From navigating savings accounts to learning how to get a fixed rate bond, saving for your first home can be very difficult! While I don’t consider myself to be a financial expert, I do believe in saving when you can to achieve a big goal. It’s more than just clipping coupons–it’s an entire lifestyle change.
Tips to Save for Your First Home
I’m not looking at “big picture” things like make more money and investing. I’m looking at the little things you can do every day that can add up over time.
1. Create a Spending Log. Write down everything you spend EVERY day. You will be surprised at how your tiny purchases make your daily spending unreasonable. I created a log a while back and realized that I could go DAYS without spending a cent. It just required proper planning…and this is where number two comes into play.
2. Meal Plan. You will be less likely to splurge on take out if you already have the crock pot going or dinner defrosting. I know that when we go out to eat, it’s easy to drop $50 and that’s on a “cheap” restaurant. Two drinks, two entrees, tip… it adds up! I recommend using a service like Emeals that is easy, cheap (my year plan was free through their blogger program), and accessible on your iPhone so you always have your grocery shopping list on hand. Make your own coffee, bring your lunch, and make your favorite foods at home.
Try my meal planning printable to stay organized!
3. Learn How to Say No. It might be hard to miss a friend’s birthday or travel for a wedding, but sometimes you just have to say no. It is impossible to commit to every friend or family member’s event — especially if you are working with a small budget. Don’t skip out on your best friend’s bash (obviously), but think about how many commitments you can feasibly do without blowing your budget. Some of my friends have events EVERY weekend. That would be impossible to do on my budget (and I’m not saving for a house!). Learning to say no is very difficult, but making a plan for how many obligations you can do will make things easier as more invitations arrive.
4. Market Your Skills. You don’t have to get a part-time job bagging groceries, but it might be advantageous to do freelance or side work for a company in your field. Are you a good writer? Do you design websites? There are many creative gigs available through a variety of freelancing websites. Use your skills to your advantage. A few extra writing assignments a month can add up over time.
5. Cancel under-utilized “extras.” I’m talking CABLE. I am still shocked at the number of people I know that are cable subscribers when most of their favorite shows are available on Hulu. Cutting the cord is easy, and the dollars saved are huge. We at one time had a cable bill of $150…and I’m pretty sure that was the “basic” package. It’s ridiculous. Even if you can afford that bill with your budget, I find it crazy that it costs so much to watch television. Other under-utilized extras include unlimited packages on your smartphone, monthly memberships that you don’t use (the gym?), warehouse memberships (Sam’s Club, etc.), subscription services that are underwhelming (Birchbox, etc.). All the little “extras” certainly add up. Can you cut $200 from your monthly expenditures? I bet you can!
In our first home, we had jackfruit! We hope to buy another house with fruit trees.