Saving for your first home might seem overwhelming at first. But owning a house can be a big investment that ultimately pays off—especially if you save wisely and start sooner than later. The more you save now, the bigger downpayment you may be able to afford.
Below are eight steps you can take to start saving for your first home.
Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending is a great starting point for saving money. It is important to track all purchases and expenses you have for the span of a few consecutive months—this should give you a relatively accurate average monthly spend and offer you a bigger picture of what you're truly spending your money on.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
After you've tracked your expenses for a few months, look at what purchases you typically make. Categorize these purchases into "necessary" and "unnecessary" expenses. This will allow you to recognize the expenses you should consider cutting and prevent you from continuing to make unnecessary purchases when you're in saving mode.
Sell Items You Don’t Use Anymore
Another way to cut down on potential moving expenses and earn some extra cash is to take stock of the items you have but don’t use often or at all—and sell them. You could host a garage sale or consider selling them online. This can also save you money when moving day arrives, as you'll have less items to move and can downsize your moving truck rental.
Pay Off Debt
It can be easy to spend more than you can legitimately pay off on your credit cards each month—or even push off paying back student loans. But, the truth is, you should invest in your debt—it will pay off in the long run. When you pay off any debt, big or small, it can increase your credit score and, in turn, increase borrowing power and make mortgage financing more readily available.
Set a Saving Goal
It can be overwhelming to think about the price of a home and how much you need to save, so take a step back and breathe. Many first-time homebuyers in South Dakota need to save for a three percent downpayment on their home purchases. If this is all you are able to save before taking the plunge on a purchase, that’s fine! No matter what, set a realistic saving goal and make a plan on how you will reach this goal.
Open Another Bank Account
A simplified way to save money is to obtain a separate bank account and direct-deposit money to it directly from your paycheck. This forces you to save and removes the temptation to spend a portion of the money you make. Before setting a separate account up, talk to your banker about their existing portfolio tools—they may have a way for you to separate funds from within your existing account.
Save Bonus Money
When Christmas, your birthday or any other occasion in which you may be gifted cash comes around, don’t spend that money right away—save it. (This is a time where a separate bank account or an account portfolio tool will really come in handy.) You can deposit this money directly into your dedicated account or fund and take another chip out of your savings goal.
Many credit cards reward your spending with cash back. Make the most out of this, and start paying bills with your credit card to earn more cash back. Just make sure to only use it when you know you have the money to pay it off before interest accrues.