Five Tips to Help You Save Up for a House



My partner and I plan on buying a house after next year, and this is a list of five things that will help us, and possibly other first home buyers that are reading this. This is our topmost priority, taking place right above our wedding and everything else. I've always wanted my own home, somewhere on the outskirts of the city where I can have a (smaller than) small farm raising ducks, goats and pigs and a vegetable garden large enough to rival Bilbo Baggins. And enough space in the backyard to build a hobbit hole, of course.

1. Set a Date and Budget: This first tip is quite important, because it sets everything in motion, and if you're determined, you'll be able to see it through without delay. Setting yourself a time frame gives you something to look forward to, and it makes it so much easier to put down that delectable hunk of cheese. Secondly, having a realistic budget plan will help you along the road, as it puts things in order and you can keep on top of payments and bills. Be realistic, don't set yourself impossible goals of saving $3000 per month if you can't afford it. When working out a budget, include; food, rent, petrol, bills and everything else into the equation. Decide how much you want your first home to be, and calculate the monthly mortgage repayments, because the amount you put into savings should reflect that, more or less. This is so that you don't need to make budget adjustments when you buy the property, and once you stop paying rent, you'll have a lot of disposable income as a result. Two years is a decent amount of time, though you can shorten or lengthen it depending on your income, your living situation, and your outgoings. At the end of your paying week, fortnight or month, transfer the rest of the remaining funds to the savings account instead of just letting it roll over into the next pay.

2. Limit Your Expenditures: This is a bit of a no brainer - simply cut down on dining out, takeaway, shopping trips, on any activity that requires you spend your money. Take advantage of vouchers and massive discounts, and Aussies, if you're with Telstra, you can get $12.50 tickets for adults at all Village Cinemas, likewise if you're with Optus, with whom you can get the $11 tickets for Hoyts and a few other cinemas. Sign up for a membership/loyalty card/mailing list with all of your favourite haunts. Do your research, find the best deals when it comes to an item you want/need - can you find something similar with a different brand and lower price tag? Can you wait for Boxing Day, EOFY, Mother's Day, or other sales? Look online, maybe you can find it there for cheaper.  Book Depository is my favourite site for books. Can you trade your services with someone in return for their help in buying something for you?  For example, I traded a mineral specimen for someone to make a Milani order for me, and I didn't pay a cent aside from shipping the specimen to the US.

3. Use Your Hobbies: I have a few hobbies that allow me to make a little extra cash on the side. It comes in handy when I want to cushion the budget, and have more leg room when it comes to shopping for groceries. I do cake decorating, makeup for my friends and family, and sell mineral specimens for a friend. Is there anything you can do to make money? Could you make clothes to order? Can you make little terrariums and sell them? What about custom-made jewellery? Or buying old furniture from second-hand stores, fixing them up and selling them for a profit? I plan on doing the latter when I move into a bigger rental, time permitting.


4. Limit Your Spending on Groceries: Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in season and at markets rather than supermarkets, or better yet, try to grow your own produce if you have the time and the green thumb. This here is a link to the Vegie Guide, which shows you what you can grow in your area according to the month. Properly doing your research with each vegetable can help you maximise your yield. Shop at clearance and bargain food stores: for Aussies, this would be NQR and Aldi. Don't be afraid of buying canned goods, pastes, and preservatives past the use-by date, they won't hurt you unless they've previously been opened. Bear in mind that this advice is coming from a qualified pastry chef, so if I say using a three-month-old sealed jar of Thai curry paste is okay, you can trust me on that. Speaking of which, I scored a dozen jars of red curry paste for just $3 at NQR, knowing full well that they are perfectly harmless.

5. Find Cheaper Rent: Unless you're one of the lucky bastards still living at their parents house, I highly recommend finding a much cheaper rental to live in. The further from the city boundaries you look, the cheaper the rent will be, and you will be able to live much more comfortably yet put a substantial amount into your savings every month. For example, you'll be hard pressed to find a two bedroom unit in Richmond for lower than $350 a week, whereas if you ventured out towards Deer Park, you can snap up the same for just $260. That's a saving of $4,680, which goes a long way towards your first home deposit. Just make sure that your new rental has close access to public transport, so that you can reduce your petrol usage.

So here are my five tips for saving money to go towards your first home. My partner and I have been a bit slack with tip number two over the past two weeks, though we're reigning that in this week and keeping a cap on our spending. We're in the process of looking for another rental to move into, just so that we can have a place to ourselves. This is actually one of the main reasons why updates to this blog has been infrequent of late, and I apologise for letting that, and my job search, get in the way of blogging. Wish us luck in our rental search!


Photos sourced from Pixabay


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