Dean Sarris' Blog
The idea of homeownership can seem daunting if you doubt you can save up a down payment. After all, even a modest house on a conventional mortgage requires twenty percent plus the closing costs. When saving up seems out of reach, try these creative tips to grow your nest egg:
A lofty word for a simple idea, delaying gratification means doing without for now so that to attain a specific goal. Nearly every budget has discretionary funds—what’s left over after paying rent, utilities, and other necessary bills. Once you’ve identified what’s left over, you get to decide how to spend it. When homeownership is the goal, some purchases become less necessary, and others can wait until you’ve attained your objective.
First, open a savings account specifically for your down payment. Consider setting it up in a credit union or a different bank from your regular financial institution so that the extra effort it takes to move it into your regular account mitigates the temptation to use it to pay bills.
Then, consider ditching these items for less expensive alternatives (or altogether) and putting the savings directly into your new account. Treat the savings as an expense, the same way you did the bill payment, or else the extra funds could just slip away:
- Gym membership: finding a less expensive gym or utilizing a local park for workouts could save you an extra $35-50 per month.
- Dump satellite or cable. Try to opt for less expensive online streaming alternatives or plan regular evenings with friends to share viewing your favorite shows. Depending on the plan you have, savings can really add up and more time socializing with friends is a bonus.
- Instead of expensive meals out, plan a movie or game night at home. Invite friends and share potluck or have everyone bring ingredients to cook together.
- Local libraries have current books, DVDs, audiobooks, and magazines so make a habit of stopping there to check them out instead of paying for your own. Many electronic media memberships have options for sharing with a friend or family member and qualifying for free books and audios.
- Make saving a game. See who saves the most each week—you or your spouse/partner—and allow that person one small indulgence—a latte, for example, or an evening free of the children for a spa bath.
Set a price on each of these events and pay that amount into your savings account. If you don’t isolate the savings, you’ll find it harder to keep it up.
Find alternative income
You could take a second job to add to your savings or a freelance gig. Put 100 percent of what you've paid into your savings account. Other options include monetizing a hobby (if it doesn’t cost you more money than you make) to sell online or through local outlets. Perform seasonal jobs such as raking leaves, shoveling snow or washing windows.
Put all loose change in a piggy bank (or coin jar). Determine to spend only paper money, then save all the loose change. When the jar or bank is full, take the coins to the bank or a coin-counting machine. Discipline yourself to put the cash in your savings account though so it doesn't slip through your fingers.
As you near your savings goals, reach out to your real estate professional for tips on finding the perfect home in your budget.
You've assessed your budget, changed your habits, and made spending cuts but you still need to reach your down payment faster. Consider these significant steps to help you get there.
- Take on a second part-time job. If your work schedule allows you to add a second job find a part-time option that will enable you to earn one or two thousand dollars more each month. If you are part of a couple, each partner can get a light part-time job without feeling overloaded. Bonus—occupying your time more does help lead to less spending and more saving! Tutor students, pet sit, or take a steady part-time gig!
- Move back home, move in with extended family, or get a roommate. If your family is on board with the changes you need to make to meet your financial goals, consider moving in with someone in your family to pay lower rent and save tens of thousands over one year. If family help isn't an option, consider getting a roommate or moving into a two-bedroom apartment and adding a roommate to lower your monthly rent.
- Review your belongings for big-ticket items you can sell. Do you live in an area with excellent public transportation? Consider selling your expensive, gas-guzzling car or getting out of your costly lease. Do either you or your spouse work at home, but you both own a car? See if you can help fund your savings by downsizing to one vehicle for the next year to save more.
- Sell unworn jewelry and have broken pieces melted down for cash.
- Skip vacations for a year, or even two! And during your vacation time, take on an extra job so when you head back to work you’ve earned a bit chunk to add to your savings kitty.
- If your owning a home in the near future is a top priority, take a break from your retirement fund at work and redirect those funds into your savings account. (Only take this step if you are completely committed to reaching your down payment goal within a year or two at most since you lose the value of compounding those funds toward your retirement for the life of the account.
- Direct all your tax refund and any annual bonuses into your savings!
Remember, this isn’t a forever deal. You’re not signing on for an austere life ongoing. It’s just temporary to reach a goal. Your real estate professional can help you get started by determining how much you need to set aside for your down payment.
You want to buy a house, but you know that you need to save as much money as possible for a down payment. Although you've tried to save money in the past, your best efforts have failed to help you collect the funds that you'll need to make a down payment on your dream residence.
Let's face it – saving for a home can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to offer creative ways to help you get the money that you'll need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Now, let's take a look at three creative ways to save for a down payment on a house.
1. Start a Friendly Competition
Competition often brings out the best in homebuyers. Much in the same vein, you and your friends may be able to compete against one another to see who can save the most money for a down payment on a home.
If you and your friends intend to buy a home together or separately, a friendly competition can make a world of difference in getting the required funds for a down payment. In fact, you can even award the winner of this competition with an "Ultimate Saver" trophy or other fun prizes.
Ultimately, a friendly competition is a great way to have fun with friends and save money for a down payment on a house at the same time. Regardless of who wins the competition, you'll notice that your down payment savings will increase, moving you one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Use a Rewards System
Saving for a down payment on a home may seem like a long, arduous process. However, if you build rewards into your day-to-day savings efforts, you can earn incentives as you reach various milestones.
For instance, you may want to reward yourself with a special dinner every time that you reach a savings milestone. Or, you can always celebrate hitting a savings milestone with a trip to the dog park with your puppy.
3. Trim the Fat from Your Budget
It sometimes can be tough to remove cable TV, takeout meals and other excess items from your budget. But if you consider the long-term benefits of these short-term sacrifices, you may be better equipped than ever before to save significant funds for a down payment on a home.
Look closely at your daily, weekly and monthly budgets. Then, you can determine which budget items are essential and which are not and trim the fat from your budget accordingly. This will allow you to speed up the process of saving for a down payment on a house and ensure that you can achieve your homeownership dream faster than ever before.
Lastly, as you prepare to explore available homes, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for extra help. By hiring a real estate agent, you can get the assistance that you need to discover a great house that falls within your price range.
You’ve been thinking it for a while: “I really should start putting some money aside for a down payment.” But, you just can’t seem to find any wiggle room in your budget.
You’re not alone. Saving for a down payment isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve got rent, car payments, student loans, and are trying to put money aside for retirement.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how to make a game plan for your down payment. This way, you can start saving immediately, bringing you closer to your goal of homeownership each day.
Step 1: Give each dollar a job
The first rule of budgeting is that you need to know where each dollar you earn ends up. From there, you can start re-allocating funds to the things you want to save for.
There are many apps and tools available to help you out with this process, including YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Mint. If apps aren’t your thing, you can always use a simple spreadsheet.
First, account for all of your income. This could include your salary, rental income, or other forms of money that you have coming in.
Next, detail each of your weekly and monthly expenses. Everything from groceries to the internet bill and retirement contributions.
Step 2: Reassess your expenses
Now it’s time to make some tough decisions. Are there ways you can cut down on your weekly or monthly expenses? Maybe you aren’t using that Amazon Prime membership as much as you thought you would. Or, maybe you’ve decided you don’t really watch anything on cable but the news. There are a number of ways one might cut back on their monthly bills.
Get creative with family plans, bulk shopping for food, or cooking budget-friendly meals. All of these savings will add up quickly.
Step 3: Pay off small debts with high interest
Let’s face it, if you have thousands of dollars in student loans, you might not be able to aggressively pay them down by the time you want to move out of your apartment.
But, for small debts (under $1,000 credit card debt, for example), you could save more in the long run by paying them off and avoiding interest payments.
Step 4: Be smart about your savings
With the right savings account and credit card, you can earn money through savings interest and through cashback rewards on credit cards.
First, find a savings account with the highest possible interest rate. These can often be found from choosing an online bank who doesn’t have the overhead of running branches.
Next, direct deposit a set amount of your paycheck each week into that savings account. This way, you can be sure that you won’t dip into your down payment savings.
To generate additional income, you can use cash back rewards from credit cards for things like groceries and gas. Choose a credit card that offers the best cash back rewards for things like groceries and gas purchases. The key here is to only use your credit card on necessities and to always pay off the card in full at the end of each month.
If you follow these four steps, you should be able to streamline your down payment savings process and start saving right now.