So many of us live paycheck to paycheck. Buying a home may seem like an unobtainable dream but you can in fact make that dream a reality. Chances are if you do live paycheck to paycheck sticking several hundred into a savings monthly is not a realistic way to save towards your first home. So I’ve came up with some money saving tips that will work for just about anyone.
- Adjust your withholding. If you’re current withholding is allowing for larger paychecks, lowering the number you claim now will equate to a larger tax refund at the end of the year. You can then put this refund towards purchasing a home.
- Start a change jar. Sit out a jar and toss in all of the change that you acquire throughout the month. It may seem silly but after a year of doing this you could have enough change to equal a few hundred dollars.
- Shop smarter. Perhaps you’re already a good shopper but it never hurts to take a look at your shopping habits and see if anything can be improved. Try to stick with only buying things when they’re on sale. For groceries, try going to a discount story such as Aldi and then making your meal plans or grocery list based off of the weekly sale ads. After you watch the weekly ads for awhile you’ll start to know what is a good price and what is not. Odds are you’ll end up going to a few stores weekly to get the best deals.Stocking up on meat when it’s on sale can save big because you can freeze it. But beware…Buy One Get One Free deals are not always a good deal. Example- weekly ad says boneless skinless chicken breasts- buy one get one free. When you get to the store look on the package and see what the price per pound is then divide that in half and that is how much you’re actually paying for it. If the pack says $6.50/lb that would mean each pack is actually $3.50/lb and that is currently not a good deal for boneless skinless chicken breasts, $1.99/lb is a good deal.There’s many tricks to buying items such as clothing as well. For instance you may see a coat you like for $200 in September but that same coat could be reduced by up to 80% come January.
- Wants vs. Needs. Try to tough it out with the items you already have. Maybe you’re not much of a shopper, but for some of us it’s so enticing to see the latest spring sandals at the store, or consider putting a new laptop on a credit card because your current one is slow and running low on storage. There’s tons of scenarios obviously, and maybe your funds do not even allow for such purchases. The rule of thumb is each time you go to make a purchase stop and ask yourself- Do I need this, or do I want this. If you just want it, walk away and you’ll be one step closer to purchasing a home!
- Nix Cable. No offense to the cable company at all! They provide great services that we all love. But if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and desperate to get into a home of your own you could save $100 plus each month. The least painful way of doing this is to simply call the cable company and see what the bare minimum service is. More than likely you’ll want to keep your internet service, but digital cable and extra channels can go. See about just getting the “economy” or “basic” channels. Then what you do is sign up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu and stream the shows onto your tv or computer.At first using a service like Netflix can be a bit annoying if you’ve already seen the seasons of your favorite shows that are available. But eventually they’ll add the seasons that are currently on tv and you’ll be so excited to watch them! In the meantime while waiting for new seasons, try out some new shows, you just may find something you like! Ask your friends on Facebook for suggestions on shows for they like on Netflix.
- Shop around for insurance. You may or may not have renter’s insurance but everyone that owns a car needs to have vehicle insurance. It could really pay off to obtain some quotes. I know people who did just that and were amazed that they found similar coverage for $50 less a month! You can do free quotes online through most of the big name companies- Progressive, Farmer’s, Allstate, State Farm, etc…or call a local agent to help you. It can be tedious, but well worth it!
- Avoid eating out. By making simple changes such as packing your lunch instead of buying, and making coffee at home and putting it in a travel mug can really save money over time. A can of decent coffee on sale is around $8, and you can get a travel mug for under $10. Do you have a pizza night? Why not try buying the pizza at the store instead. Then you can still have pizza night but you’re saving money too. If you have kids a fun thing to do is buy a store pizza with only cheese and then let them add their own toppings. If you’re not much of a cook or short on time Google “easy crockpot meals”.
- If its broke, Fix it. If an item in your household breaks, it’s always smart to get a quote on repairing it before buying a new one. This goes for appliances and electrical devices.
- Buy/Sell used. You can save money by purchasing items you need used. If your fridge breaks, and it cannot be fixed, you could find a decent one for a few hundred versus over a thousand for a new one. On Facebook there are lots of local buy/sell/trade groups, and then of course there’s always Craigslist too. I just caution you to be safe and smart about your transactions. Meet in a safe busy public area during the day. Never accept or give checks, only cash. Never give out your home address. If you’re meeting someone alone, be sure to let someone know where you’re going. Keep your phone on you at all times during meetings.Another idea is to go through your stuff at home. If you’re wanting to purchase a home anyways, now may be a great time to get rid of items cluttering up your space. You know the old saying- One man’s junk is another man’s treasure! You could sell it through the local groups, Craigslist, or have a yard sale if it’s an option where you reside.
- Use your talents. Perhaps you’re good at crafting or carpentry. Maybe you make the best cookies ever! Have you ever thought about making some extra cash from the things you enjoy doing anyways? If you’re a baker, you could take orders for cookie platters around the holidays to folks on facebook. If you enjoy working with wood and have the time perhaps you could take orders for something like picnic tables. If you craft you could sell your creations on Etsy or Facebook. Do you stay at home with your kids? Maybe you know someone who would enjoy have an occasional sitter for their kids. The trick is..When you make extra money this way- pretend like you do not even have it and put it towards your dream of home ownership.
I hope this list helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know how hard it can be, but if you get creative odds are you could be in a home of your own in 1-2 years! How exciting will that be?