Is there any harder “adulting” task than budgeting? Most people hate it but budgeting is essential when you’re saving up for a substantial house downpayment. It takes patience and persistence! But with a few simple tips budgeting doesn’t have to be intimidating or for Scrooge-like misers only…
Use a budgeting app like Mint, Every Dollar, or even a simple spreadsheet to track expenses. Track everything: all income, every expense and every purchase. It will help you to determine where your money is really going.
Have an annual budget as well. Don’t forget about unavoidable purchases – things like birthdays, Christmas, or wedding gifts. It won’t help you save, but it will be less of a blow if you know that it is coming up and have budgeted for it. Stick to your plan and don’t go gifting crazy!
Once you have all your expenses tracked, you will be able to see areas where you can cut back. Eating out frequently? Buying coffee daily? Can you cancel cable? Small amounts can add up to big savings over a number of months.
Pay yourself first, this can be an easy way to save for a big goal. Set up an auto-draft to transfer from your main account into a savings account, so your money is transferred as soon as you get paid. That way you won’t accidentally spend it and you’re less likely to miss it if you never see it – out of sight, out of mind.
Make a grocery list and stick to it. Never go shopping hungry (you’ll be tempted to buy more treats!). Make a weekly meal plan and shopping list, you can even base it on what’s on sale at your local store that week. Packing your lunch instead of buying lunch out is also a huge savings!
Talk yourself out of purchases. Ask yourself, do I really need this? Do you have anything that can be used in its place? If you really want something, wait it out for a couple of weeks and see if you’re still thinking about it.
Remind yourself frequently of your financial goals. Give yourself a visual reminder: post a picture of your dream house on your fridge, your desk or your bulletin board.
Seeing your savings start to build can be really motivating, once you start seeing your total you won’t want to spend it to keep the momentum growing! Don’t lose sight of what you want- you’re working towards a great goal of homeownership!