How to Save for a Down Payment on a Home
Considering the standard home down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price, buying a house can feel like an impossible dream. With the median price on Oahu topping $795,000, 20% comes to $159,000. If you opt to put just 5% down, you’d still be looking at an initial outlay of $39,750. You should not give up if you do not have that kind of cash on hand. The trick is to give yourself time and to break the saving process down into small, manageable steps. Here are some effective tips to help you save enough for a down payment.
Give your down payment its own place to grow
Opening a separate savings account for your down payment fund helps your money grow as fast as possible while reducing the chance this cash will be spent elsewhere.
Make saving automatic
Automating your savings as much as possible takes some of the work out of accumulating a down payment. Opt-in for an automatic transfer arrangement that moves an amount you choose from checking to savings at a set interval, or have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited into your down payment account. You will not miss what was never available to spend in the first place, so you won’t feel deprived.
Use hacks to free up cash
A down payment savings account is fine, but it will only grow if you actually have the cash to put into it consistently. If you’re cutting things close each month, these hacks will free up some extra cash to save:
- Every time you get a $5 bill as change, deposit it to your down payment fund. It also pays to hang onto coin change, which could add up to hundreds of dollars each year.
- Deposit all windfalls, large and small, such as holiday bonuses, tax refunds, birthday checks, rebates and earned debit card rewards to your down payment account.
- Resist the temptation to buy a new car when your old one is paid off. Instead, put the amount you spent on car payments into your down payment account.
- Cut unnecessary expenses. This might include eating out less often, cutting cable in favor of a cheaper service like Netflix, and finding less expensive providers for insurance, cell service and other necessities.
- Consider taking on some extra work. This doesn’t have to be unpleasant; if you have musical, artistic, mechanical, teaching or culinary skills, they could provide a rewarding way to earn some extra weekend cash.
Tips to make saving stick
A few simple habits will let you enjoy the best possible savings results. Start by committing to pay yourself first each month. Before addressing any other bills or temptations, deposit something to your down payment account. It also helps to track spending and saving so you will always have a clear picture of how close you are to your goal. Free apps and software, either downloaded through your credit union or privately, make it easy to keep budgeting and saving organized.
With small steps over time, you’ll be able to save more than you believed possible. The feeling of satisfaction you get when you turn the key in the door of your very own house will make all your efforts more than worthwhile.
Want a little more help? Check out our eLearning modules on CONSIDERING HOME OWNERSHIP or MORTGAGES.