Gail DuBois' Blog
For many of us, it can seem like our paychecks are gone before we even get a chance to see them. With seemingly endless bills and expenses, both recurring and unforeseen, saving up for a house is a daunting task.
Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare yourself for those intimidating down payments and many closing costs.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how you can start saving for a home right this moment. After all, every day is another day you could be contributing to your savings and taking another step closer to owning your own home.
Use a Budgeting Tool
The first step to saving and determining how much you can save is to start budgeting. Many people hear the term “budget” and get nervous thinking they’ll have to start counting the number of coffees they buy. However, there are less anxiety-inducing ways to budget.
From your phone, tablet, or computer you have access to a large number of free budgeting tools. Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and PocketGuard are three of the top budgeting tools that will get you started.
With apps that integrate with your bank accounts and loan balances, there is little work required on your part. Just set an amount to save each week or month, and direct the funds into your savings account.
Set up a dedicated savings account
Speaking of savings accounts--now is a great time to set up a new one. It’s almost always free to open a new account with your bank. What’s more, it’s a lot less tempting to pull from a savings account when it’s labeled something like “HOUSE SAVINGS - DO NOT TOUCH.”
Once you have your budgeting app and bank account set up, it’s time to dig into some of the ways you can save money without skipping meals.
Cutting Monthly Expenses
Rather than telling yourself you can’t buy any more fancy Starbucks drinks anymore until you have a house (don’t torture yourself), make a list of all your monthly expenses. That can include anything from Netflix and Spotify to haircuts and car washes.
A great way to make this list is to go through your credit and debit card transactions. If you have autopay set up, you might not even realize how many services are withdrawing directly from your accounts each month.
For each item on your list, determine if you can either eliminate the expense or spend less on it. Maybe you go for the deluxe car war rather than the basic. Or, you might pay for services you don’t use as much as you used to.
If you’re worried about having no entertainment if you drop Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you could try out your local library system. Most of the time you can have books, movies, and music shipped for free from all around your state.
When it comes to cable, cell phone plans, car insurance, and other monthly bills give your provider a call and tell them you’re thinking about switching over to a cheaper competitor. They’ll likely offer you a discounted rate. If they don’t, follow through on your promise and call other providers to see if you can get better rates.
76 Fisher Rd, Southborough, MA 01772
Once you have moved into a new home, you’re going to want to make it look amazing with some nice furniture. If you’re in too much of a hurry, you can make some very common furniture buying mistakes that will cost you more than just the money you have wasted on furniture. Read on before you begin filling that new home with sofas, chairs, and tables.
You Don’t Plan For Style Or Practicality
If you’re a young couple moving into your first home, you probably have a lot of plans for the future. Children may possibly be a part of those plans someday. Remember that a $3,000 leather sofa may look really great when it’s just the two of you. Fast forward a couple of years to the terrible twos and envision permanent marker all over that beloved couch. Keep in mind that the lifespan of heavily used furniture is anywhere between 7 to 10 years.
Even if children aren’t in your future plans, the same problems are true for pets. If you don’t have a dog and purchase the expensive sofa knowing that you have plans to get a dog, you should think twice. Pets can claw furniture and leave behind clumps of pet hair. If you have plans for children, pets, or both, consider the type of fabric that you’ll have on the furniture carefully. It’s important to select pieces of furniture that suit your life, budget, and aspirations.
You Buy Everything At Once
It can be tempting when you have an empty house to try and buy all of your furniture at once. If you buy everything at the same time, you won’t have any room for flexibility to buy pieces to add to your collection from other stores at a later date. The best way to approach filling an empty house is to buy the big necessities first, then fill the rest of your home as you find what you like and need.
You Forgot To Measure
Imagine this: You just bought your dream bedroom set. The delivery people come to the house to drop it off, and it doesn’t fit in the space! When we see things in the store, we often make every effort in our minds to convince ourselves that it will look good in our home. The reality is that furniture needs to fit in order for it to actually “work” in a room. Before you even set out to buy furniture, take measurements of every room that you’re shopping for. Have the list handy of all these numbers that you can refer to.
Finding the right furniture comes down to avoiding impulse buys for these big purchases. Planning is everything when it comes to filling your new home with furnishings that will last the test of time and design.
19 Greenwood Rd, Hopkinton, MA 01748