Yes, you’re tired of apartment living and want to buy your own house, now what?
Well, if you don’t have a ton of cash locked away in the bank, a rich uncle, or a pile stored under your mattress, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
In fact, experts suggest saving up for a down payment is perhaps one of the hardest things to do for first-time buyers, behind a bad credit history, qualifying for a mortgage, and rising home prices.
While it may sound like a daunting task to save up to buy a home, it can be done with a few simple steps. But, as you embark on the road to owning a new house keep in mind, when saving up there’s more than a down payment to consider.
For example, there’s closing costs, escrow fees, and initial payments on taxes and insurance. All of these things can add up fast, so be prepared.
Start by examining every single dollar you spend — and keep pay attention to what you’re spending for the entire year or even longer.
How can saving money here and there add up? Well, it can. Here are some tips to help you save for a house in hopefully in one year.
Cut Your Rent
Monthly rent is most likely your biggest expense. If possible, move in with a friend, family member, or roommate to lower this expense for the year. In terms of cutting costs, sharing expenses is a perfect place to start.
Rethink What’s Truly a Must
Reducing your spending each month often comes down to asking yourself if you need something or do you just want it? When it comes to budgeting, ask if it’s a must-have or necessary in your life? In other words, can you live without a car and save on a car payment, car insurance, etc? If you live in a city or walkable neighborhood, try public transportation or ride-sharing services. You might be surprised by how much money you can save by going car-less.
Cut Back on Smaller Things
Small expenses include entertainment, clothes shopping, and trips to the local coffee shop. Instead, make your own coffee, do your own hair. Cut back on eating out or picking up take-out several times a week and make meals at home.
Change Typical Services
If you have a cell phone, insurance plans, and/or credit cards ask about discounts, rewards programs and return to basic plans. Leave all the extra bells and whistles behind for more basic plans.
Take on a Second Job
In addition to saving money, many first-time home buyers decide to take on a second job or work to add to their income. Why not if you have the time?
Out with the New, in with the Old
Instead of buying new items, think about used bookstores, clothing, and even furnishings instead of buying brand new. These days you can get just about everything and anything online. Or, if you have a closet full of items you don’t need, maybe sell them online and reap the cash. You might even have a few treasures stashed in the attic that could bring in a nice amount of cash.
Cut Back on Entertainment
Eliminate expensive entertainment: Don’t go to the movies as often, instead spend more time at home watching Netflix or renting a DVD from your local library. Think about exercising at home instead of paying for a gym membership (or finding free class in your neighborhood) these monthly cuts can help your budget monthly.
In the end, it’s all about sacrificing things in your normal life to get ahead and possibly finding yourself in a new home within a year’s time.