How I saved for my first home

This is part of a newly created series of real stories by everyday people. The first one is brought to you by Dvdendo’s resident marketing expert.

Set Goals

In July of 2014, my now husband and I bought our first home. Anyone who has purchased a house knows the intense amount of paperwork and money that goes into it. Not only did we need to save for a downpayment, but we bought a house built in 1924! That meant that just about every room needed to be updated. First, we needed a hefty amount to actually buy the house, and then we needed even more to renovate it!

Save

We were diligent to save a set amount from our paychecks each week, and any extra money that came in was set aside as well. I strongly recommend a side job if you can swing it! I helped small businesses out with marketing for 6 months and was able to save all of that for this big purchase. Anything from babysitting to tutoring to yard sales will help you get some extra cash.

Spend Wisely

On top of that, if you are planning to buy your first home, it’s a great idea to live frugally before you do. If you can rent an inexpensive place – do it! We had a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment prior (600 square feet) and were able to save a lot that way. When we were looking for more space, we started looking for a 2 bed/2 bath in our target towns, and rent was going to be as much as a mortgage! That led us to our decision – why rent when you can buy?

Commit!

It’s not always easy and it requires commitment. You need to plan and you need to budget. Figure out how much it is that you’ll need, and create a strategy to get there. It’s never too early to start saving.

Here’s an example:

  • If you want to buy a $150,000 house and only put 10% down, you’ll need $15,000
  • If you start today and save $10 each day, you’ll reach that goal in just over 4 years ($10/day x 365 days x 4 years = $14,600)
  • But what if you could work 5 extra hours each week at $20 per hour? That’s $5,200 additional in just 1 year!
  • Then, you could save just $6 each day from your regular income ($6/day x 365 days x 2 years = $4,380), and all of the side income ($5,200/year x 2 years = $10,400), and buy a house in just 2 years!
  • Plus, if you invest, you can expect a return of 5% to 9% depending on your portfolio (further cutting down the amount you need to set aside each day to reach your target savings)

The power of saving a little every day is enormous. What once seemed like an impossible goal can be broken down into small, manageable steps. I’ve learned that any goal is reachable if you start today.