As they frequently seem to do, housing costs are rising. No surprise there, but this makes saving for a future home—especially your first home—harder than ever. Rather than throwing in the towel, learn how to save for a home using these practical and creative ideas.
1. Know what you can afford
Before you even start looking at homes, it’s important to understand what you can afford. Factor in basic requirements (location, size, amenities) and calculate your prospective monthly mortgage payment.
2. Create a monthly budget
Putting together a realistic monthly family budget will allow you to better understand how much you need to spend on regular expenses like bills and groceries. This will make it easier to plan your savings accordingly.
3. Eliminate your vices
What do you spend money on that you don’t need to? Whether you decide on cutting out junk food, canceling your weekly trip to the liquor store or only eating meat once or twice a week, chances are there are plenty of ways to cut back. And if you’re a smoker, this is definitely the time to quit—this could potentially save you thousands a year.
4. Set up separate accounts
Create a savings account that is separate from your regular account, and use it exclusively for your future home savings. That way, you won’t find yourself accidentally spending your hard-earned savings without even realizing it.
5. Automate your savings
Once your separate savings account is set up, talk to the payroll department at work about automatically depositing part of your paycheck into this account. Automation is a great solution if you have trouble setting aside money on your own.
6. Pick up a side gig
Earning more helps you save more, especially if you get a small side job. Even if you’re only able to pick up an extra shift or two every week, this extra cash can still be set aside for your new home.
7. Scale back
Hate to break it to you, but you might have to eliminate some comforts, especially the ones that are costing you money. Drop your gym membership and start working out at home. Eat out less. Trade in your gas-guzzling car for a cheaper, more fuel-efficient model. Buy generic instead of name brands.
8. Save your windfalls
When you get your tax return or receive an unexpected raise at work, resist the urge to look at this as free money to spend on whatever you want. Rather, stash away your windfalls to pad your new-home fund.
9. Limit ATM use
Sure, ATMs are convenient, but they make it way too easy to get money on a whim and spend it on impulse purchases. Plus, when you use another bank’s ATM, you’ll probably get stuck with an unnecessary fee. Limit your ATM usage to once a week and only withdraw what you need.
10. Rent out your rental
Assuming you’re permitted to do so, bring in some extra money by subletting your apartment, renting out a spare room or posting a listing on Airbnb.
11. Be flexible
Compromising on your savings plan can feel like a failure, but it’s important to be flexible. Unexpected expenses can arise at any time, whether these involve a car repair or a medical issue. Understanding this from the beginning will allow you to roll with these changes.
Contact us at MileStone Community Builders today to learn more about how to save for a home. Our team is here to help you every step of the way as you search for your dream home in Austin, Texas.