In a previous article, we broke down the budget required to save $50,000 for a down payment in two years. Now that we have a clearer picture of the budget, here are some savings hacks to meet your goal.
Always remember to pay yourself first! The whole point is to roll the money you would have spent and any extra income into a savings account, money market account, or short-term certificate of deposits.
Also remember that these are just temporary habits until you buy your house. Adopt a few suggestions until you form a new savings habit, and then keep challenging yourself to take on a little more. When life happens and you stop saving, just start up again when you can.
Downsize into a smaller space with lower rent.
Move into a lower cost neighborhood.
Move in with family or friends.
Get a roommate.
Cost Of Living
Negotiate Rates, Switch or Share Plans
Reduce Utility Bills
Turn your thermostat up a few degrees up when it's hot outside and down when it's cold.
Unplug unused electronics from wall outlets because it still draws power.
Take shorter showers.
Use your energy efficient dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes because it uses less water.
Walk or bike to your destination.
Carpool with neighbors, friends, and or co-workers.
Drive the speed limit.
Keep your tires inflated at the proper pressure because this gives you better gas mileage.
Keep up with your car's maintenance schedule so little issues won't turn into bigger ones.
Pay for gas with gift cards that offer rebates. Gift Card Granny is a great website.
Food & Beverage
Cook and entertain potlucks at home.
Go out to eat for special occasions only.
Drink more water. You'll feel fuller faster, get less cavities, and need less teeth brightening sessions.
Skip alcohol, appetizers, and dessert when eating out.
Stop using delivery services and pick up your own food.
Buy and stock items when they go on sale.
Buy generic brands.
Buy in bulk.
Meal prep, eat the leftovers, and/or freeze the rest.
Bring your lunch to work.
Drink coffee and adult beverages at home.
Debt & Credit Cards
Choose a credit card company that offers cash back, rewards, and no annual fees.
Call your card company and ask for lower interest rates and if they charge an annual fee ask them to waive the fee. They would much rather work with you so you can keep making your payments on time.
Use the Debt Avalanche strategy to pay off your debts the fastest. If you're not as diligent about finances and/or you're not comfortable with your current monthly payments, then use the Debt Snowball strategy. Use this calculator and see the payment plan differences in the 'Monthly Payments Chart': Unburry.me
Increase Your Income
Think of it this way, $12,080 a year is just $232.31 per week. Here are some suggestions to add an additional $232.31 to your income per week:
Ask For A Raise or Promotion
Make your employer aware of your intent to buy a new house and ask for a raise. You can also ask for a promotion or added responsibilities to justify a raise.
Break it down for your employer so they'll see what you're worth much easier. For example, asking to add $70 to your paycheck twice a month sounds much more doable than asking for a 3% or $1,680 increase.
If a raise isn't in your cards, you can negotiate better benefits. Perhaps you can get more PTO; higher HSA savings; parking lot credits; travel reimbursements; child care credit; tuition reimbursement, etc.
Work Overtime - Hooray for 1.5x pay!
Get a part-time job. Or better yet, start your own side hustle. The following have low barriers to entry and do not require much initial investment.
Lawn Care & Landscaping
Power Wash Homes & Sidewalks
Freelance - Fiverr/UpWork
Ride Sharing - Lyft/Uber
Delivery - Grub Hub/Door Dash/Instacart/Shipt
Dog Walking - Rover/Wag
Skills, Chores & Tasks - Task Rabbit
Service Industry - SnapShyft
Share Your Stuff
Second Car - Turo.com
House or Spare Room - VRBO/AirBnb/Couch Surfer
Storage Closet/Garage Space - Neighbor.com
Stop and Cancel Subscriptions
Gym Membership - Go outside to walk; run; bike; swim; play intramural sports; garden. Watch workout classes on YouTube.
TV and Streaming Services - Watch free movies on Tubi/YouTube/Kodi
Cut Off Paid Music Services - Use free versions that play ads.
Quit Vices - It's time to stop anyways.
Forego Vacation - Have a staycation and explore your own city.
DIY Self Care and/or Reduce Frequency of Services - Invite your sisters and friends for a girl's night.
More DIY - YouTube has a plethora of wonderful tutorials.
Grow Your Own Food
Minor Home Repairs
Buy less. Buy used. Buy generic. Shop at consignment or thrift stores. Repair what you have instead of replacing it. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned. Just remember to put the savings away into your down payment account.
Never pay full price. Everything eventually goes on sale if you have the patience to wait. If you can, use a coupon or rebate on top of a sale to maximize your savings! Also, if you're shopping anyway, why not get paid to shop? We use the websites below because they actually pay out without jumping through major loops. Some links are referral links so we may earn a commission every time you sign up. If any of this is helpful, please use our links to support us. You may find yourself referring your own family and friends because of the value that you've received!
iBotta - Scan Grocery Receipts
Microsoft Rewards - Online Shopping
Honey App - Online Shopping
Gift Card Granny - Shopping
Use the GoodRX app to find the lowest prices for your prescription medications.
Switch to generic brands.
Stop buying new clothes unless it's replacing a worn piece.
Hold a clothing swap party with your friends.
Shop for gently used clothes at consignment stores.
Shop for unbranded or off-label clothes.
Check your city's local calendar for free local activities and events.
Attend free outdoor concerts or listen to tribute bands.
Sign up for sweepstakes and giveaways.
Go to the library to rent books. They also offer many free resources and activities.
Temporarily Pause Retirement Investments - Divert the funds into your short-term down payment savings account.
Roth IRA Withdrawal - This is a last resort. Talk with a financial adviser and ask how this would affect the trajectory of your long-term retirement goals. However if you absolutely need to, the IRS allows first-time homebuyers to withdrawal up to $10,000 of your account's earnings tax and penalty free (as of 2022). You'll have to consult your tax adviser on how to report the withdrawal even though its tax and penalty free.
Monetary Gifts - Let your family know about your goals and ask if they can help in any way.
Good luck your home buying journey!