With buying a home comes a great expense, probably the greatest expense you’ll face in your entire life. From the deposit to the valuation fee, you’ll be asked to cough up thousands for the privilege of owning your own home. Unfortunately, as the costs of this endeavour are so vast it’s made unattainable for much of the British public, who’ve accepted the fact that they will never be homeowners in the current climate. While it is impossible to say how the housing market will change in the near future, the average salaried Brit should not rule out the possibility of buying a property altogether.
With specific savings and budgeting many of the naysayers can put themselves in a position to one day afford their own home. By no means will this happen over night, it’ll take years of commitment and dedication to the saving campaign but is still doable.
For all those looking to get their savings in order to purchase a home, here are a few tips that could help you out.
To make things a little easier we’ve separated the tips by category;
- Saving spreadsheet
The best way to monitor and achieve the savings that you desire, is literally by monitoring them. Create a spreadsheet or other document which outlines what your savings need to be each month, what the end goal is and the amount you’re allowed to spend. Having these numbers on a single page makes them much easier to manage.
- Interest rates and savings accounts
For those who aren’t too banking savvy, it may be worth having a chat with a representative from your bank or a financial expert. They’ll be able to guide you on which rates and accounts would best suit your savings plan.
In this day and age everything is insured, from your gadgets to your pets, but are you getting the best rates? Contact your insurance providers and see if they’re able to offer a better deal on your contract, if they’re not be prepared to shop around, there is almost always something cheaper available.
An ISA is a tax free method of saving and investing money. Further developments of this scheme has created ISA’s specifically for home-buyers where the government offer monetary rewards for reaching certain saving milestone.
- Set-up automatic transfers
Once a month or on payday, an amount should automatically be transferred from your personal to your savings accounts. This is to avoid the temptation of spending the funds while they sit in your current account.
- Pay-Off debts
Before any savings can be made all debts must be paid off. It’s impossible to successfully save while debts are looming over your head.
- Build your credit score
A good credit score is essential for purchasing a home, lucky for you, it can be greatly improved during the saving process. Check out these tips on building your credit score.
- Save less for retirement
The average saver will put money aside for many different occasions; a new car, a new home and retirement to name a few. However, one of the mentioned is a lot further down the line than the others. Saving for your old age is logical, but in some instances buying a home takes priority.
- Minimise your accounts
Having several different bank accounts with each serving their own purpose can become quite confusing. Limit the number of accounts you own to make the transferring process much more convenient.
- Tax rebates
There is yet to be something more satisfying than receiving money that you didn’t anticipate receiving. Tax rebates and refunds come around once in a while; popping a nice cheque through your letter box. DO NOT SPEND THIS! This money should be going directly into savings unless there is an emergency.
- Cancel unnecessary direct debits
You’d be surprised how many direct debits are coming out of your account that you’re so used to paying that you just continue to do so. Browse through all of the direct debits coming out of your account and cancel all those you do not need anymore.
- Give your savings account a nickname
Naming your savings account something like “New house” gives it an emotional attachment, making you much more likely to continue your savings plan.
While saving for a new home, it may be an idea to downsize to a smaller home during the saving process. Just to decrease the amount you’re spending on living expenses.
- Lease re-negotiation
If renting, explain your situation to the landlord and ask if the current price could be re-negotiated given the circumstances. They may not be willing but it’s worth asking.
- Research house prices
You do not want to start saving without an end goal in mind; it’s easy to lose motivation and not commit properly. Before you begin, research house prices for the criteria you’re searching for and then calculate how much you’d need for a house deposit.
- Stop renting
If you are currently renting, stop. Consider moving back in with your parents or living with other family and friends. Not having to pay rent for an entire property each month will greatly benefit your savings.
Lodging or subletting a room or rooms in your home is a great way of earning a small side income and covering some of the costs of rent.
- Become a property guardian
Also known as “legal squatters” property guardians live in a building that would otherwise be vacant for the purpose of security wanted by the property owner. Those who have taken up this scheme have reported halving their living costs.
Why get someone else to do it when you can do it yourself? If you have any repairs or home improvements to make, learn the craft and do it yourself. You’ll save a tonne that would otherwise be spent on contractors.
There are of course environmental benefits of commuting to and from your destinations, but the monetary rewards are just as satisfying. Driving is a real financial burden with; tax, insurance and petrol, commuting can clash these costs.
Similar to the commuting options, cycling or walking to your destinations can avoid the costs of driving while keeping you fit and getting your daily dose of exercise.
- Car share
Car sharing or pooling has long been a very popular option in the US and it has started to take stride in the UK. There are several services which offer the opporutnity to share lifts with others going in the same direction as you. Recently Uber released this service with their product UberPOOL.
- Do not buy/exchange currency in the airport
Airports are notorious for having poor exchange rates which will see customers losing out on a lot of money. When travelling ensure you check the current exchange rates and find out which companies offer the best deals, ideally using a comparison tool.
- Stay in hostels
If you’re frequently travelling for work or other reasons which cannot be avoided you’ll want some cheaper accommodation than the extremely over priced hotels. Hostels are a great alternative, they’re generally a much lower price and offer a very similar service.
- Brew your own coffee
Each year millions of pounds are spent purchasing coffee from such establishments as Starbuck, Costa etc. Despite their prices being quite unreasonable, business is still booming. However you do not need to fall into the loop, by brewing your own coffee at home you can save a fortune.
- Cut down on eating out
Eating out is a killer expenditure for the average person, everyone loves to eat good food with the convenience of a restaurant. While you shouldn’t deprive yourself of this luxury it should definitely be limited, allot a specific number of days in the month you’re able to eat out and do not go above that amount.
- Plan your meals
Planning your meals is a great way to avoid purchasing unnecessary ingredients. By creating a weekly meal plan you’ll know exactly what you need and how much you’re going to spend.
- Pack lunch
This tip is again to avoid the trap of eating out or purchasing food at your workplace. Packing a lunch in the morning allows you to have cheap and healthy food you want come lunch hour.
- Eat less meat
In most dishes the most expensive element is the meat. It’s a costly produce especially when trying to feed an entire family. Try making some of your meals each week completely vegetarian to avoid the cost of purchasing meat.
Do not let good food go to waste! A quality freezer means that whatever isn’t eaten can be frozen and eaten at a later date.
- Drink more water
Drinking water is great for your health, but using it as a substitute for other drinks is great for your wallet. Having a glass of water with a meal or at a bar, means there is no expense on other drinks.
- Cooking on a budget
While cooking instead of buying food is critical in a money-saving campaign, cooking while on a budget cook see even more savings.
- Ask for a raise
If at your job you feel you’re doing more than you’re being paid, it’s time to ask for a raise. However asking for a raise is tricky business; show evidence of your continuous work supporting the company’s gain, but do not compare your salary to a co-workers.
Depending on your field, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to offer your services outside of your office. Sites like Upwork, allow freelancers to advertise their profiles and search for jobs in a variety of areas.
- Find a second job
If freelancing is out of the question, finding a second job may be worth your while. Only consider a second place of employment if your current working hours are flexible and you have the time to do so.
- Monetise your hobbies
Why not make some money from doing the things you love? Whether it’s knitting or playing football there are definitely ways that all hobbies can be monetised. For example: knit cool pieces of pop culture and sell them online.
- Work more
If you can get and handle more hours at work, take them! This will only be temporary, but will make a world of difference to your bank account.
38 Annual Bonuses
At some establishments the end of the year is marked with bonuses for the employees. This is money should be entered immediately into the savings account.
- Second hand clothes
While there is a silly stigma around purchasing second hand clothes, it can be very worthwhile. Charity shops and online marketplaces, offer the ability to buy clothes that are in great condition for a fraction of the price.
- Avoid big purchases
You make think you need that luxury handbag, but in reality you don’t. Unless absolutely necessary do not make any expensive purchases.
- Make shopping lists
When browsing the aisles of a supermarket it’s very easy to start picking up the delicious looking food and drinks that sit nicely packaged on the shelves, when you had no intention of buying them in the first place. Use shopping lists and stick to them, this will decrease spending on unwanted items.
- Thoughtful gifts
On birthdays and other celebrations we like to make our loved ones feel special with lavish gifts and presents. You can make them feel just as special with less expensive and more thoughtful gifts.
- Vouchers and coupons
Extreme couponing has become so popular that is now featured on primetime television, but mainly because it gets results. Shoppers have made £100’s in savings by using coupons and vouchers found in their daily lives.
- Loyalty cards
Nectar and Tesco Club Cards are two of the most popular loyalty cards, allowing you to gain points towards other ventures or cashback when doing your shops. However, it doesn’t stop there. Many other shopping outlets use the loyalty card scheme that you could be missing out on.
Visiting markets or similar is the perfect time to test out your haggling skills. Never settle on their first price and bargain to a price you feel comfortable with.
- Supermarket brands
Brand name goods have a serious price markup in comparison to their supermarket brand counterparts. This is usually just due to the brand label slapped on the front, not the quality of the item. Buying supermarket produced items is a great alternative to the overpriced brand name goods.
- Buy in bulk
Of course there are some items which simply cannot be bought in bulk, but for those that can there could be some potential savings. Buying tinned foods, toiletries and several other items which have lengthy expiry dates can be great on savings.
Who doesn’t love free things? On sites like Gumtree and Craigslist users are always giving away their unwanted goods and even if you don’t need it, it could be a way of making some extra cash.
- Avoid shopping
Many weekends are spent browsing high streets or shopping centres trying on clothes, looking at expensive items and eventually buying said items. To remove the temptation of purchasing altogether avoid going on shopping trips and do other activities instead.
- Be aware of special offers
Most stores will at some point run a special offer which does have some value. Sign up to mailing lists of your favourite stores and be on the lookout for these deals.
- Rent dresses and suits
Buying a dresses and suits for formal occasions can be an expensive purchase, which is why it makes sense to rent these items of clothing instead. If you don’t intend to where the tux or ball gown again in the near future, renting is the cheaper solution for you.
- Stay in
The most effective way of not spending money when going out is by staying in. Read, learn, pick up a craft, there are countless activities to do at home.
- Celebrate for free
Instead of throwing a lavish party or going out for an expensive meal, celebrate for free. Invite your friends over asking each of them to bring a piece of food or drink.
- Free events
Let’s face it, staying home all of the time sucks. So for your days out, make them free. There countless free events running up and down the country in a variety of niches, Just give your area a Google and see what’s on.
- The library
The library is going to be your media haven. A quick trip to the library and you can be leaving with books, video games and movies at no cost.
- Book in advance
For trips and travelling it’s always best to book in advance, you’ll get the best prices on your mode of transport.
- Turn off the lights
While we should be doing this anyway to help the environment, turning the lights off can really lower your utility bills.
- Turn off the electronics
Again, a task that is easy and should be done regardless of savings. Turning off all electronics after use is a must to see any savings in your electricity bills.
- Programmable thermostat
This in itself is a purchase, but does yield great rewards. A programmable thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your room while lowering your energy bills.
- Free solar panels
Solar panels are always in the discussion regarding both energy and utility savings. They are a great addition to any household, but come at a great price. However, there are several companies which provide you with solar panels at no cost, if you join their energy saving scheme.
- Energy-saving lightbulbs
If the lights must stay on, they should at least be energy saving. Energy saving bulbs are a great way to help the environment and your energy bills.
- Wash at a lower temperature
Washing your clothes on a low temperatures will not by any means save you thousands in a year, it will however save you something as hot water is not being used.
- Use less hot water
Depending on how your gas and heating has been arranged using less hot water for heating and bathing could mean a big decrease in heating bills.
- Switch energy suppliers
Without enquiring you won’t know if you’re on the most reasonable energy plan available. Have a look around see which companies offer the best rates and if a switch is necessary.
- Keep the draught out
An insulated home, means a warm home and a warm home means that the heating does not need to be on. Draught proofing your house will again only lower the amount you spend on energy.
- Replace your boiler
Old boilers can really hinder your heating performance as they’re unlikely to have an energy saving option or work efficiently. Upgrading to a newer boiler has a great ROI.
- Shower more and bath less
Having a bath requires filling an entire bath tub with hot water, while showering requires a lot less hot water. Using less hot water always has positive effects.
- Government schemes
If you’re looking to purchase a home, you should be aware of what you’re entitled to. There are several government schemes for those looking to buy a home, some of which may suit your exact situation.
- It’s never too early to start
Many people wait until they are quite late in life before beginning to save, this just won’t do. If you ability to save, then save! No matter how old you are, you’re likely going to want to purchase a home at some point in your life.
The bank of mum and dad never closes. If struggling to save the entire amount for a house deposit consider borrowing some of the funds from friends and family.
- Be patient
Do not expect to save the amount you need overnight. This is a long drawn out process which takes time, commitment and patience.
- Sell sell sell
Selling your unwanted goods on sites like eBay and Gumtree is a great way of making a little extra cash.
- Save your change
We take for granted the amount of change we waste on unnecessary purchases or throwing into fountains. Put all small change you have in a jar and continue collecting, you’d be surprised what it could amount.
- Ditch TV subscriptions
In a day and age where the best of television and movies can be found on online services, it makes the idea of satellite and cable subscriptions silly. Sub out Sky for Netflix.
- Drop the gym membership
Unless going to the gym is your absolute passion, get rid of your gym membership. Keeping fit and exercising doesn’t need all of that fancy equipment.
- Downgrade your vehicle
Your car may be your pride and joy, it also may be costing you a lot each month. Downgrading to a smaller, cheaper vehicle could save thousands each year.
- Quit smoking
If there was ever a time to quit smoking it would be now, when you’re saving for a home. It has been reported that the average smoker spends £3000 a year on cigarettes. Is this money you have to waste?
- Give up on the lottery (for now)
Those who hit the jackpot on the lottery are the chosen few who were destined for riches. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be you, so let’s stop throwing money away for the time being.
- Value breakdown cover
For drivers, breakdown cover is not only essential but expensive. Shop around to ensure you’re getting the best price possible.
- Take your credit credit card out of your wallet
When going out remove your credit card from your purse or wallet, this will stop you from making any regrettable impulse buys.
- Use price comparison sites
If you’re not doing so already, you should be comparing on everything you purchase. From insurance to shopping, see where you can get the best deals.
- Cancel unused memberships
Remember your subscription to that health magazine, you don’t need that anymore. Cancel any unused or unnecessary subscriptions or memberships.
- Cut your own hair
A trip to the salon or barber can be quite pricey, which is why you should consider cutting your hair yourself (with the help of a friend). Failing this, many beauty course students would be willing to cut your hair for free or at a fraction of the price.
- Exercise more
Exercising is a fantastic activity to do in place of something that would otherwise cost you a pretty penny.
- Wear layers in the winter
The heating being on constantly in the winter, can wreak havoc on your energy bills. Which is why the best way of keeping warm is wearing more layers.
- Free trials
A variety of services and businesses offer customers free trials of their product, meaning you can give their service a test go without the overheads of payment.
- Cashback sites
Quidco is a great example of a cashback site where users can make purchased with major retailers and then earn a commission on their purchase.
- No spend day
Each week have a single day where no money can be spent whatsoever.
- Lose your TV license
As we mentioned the benefits of getting rid of TV subscriptions earlier, it may also be a good idea to throw out your TV license too. For content viewed online, a tv license is not necessary.
- Free software alternatives
Spending hundreds and sometimes thousands on software to carry out tasks you do everyday can be annoying, however there are almost always free alternatives.
- Monitor fuel prices
Fuel prices are constantly fluctuating and you should be on top of it. Keep up to date on fuel prices to find the best rates.
- Make homemade cleaning products
No, you will not have to become Heisenberg to make your own cleaning products. Here are a few easy methods to making your own products.
- Shop at auctions
As there are no set prices, auctions are a great place to grab bargains on appliances, furniture and other larger items.
Even those you are skimping and saving need a day out. Groupon offer great deals on days out, attractions and even dinners.
- Own brand medicine
Most established chemists and supermarkets will have created their own line of medicine and pharmaceuticals which all have the same make up as the brand names at a fraction of the price.
- Free WiFi
While you’re out and about, you don’t want to be spending your money on data for your phone or tablet. Which is why you should be using free WiFi that is available in all major cities. Download apps which locate free WiFi so you know where to look before you arrive.