By Martin A. Smith, CRPC®, AIFA®, President, Retirement Planning Financial Advisor™, Wealthcare Financial Group,...
Are you struggling to save money for your down payment? Buying a home is a big step–and for many people, it’s the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make. A solid down payment is the best way to get an affordable home loan and make sure that you’re prepared for home ownership, but it can also feel daunting to try to save up 20% of the purchase price of a house. Here are several strategies you can use to help increase the funds you have in your hands.
Tip #1: Take Money Out of the First of Each Paycheck
When you’re genuinely committed to saving money, you save first–before you do any “fun” spending. Often, when you get paid, you’re ready to splurge whether it’s on those items you don’t really need at the grocery store or heading out for a night of fun. Before you do any of that, take money out once you get paid and set it aside in a savings account. This simple step will allow your savings to increase faster than you think!
Bonus if you can automate this step by setting up the savings portion to go directly from your paycheck to your savings, before it hits your checking account. You won’t see it and you certainly won’t miss it!
Tip #2: Consider What You’re Willing to Give Up
Your home savings plan is a long-term strategy. Giving up your once-a-month Starbucks probably isn’t going to make a big difference in your savings, but choosing to brown bag it instead of buying lunch when you’re at work can transform your savings. There are just two things to keep in mind when you’re considering what to give up. First, this is a long-term sacrifice, so it has to be something that you’re able to live with on an ongoing basis. Second, it needs to be something big enough to make a difference.
Tip #3: Bank All Extra Funds
It’s your birthday and your parents have slipped you $200 to mark the occasion. Your tax return has come in. You’ve gotten an unexpected bonus at work. Whatever “extra” money you have coming in, resist the urge to splurge. Instead, move that money to the savings account for the down payment on your home. By banking those extra funds instead of spending them on things that you don’t really need, you can watch your savings account grow by leaps and bounds.
Tip #4: Shift Your Next Raise to the House Fund
In many industries, you can expect to see a raise in your paycheck every year. When your next raise shows up, start automatically placing the full amount in your savings account as part of your down payment plan. If you wait even a short period of time, chances are, your spending will adjust to reflect your new income, and you’ll struggle to save. On the other hand, if you make that shift early, you’ll find that it’s easier to continue saving those funds.
Tip #5: Plan Your Splurges
You’re on a tight financial budget as you try to save up for the down payment on your house. While having a solid strategy in place is great, make sure you build some splurges into your plan. When you try to restrict yourself too much, it’s easy to start convincing yourself that you “deserve” the very things you’re trying to deny yourself in order to reach your big goal. Suddenly, you’ve blown your budget, and your goal feels like it’s out of reach. When you build in that splurge money, however, you know exactly how much you have to spend on impractical things. As a result, you’ll have more control of your spending.
Saving for a home is a big step–but it’s one that is well worth it. By implementing these strategies, you can quickly raise the money for your down payment and get started with life in your new home.
For more ways to save, sign up for our free Financial Checkup. We’ll work with you one-on-one to help you get on the right financial track.
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