We know. Amid the groceries, travel, ridiculous rent prices and trying to sustain some kind of social life, the idea of saving enough money to buy your very own home may seem elusive.
To help restore some home-owning faith, we’ve teamed up with Australia’s number one new home builder, Metricon Homes, to serve up five realistic ways to turn those distant home-owning dreams into a reality.
Know What You’re Spending And Where
First thing’s first. You need to be aware of where you’re spending your hard-earned cash. And in order to do that, you’ll need to undergo the terrifying task of actually checking your transactions. Sometimes it can be confronting to realise that, yes, they were all in fact made by you and not someone who managed to somehow steal your card and replace it without a trace. It is only when we critically look at the onslaught of subtractions that we can realise that we really need to stop spending cash on non-essential items. And yes, that probably means holding off on clothes, coffee and cocktails.
The great news is that, albeit sometimes mortifying, the task is made easy, with most banking apps categorising your spending into things like ‘groceries’, ‘rent’, ‘fuel’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘dining out’. Some apps will even allow you to get instant notifications on your spending as well as insights into where you’re spending the most money. It goes without saying, the big piece of the metaphorical pie should go to rent, groceries and bills and a small piece goes to clothing and dining out. Spending smart has never been so easy, right?
The B Word
Yes, budgeting. While a dirty word for those that firmly believe in living their best life seven days of the week, budgeting is essential when it comes to crunch time. To set a solid budget, start with accounting for your mandatories (and no, that’s not a new P.E. Nation tee) There’s all the obvious ones, like keeping a roof over your head and hot water and then the less obvious, annoying expenses we always seem to forget about, like car insurance, internet bills and fuel.
From here, it’s important to critically analyse where you can cut back and prioritise where you should be spending your disposable income. If you’re committed to keeping your posh gym membership because it’s the only thing that seems to motivate you, then something else has to go. Maybe swap your weekly Sunday brunch for eggs at home, or make (don’t shudder at the thought) instant coffee in the mornings. We never said it was going to be easy, but if you’ve nailed a solid budget and put it into action, you’ll be saving cash in no time. If you start to lose sight of the end goal, just remember, the more cash you save, the more likely you’ll be able to buy or better yet, build the house of your dreams.
Be Done With Debts
There’s only one word nastier than budgeting, and that’s debt. The killer about credit card debt is that it can be easy to fall into and very hard to wedge yourself out of. It can be hard to think about a long-term saving plan when you’re already struggling to keep on top of repayments and it can make budgeting and saving more difficult, but we’re here to tell you it’s not impossible.
If you’ve got multiple debts, it’s best to consolidate them all so you can focus on budgeting for and paying off one singular amount. This will also save you from paying multiple interest rates and having to manage different payment dates. If you’re dealing with debt demons, make sure to make repayments a priority while still saving money.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but budgets and saving goals shouldn’t change week to week depending on your social life or commitments. All too often it can be easy to ‘put away a little less’ or ‘take an innocent dip’ from the savings account to pay for expenses you knew were approaching. The key is to stay prepared and remain accountable.
Like anything in life, the longer you stick with something, the easier it will get. So next time you’re thinking about spending that extra $100 on a third pair of sneakers you don’t really need, or an extra $40 out at lunch on a couple of cocktails you definitely didn’t need, think again and stay accountable. If your willpower is low and desire to splash cash is high, think about transferring your savings into a separate account that pays interest, or better yet, transfer it as soon as you get paid. That way you’ll have no choice but to opt for your weekly grocery shop over a boozy lunch out with friends (or so we hope).
Set A Realistic End Goal
Now that you’re well and truly on your way to bulk savings, it’s time to set a realistic end goal. While we’d all love to live within arm’s reach of the city, Pinterest home of our dreams, complete with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a backyard and a pool, unfortunately, it’s most likely unattainable. When it comes to deciding what kind of house you’d actually like to own, it pays to know your stuff and to be organised.
Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance townhouse, to build something on land you already own, or a house and land package where you just sit back and let the builders do all the work, there are plenty of options to suit every first home-owners needs and for every kind of budget. So, start to do your research and work out what’s within your means and most importantly, what’s going to be right for you. After all, this is your first home.
No matter what you’re looking for or when you’re looking for it, you can count on Metricon Homes 40 years’ experience to help you love where you live.