is probably mostly going towards rent, utilities and living expenses. How can you cut back any of the expenses or eliminate any of them altogether? Can you move back in with your parents, or can you stay with a sibling or friend? Offer to do chores around the house, clean, mow the lawn or run errands in exchange for room and board. It may not be ideal to move back home, but it is only temporary.
If moving in with your parents or a friend isn’t an option for you, contact your landlord and see if you can offer to help manage other properties he/she may own. Deliver rent slips, schedule maintenance calls or do yard work in exchange for a discount on your rent. Now remember the money you are saving by doing this needs to be put away into a separate savings account. Don’t go out and spend this new-found money no matter how tempting it may be.
Save all monetary gifts, bonuses and tax refunds. Anything extra that you make or receive needs to be saved. As much fun as it is to go out shopping it will be even more rewarding when you purchase your first home. Gift cards can be cashed in online at sites like giftcardgranny.com, but they may keep a small percentage. Let your friends and family know that you are saving for a house and that cash gifts for birthdays and holidays are appreciated.
Are you a collector? Whether it be antiques, name brand purses, or comic books, collections can be a gold mine if you are willing to put in the work and sell them. Start by researching online at sites like eBay and Amazon to see what your items are worth. The money you get by selling your collections can increase your down payment savings significantly. After my stepfather passed away, I used Decluttr, as well as Facebook groups, to sell his large collection of DVDs. Both were fairly quick and easy, and helped us clear everything out.
Coupons and discounts may seem like a hassle, but every penny saved will get you that much closer to your goal of purchasing a home. From groceries, to purchasing clothes or eating out, now-a-days you can pretty much find a coupon for everything. Plan your purchases ahead of time, search online and either print or show the coupon on your phone. Download apps like Groupon, Cartwheel, ibotta and Ebates to maximize your savings. Don’t forget, any money you save should be put into your down payment savings account.
I have earned over $50.00 back from ibotta (and I don’t even grocery shop) and over $340.00 back from Ebates. Ebates is a great way to save money and earn cash back on items you would normally buy anyway. If I need my Clinique makeup I will order it online to earn cash back from Ebates and pick it up at the local store while running errands. It also makes it easier for me to run in, grab my package and go without wandering around the store and buying things I don’t need.
For more money saving ideas be sure to check out the other posts in this series.