For most people, saving for a down payment is one of the first steps towards making their dream of homeownership a reality. But saving a significant chunk of change requires discipline, and the right habits.
So, what habits should you establish if you want to buy a home in the not-so-distant future?
A recent video from realtor.com outlined key habits to get into when you’re saving to purchase a home, including:
- Cut back wherever possible. If you want to save for a down payment, you need to review your budget and look for areas to cut back. And any expenses that aren’t strictly necessary — or, in other words, indulgences — are a great place to start. For example, instead of grabbing a coffee on the way to work every morning, start making coffee at home. Or, if you subscribe to multiple streaming services, choose your favorite and then cancel the rest. Those savings will add up!
- Create a separate savings account for your down payment. When all your money is lumped together in a single account, it can be easy to spend money that you earmarked for savings. Instead, open a separate savings account for your down payment, set up an auto-deposit each week, and commit to not spending that money on anything but your new home.
- Do a homeownership trial run. Saving up for a down payment is the first step in the process. But you also need to be able to afford the home once you buy it. To make sure your current income can cover the costs of owning a home, estimate how much your monthly expenses will be, including your mortgage, insurance, and maintenance costs. Then, choose a month to act as if those expenses are real and see if you can get by with what’s leftover. If you make it to the end of the month without going into debt, you have an accurate budget. But if you can’t get through the month, either cut back on expenses or consider buying a more affordable home.