You’ve been in your apartment for a couple years now. It's a killer pad! You have a comfy couch, a fuzzy rug, and wall art that fit your style, yet you can’t help but feel this isn’t your permanent home. It’s not ‘yours’. You dream of owning a home, the upgraded space, a vegetable garden in the backyard. Another factor: owning boosts your net worth instead of your landlords. It’s a daydream that seems out of reach when you start to think of the down payment… when in reality a down payment isn’t unreachable. The steps to saving your down payment:
Break It Into Small Sized Pieces
You can put anywhere from 5% to 20% down for a home. Although 20% sounds like a number that urges you to run away in horror, it does come with its perks. You’ll have a better chance of getting approved, lower upfront fees, and more equity in your home right off the bat! Instead of seeing the down payment as this huge monster number, break it up! Start with a goal of $1,000 then move to $2,500, $5,000 and so on. This will create momentum as you check off each mini goal.
Budget: Define Your Values
Stick to a budget! Know what you and your family value when working your budget, that’s the key to making it easy. Know your budget isn’t unchangeable – rewind – we don’t mean rework it to splurge! Rework your budget as new opportunities to save come up. Discovering your family doesn’t need cable TV, great! That’s an extra $100 to rework into your savings. Give yourself a set amount on ‘fun’ money for the month.
Once your little nest of cash starts growing larger and larger it may become tempting to pick from it. We suggest opening a separate account so it’s not easy to transfer funds into your checking. Make savings simple by automating it. Set up a direct deposit straight from your paycheck to this savings account.
Cut Your Costs
This might be our most difficult step… that budget you made, here is when we encourage you to make cuts in spending to put towards your savings. Dragging your feet? Remember this will only get you into your home sooner. Start bringing a packed lunch to work instead of ordering out. Have family night at home by renting a movie as a replacement for the theater. Suggest a potluck when you want to catch up with your friends as opposed to meeting at a restaurant. These little changes may seem small at first but they really add up!
The huge down payment monster is defeatable. You can do this; just remind yourself of your goal. Celebrate the progress you’ve made and use it as motivation to attack the expense further!
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