I work with a lot of home buyers that are buying their first home and it sometimes takes a while to get them "ready" to purchase. The biggest obstacle facing first time home buyers is getting the cash needed for down payment and closing costs. Most buyers can afford the monthly note, but have trouble saving the necessary funds to get into the home. You can get more money in one of two ways. You either 1.) make more money or 2.) spend less of the money you make each day. Here are some ways to do both:
Shop for cheaper car insurance. Call an insurance broker and ask for a review of your insurance policy. There is a tremendous amount of competition among insurance companies and you can generally save money by changing companies, changing coverage, etc.
Use cash for purchases. As consumers, we tend to use credit cards for purchases, but when we use credit cards, we buy more. Hide the credit cards and work on paying off any outstanding balances. Using cash will make your more aware of spending money and condition you to spend less.
Work some overtime or get a second job. Ask for more responsibility and a raise at your current job and save all of the extra money you make. There are lots of options for making extra cash, including part-time retail jobs, baby sitting, walking dogs, waiting tables, and driving for Uber.
Eat out less. Restaurants and bars are expensive. Save money by staying at home and having friends over to your place. Coffee shops are also expensive. The three bucks a day you spend on coffee adds up quickly. Make your morning coffee at home and pack your lunch a few more days each week.
Still Got Cable TV? Get rid of it and use internet to watch television. You should also call your internet provider to see if there are options for reducing your monthly outflow of cash for internet. Consider switching carriers if it saves money.
Cell Phones are expensive. Scrutinize what you are spending for cell phone service. You may be able to save money by changing your plan or switching carriers. Get rid of services that you pay for but don't use. Try getting everyone in your home on a group plan. Ask if your employer gets a discount.
Review your subscriptions. Consumers today have monthly subscriptions for lots of apps and games on their phones and computers. Some have internet publications and software charges that are incurred on a monthly basis. Review what you are spending for these and cancel the ones you don't need.
Employee Benefits may cost more than they are worth. You should review your employee benefits every year and make sure that you are not buying benefits that you are not using. For example, are you paying for vision coverage every month, but have perfect vision? Are you utilizing the company retirement plan to get the maximum benefit?
Gym Memberships Unfortunately, many people join gyms and never go. If you are paying for a gym membership an not using it, ether start going or stop paying.
Energy costs money. Consider switching electric providers to save money. There is website, www.energyogre.com, that will automatically monitor your plan and change to more affordable plans as needed.
Sell unneeded items in your home. Have a garage sale. If you have nice clothes you don't wear any more, kids clothes that your kids have outgrown, furniture that you no longer want or need, consider taking it to a consignment shop. You'd be surprised what people will pay you cash for. There are also lots of avenues for advertising items for sale on-line, too, like NextDoor and Facebook Marketplace.
Ask for discounts wherever you spend money. Many retailers offer discounts to nurses, policemen, teachers, medical professionals, military personnel and seniors. Students also get discounts on lots of services and at many businesses. Smaller retailers will offer a discount if you are paying cash instead of using credit cards. If you work for a large company, you may get discounts at retailers.
Enroll in Automatic Payment for discounts. Many utilities, student loan processors and automobile finance companies may offer a discount for enrolling in programs that allow them to draft your bank account monthly for the payment.
Use Convenience Charge services only if absolutely necessary. It's so tempting to have your groceries delivered to the door step and to have a restaurant bring you dinner to the door, but this costs lots of money. Think twice before ordering online and paying someone a fee to deliver.
Gifts. Many first time buyers are at the age where they have lots of friends that are getting married and having babies. All of them expect a gift of some sort. Gifts can be expensive and being in weddings can be quite costly. When you get another invitation, instead of rushing to the mall, consider giving a gift of your time. Consider offering your friend a free house sitting, baby sitting, or dog walking voucher.
Remember, when you want to save for a house, work more or spend less to get the funds you need to buy your home. You will never regret it!