Making small changes to your habits can make a big difference in your ability to save. Saving takes some pre-planning and discipline and a well-executed strategy.
Here are a few ideas to help you save.
- Take it right out of your paycheck and transfer a fixed amount into a special savings account. This is probably the most convenient and practical way to save. Take it right out of your paycheck. Make sure you set up an automatic direct deposit into a savings account that is earmarked for your down payment only. Commit to using this money for a down payment and no other purpose.
- Take advantage of special programs including down payment assistance programs. Check with your lender to see what type of down payment assistance programs they offer. See if you qualify with the FHA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service and the Veterans Administration. Also, check out local housing authorities, such as MSHDA. If the lender doesn’t offer these programs find a knowledgeable, reputable local lender that specializes in these programs.
- Skip vacations for a year. Make if a fun goal to forego any large vacations. Plan a staycation, or a night somewhere, and focus on how great it feels to get closer to your goal.
- Lower your expenses. Look at your budget to see what small things you can cut per month. Cut out a coffee per week, make your own pizza on Friday night. If you don’t have a budget, sit down and make one and evaluate it quarterly to see how you are doing. Shop at Costco, Aldi and other discount stores.
- Sell your stuff on EBAY or Craigslist. If you have Designer clothes, furniture, antiques, art, gaming devices that you barely use, consider selling them and putting the proceeds in your down payment account.
- Start a Side Hustle. Commit to a temporary period of time and put all of the money in your down payment account.
- Ask for a raise. If you’ve been thinking about a raise, and feel you deserve one, now may the time to talk to your superior about the value you bring to your organization.
- Use gift money. Parents or relatives may be able to gift money to help out a first-time home buyer. Gifts can come from your family, spouse or a domestic partner. Be sure to include the amount of the gift on your loan application and check with your lender as the best way to obtain and track this. To be recognized as a “gift” the donor will have to sign a gift letter saying there’s no expectation of repayment, interest, or anything else.
- Be wise with your money. Think about your purchases before you make them. Are there cheaper brands at the grocery store that are the same quality as the premium brand? Are there restaurants that offer the same quality and experience that are a little less expensive? Do you need another tan sweater? Be mindful about your purchases and avoid impulse purchases.
- Use your tax refund. Set aside a percent of your tax refund to deposit into your down payment savings account.
For more ways to save for a down payment, reach out to our team at Michigan Mortgage. We’re here to help in any way we can.