For those of us who live paycheck-to-paycheck, the thought of saving for big-ticket items may seem like a near impossibility. However, as the economy gets its act together, financially savvy millennials are bucking the trend and making the prudent decision to invest in real estate. So how does a person start to go about making the biggest purchase of their life?
Skip the Starbucks: Your daily coffee habit is doing more than staining your teeth — it’s also wasting lots of your precious cash. If you’re trying to save up for your dream home, consider cutting back on your store-bought coffee or skipping it all together. If you’re getting two cups a day, that can easily add up to nearly $200 a month, and that’s if you’re not even buying the fancy stuff. Treat yourself to a cute to-go mug and some decent beans and make your own cup at home or the office — you could easily pocket thousands of dollars a year.
Set up an automatic savings account: Making the decision to part with the remaining cash in your checking account at the end of the month might seem like a painful choice, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting up an automatic savings account that draws a predetermined amount from your checking every week or month is an easy way to build up some major savings without even feeling like you’re sacrificing — after just a few months, you’ll be shocked to see how much you’ve stored away.
Cut down on unnecessary services: While nights spent at home may keep you from shelling out cash for concert tickets, taxis, and bar tabs, spending tons of cash on cable and premium channels can be a major budget-buster. Swapping your cable for cheaper services like Hulu and Netflix can save you nearly $100 each month, leaving you about $1000 closer to your savings goal by the end of the year.
Buy in bulk: If you’re a creature of habit and use the same products over and over, you can save yourself some serious money (and trips to the store) by buying in bulk. Do a search for local discount club memberships, many of which have free trial periods, and stock up on major quantities of your daily essentials, from food items to toiletries. You may end up spending more cash up front, but you’ll save a bundle in the long run.
Add some easy work to your schedule: Tacking on just a few hours to your work schedule every week can leave you with a lot of extra cash in a short period of time. Using just a few minutes of your spare time and a little ingenuity, you can easily make a major dent in your house fund. TaskRabbit will connect you with individuals willing to hand over small sums to have chores done for them, and sites like Etsy and eBay can pay big bucks for your old clothes or items you might have crafted.
The idea of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting at first, but it only takes a tiny bit of effort to improve your spending habits and start saving. Implement just a few smart money practices and you’ll be unlocking the door to your dream home in no time, perhaps one day having a second home in New York City.