How to save for your dream home-or anything else you so desire
I take it for granted that everyone knows how to save. I was very fortunate that my parents are both hard workers and good savers and instilled that into myself and my sisters at an early age. In a world of credit, loans and unforeseen financial obligations, creating habits and positive mindsets around saving is vital.
In the past two years, I have travelled to Bali and Hawaii and gone on a cruise as well as putting down a 20% deposit on a block of land. In addition to this, I have now tucked away enough to head to Canada and the US on a holiday and am working towards putting away another 10% to start constructing my home.
Despite this, none of my weekends or school holidays have been spent sitting in my lounge room, peering out the window, wishing I had some extra cash to go to the movies or out for lunch, because even though, I've put down some dough for big ticket items, I've always had a nice nest egg of savings allowing me to live the life I want to.
So how did I, a single-income High School Teacher who pays rent, save the money to live the life I want to live?
Take Inventory of your expenses
Write down all of your expenses.
Some examples may be:
-Shopping for food
-Health insurance/union fees/miscellaneous
-Water or electricity bills
I normally write down everything I will have to fork out during the month and then convert it into how much I need to tuck away each fortnight. Getting paid by the fortnight and not the week can be tricky, especially if you have bills that need to be paid on a weekly basis e.g. rent and home loans. So when my fortnightly pay comes in, I know that I need to keep double the amount of rent in my account to cover the two weeks until I get paid again.
Once I've written down all my monthly/fortnightly expenses, I know how much I have left over afterwards to put into savings.
After you have deducted your expenses and worked out how much of your paycheck you can save, transfer it into a savings account straight away. This saving needs to come first and needs to be non-negotiable. Try to think of your savings account as a Term Deposit, you can put money in but not take it out.
Find a savings account that has high interest to give you more incentive to shuffle money into it. I have one where if I put a certain amount into it per month, I get bonus interest. Who doesn't love bonus things?
Put down the card woman!
Stop spending money you don't have. Dammit, stop spending money you do have. My mum always says not to have 'champagne tastes on a beer budget'. Getting ahead financially and getting the house of your dreams is not going to happen if you keep on spending your money.
I know a lot of people who are used to living a certain way and when their financial or employment situation changes, they continue living in this way. THIS CANNOT HAPPEN! This step is hard, because you need to get real with yourself and knuckle down. Sure, you may have been able to afford Foxtel and a gym membership previously, but if things change in your life or your really serious about saving, sometimes you need to cut down on the luxuries.
Ask yourself some of this questions:
- Do I need it?
- Do I REALLY need it?
- Can I borrow it?
- Can I make it myself?
- Can I wait till I'm in a better financial situation?
- Can I find a cheaper option?
Admittedly, every now and then, I treat myself to a new set of gym gear or a bunch of flowers. But this is only after I have taken inventory, transferred my savings and determined my level of need.
Savings are everywhere
Savings are everywhere. You just need to bother to look.
Here are some simple ways to tuck away a few extra bucks here and there:
- Cancel unnecessary expenses
- Turn off electronics at the power point
- Hand wash your car and put your clothes on the line instead of the dryer
- Buy more fresh food, it's cheaper than processed junk
- Check the price per 100g on items at the supermarket
- DIY beauty treatments
- Ask companies to give you a better deal or an early payment discount
- Don't be afraid to trade in your local favourite (hairdresser, mechanic etc) for a cheaper option
- Use price comparison websites
How I saved for my dream home
To save enough for travel and to build my dream home, I firstly followed the steps above. In addition to this, I also:
Set myself a monthly savings goal. I made it something realistic and I had a reward or destination in mind that motivated me towards achieving my goal. Seeing those savings stacking up can be really exciting and in my opinion, certainly worth the sacrifices I made to get there.
Stopped seeing money as a negative thing or something that causes worry and stress and instead changed my perspective on money to believe that it will enable my life to flourish and that I will always have as much of it as I need.
Didn't restrict myself so much so that I felt trapped or confined to living a 'boring' life.
Realised that the best things in life are free! I love nothing more than walking the dog, going for a bike ride, bushwalking with my cousin and having a chat with my bestie. Find some fun, free things you can do in your local area and it will make the experience of saving a whole lot more enjoyable.
I hope these tips help you to get started on achieving your savings dreams. Make sure to check out some other posts linked below.
Why not follow me on social media? Instagram @evolveliving_blog and YouTube Carly Morton.