How to save for your first home

 

So me and my boyfriend recently managed to save up a deposit to buy our first home. It’s been a long process but one that I think is well worth it, especially as ever since I was little I dreamed of owning and transforming my own place. I have always had such a passion for interiors, so with the added bonus of the security that owning your own home gives you, it just felt right. Unfortunately we all know that these days it’s not quite as easy to get a mortgage let alone save for a deposit, so I thought i’d share with you all exactly how we have managed to do it, in the hope that any of you who are wishing to get your foot on the property ladder, get a shot of owning your own home too.

Stay With Your Parents (If You Can).
Now I know this may be easier said than done, especially if you have been to university or moved out already and got some independence, then the last thing you will be wanting to do is stay in your family home again. But trust me, you will thank me for it later. Once I had left university I stayed with my parents for 18 months to save as much money as possible before I moved out and during that time I was having a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, so the temptation to just up and move in with him was massive. But I knew I would thank myself for it later down the line and it was an investment in our future together. To be honest staying with my parents was great, I have a fantastic relationship with my parents and they were so kind in letting me stay there rent free so that I could build up my savings much quicker, but even if you do end up paying your parents some rent, I bet it will be a damn sight cheaper than what you would spend on living in your own place, once you add on bills and food. Plus think of the positives, you will probably end up sharing the housework, so you wont have to make dinner and wash up every night like you do when you live in your own place.

Review Your Finances
Looking through your in-goings and out-goings can be so valuable to see where your money is going. It’s amazing how a few drinks at the pub, once a week, can start adding up. I sat down with a notepad and tallied up what food, going out, shopping, running my car etc. cost me and then I looked at what I could cut out to save me some money. This including things like me trying to find cheaper alternatives, if I couldn’t cut them out all together, such as finding cheaper car insurance. Once I had done that, it made me more conscious of how much things were costing me and I would restrict myself more, whilst still having a good time and treating myself every now and then.

Set an Amount to Save Every Month and Stick to it
This is something I stuck to religiously. I looked at what was the largest, yet most realistic amount for me to save every month and I made sure I did it. Once I got my paycheck I would transfer that money into a savings account so that I wasn’t able to spend it. I think for me if I hadn’t put that money away immediately at the start of every month I could have easily dipped into it when I went on a night out or spent the day shopping with friends, but since I never really saw that money in my bank account I wasn’t tempted to spend it.

Save What is Left Over at the End of the Month
If I ever had anything left over at the end of each month I tended to pop that towards my savings as I knew even a spare £20 here and there would all add up over time and accumulate into something bigger. It may not seem much but it all adds up and it’s actually quite fun to see your savings account grow!

Do Your Research
Even before you are starting to seriously look at buying a house, it is worth researching some of the government schemes and ISAs which are designed to help first time buyers. For example with the help of the UK government you can now buy homes with just a 5% deposit, so if you’re buying a £200,000 home, you will need to save £10,000 as a deposit, which is still a lot of money, but it is a hell of a lot less than what deposit rates used to be. Alternatively you can buy a proportion of your home and part own it with the government, using a shared ownership scheme, if you cannot quite afford the full amount of your home. Whatever your circumstances now is a good time to get searching online and making inquiries into what help is out there as the government is well aware of how hard it is for first time buyers and there is support out there.

Look at Savings Accounts
I discovered the government help to buy ISAs which offer to add £50 to your total, for every £200 you put in – that’s essentially adding 25% to your pot of money. Unfortunately there is a cap on how much you can put in each month (max £200) and on the total savings you can have in the account before they will stop topping it up (max £12,000). But either way that extra money has helped us considerably and especially as both me and my boyfriend were able to have our own accounts. We were both able to save £200 each month and with the extra £50 each topping us up, this made our monthly savings £500. ISAs in general are a great way to save money because in most cases the money is locked into the account for a certain amount of months or years, which is really helpful if you are trying to be strict with your savings and you are at the start of your house saving journey. However they’re not so good if you think you will be buying anytime soon, as you may have to pay a penalty for withdrawing your money early. With that being said it’s always a good idea not to put all your money into an ISA as we all know rainy days do happen and it is good to have some cash in an accessible bank account if any unforeseen bills creep up on you.

Sell Your Old Stuff
Me and James did several ‘clear outs’ when we were saving (and still do) to free up some extra cash. My parent’s garage was full of things we didn’t use any more, so it was the perfect place to start to find things we could sell. We would regularly round up old toys, furniture, clothes etc. and take them to a local car boot (FYI if you haven’t done a car boot before they are great fun), we would always make at least £50ish, sometimes over £100, for things we weren’t even using. I also would sell things on gumtree or ebay or depop so that we could round up all the spare cash we could get. One thing I found useful to do is to put the cash in a safe place straight away and not in your purse, unless before you know if your dipping into the profits and your savings won’t benefit.

 

I hope some of these tips were useful in helping you think of ways to save up your money and hopefully get you on the property ladder as soon as possible. I think the main thing to remember is be strict with yourself but don’t stop yourself from having fun. It’s easy to go out and spend money without much thought when you’re earning but you will be so grateful for all those sacrifices you made when your in your new home.

Olivia x

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