Buying a house at 21! Saving tips!

I’m 21 years old and in 2019 I saved for a house deposit in 6 months give or take, no money was gifted, no inheritance just money myself and my partner worked for.

This is going to be a long post so I appreciate you taking the time to read it, maybe grab a cup of tea beforehand!

I just want to give a huge disclaimer, we have two incomes coming in to save for our mortgage, we both work full-time jobs and earn above the national living wage, we have no children, no loans or anything on finance, my credit card is paid off (I’ve barely used it) neither of us smoke and rarely drink but we were paying rent and bills whilst saving which does make things a lot more difficult, so if you’re reading this and you’re a single person or work part-time or have children, etc, then naturally it’ll take longer for you to save but I hope my tips can help where they can! I also want to mention that i have no judgement towards people who have had financial help from others or inheritance to pay for their deposit, I’m just sharing advice from my own experience, but this advice will mostly likely apply to other things,

I made some of these changes before I began saving, I started saving in April/May 2019 and finished in October 2019, we put no money aside in the month of July 2019

Cutting down where you can is probably the main thing you can do to save money!

Most people have phone contracts and want the newest phone or the most technical phone going, which can cost a lot, my phone contract ended in September 2018 and instead of getting the new iPhone I wanted, I just got a SIM only contract, so I was just paying £14 per month for my usage, I saved £50 per month by doing this in comparison to my current phone contact of £64 (November 2019 I got a new phone as I’d finished saving for my deposit) that’s £600 a year saved by keeping my old phone for one extra year!

Walking is not only great for losing weight but also saving money, I know walking everywhere is not ideal or realistic, if I was to walk to work every morning it would take over an hour,  so I would walk to the bus stop that’s a 25 minute walk away from where I live, my closest bus stop is about a 5 minute walk away and would cost me £2.70 to get to work but the one that’s a 25 minute walk away is £2, I also didn’t have to leave the house as early for the bus that was further away from my house weirdly, it would roughly cost me £700 a year for me to catch the bus closest to me but only £520 per year for the bus that’s a 25 minute walk away (I work 5 days a week) and that’s another £180 saving, not much but better than nothing!

Pack lunches! The past 2 places I have worked for has has an overpriced canteen where you can easily spend £5 or more a day on food and drink. I once worked somewhere that stocked a Costa machine, I would spend £2 a day on one hot drink, that’s £40 over 4 weeks and £520 a year, fuckkk that’s ridiculous! I then bought a £7/8 flask and made my drinks from home and saved hundreds! Such a simple change, I still got my hot drink but I just had to make it myself which I don’t mind doing! Also, batch cooking meals to take into work, a sandwich meal deal at work is like £3.50-£4, bag of pasta is 50p and you can make multiple portions and 4 tins of tuna is £3 that’s £3.50 for four meals or more, or sandwiches made at home are even cheaper. I know all of this is basic maths but out of convenience we just pay more for things!

If you’re renting whilst saving for a house then look into making your bills cheaper, compare the market and uswitch are great free websites which compare different suppliers and shows you the best deals available, for example, we changed energy suppliers and our bill went from £69 per month to £39 per month and we’re still in credit with our new supplier!

So just to list a few small changes you can make in day to day life that can save you hundreds of pounds through out the year and it definitely all adds up!

Bigger changes you can make is changing your spending habits, I say that this is a bigger change based on the fact it’s harder to break habits! If you’re someone with bad spending habits and very impulsive when in comes to money then you’re going to have to break that, I used to love buying make-up, I loved buying all the new eyeshadow palettes or whatever product is being hyped about at the time, I stopped doing that completely, I only bought makeup if I needed it and the same with clothes, I would regularly fill an online basket full of things I’d want to buy then close the tab, I wouldn’t order them, seems kinda like torment but I couldn’t help but look. I’m not sure how much this would have saved me but makeup ain’t cheap!

Other bad habits would be drinking and smoking, I don’t smoke and barely drink alcohol but I have plenty of friends who do and when they tell me the price of cigarettes and how many they smoke a day, oh shit it’s a lot and it’s hella expensive, obviously it’s an addiction but cutting down and quitting would be another amazing way to save money, so just food for thought for anyone who is reading this and is a smoker!
And alcohol isn’t as expensive but a night out is expensive when you add in the price of the taxi, the outfit, getting into clubs, drinks, food, flip flops from the cute toilet shop lady, so maybe invite your friends round to your house to drink so you can still socialise and save money or just simply agree to go on less nights out, I know it doesn’t sound as fun but sometimes you have to make small sacrifices in order to achieve other goals.

Another thing I want to mention is take full advantage of any schemes/ISAs available! I can only really discuss the Help to Buy ISA as this is what I have used and have experience with (not the help to buy house scheme, that has equity loans for new builds, they are very different and I personally think aren’t too great, great to get you on the property ladder, not great because I’ve heard about people struggling to pay back the equity loan) anyway the Help to Buy ISA basically involves putting £50-£200 per month into your help to buy ISA account, and once you’re ready to buy a house the government will give you an additional 25% of what you have saved, for example I had £3000 in my ISA, so the government gave me an additional £750, Aaron had £2800 in his and he got an additional £700, so an additional £1450 for free essentially! (Make sure you close the account at the right time or you could miss out on the 25%)

And one last tip, not a saving tip but something that helped me was to open another savings account, I opened a joint savings account with Aaron, which is where we keep the rest of our savings for the house as we could only put £200 each per month into our ISA.
This just helped us organise our money better, so we knew what money we could spend and what was for savings.

I have previously written a post about how to save money with your food shop!

I hope this has helped and will inspire you to make smart money saving decisions! It’s getting harder and harder to get on the property ladder these days as house prices increase and wages barely shift.

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