If you’re a renter who’s yearning for a house of your own, take heart that it’s not just a pipe dream. By cutting costs on your monthly budget you can add to your savings, and build your down payment nest egg more swiftly.
The first thing you need to do is write down your household expenses, such as rent and utilities. Make a list of everything you pay on a recurring basis, and note the highest amount for each bill. Most of these expenses are pretty much set in stone, meaning they don’t change from month to month and there’s not much you can do about them.
Now take a closer look at your heating, cooling, and electric bills. These can often be lowered without sacrificing too much comfort; by lowering your thermostat three or four degrees you can save an estimated 10 percent of your bill! That’s 10 dollars per hundred, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly. The same goes for the air conditioning when it’s hot outside: raise the temperature a bit, and lower the bill a lot. Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them, and consider calling your energy provider for a home energy audit to see where else you can save.
You can save a bunch at the grocery store, too. Grocery sales work on a cycle, so pretty much the same items go on sale every few weeks. Buy enough to last a month, and you’ll never have to pay full price! Make a list before you go, and stick to it. It’s okay to add things you forgot to put on the list, but avoid impulse buys. Look for discounted meats and produce to save even more.
Take advantage of sales, coupons, and discounts wherever you shop. Use online websites such as Groupon.com to save big on things you already plan to purchase; you can find everything from yoga lessons to teeth whitening at a much lower price than regular retail.
The biggest tip is this: stash all the money you’ve saved here and there into a savings account, and don’t touch it. Make a game out of watching it grow, and before you know it you’ll be closing on your new house!