For many years there were ample mortgage options for first-time buyers based on a 10% or sometimes even lower deposit. First-time buyers with a healthy 10% deposit still have a few mortgage options from the various lenders, but these kinds of mortgages aren’t quite as readily available as they were prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With recent changes that have made it harder, rather than easier to get a first mortgage, we thought that now would be a great time to put together some simple tips on saving money, because when it comes to saving up for a deposit for a house, every little really does help!
1. Banish your bar bill
During lockdown we all got used to staying in and as a result, we found that our bank balances breathed a collective sigh of relief! With no buying expensive rounds at the pub or forking out for fancy cocktails, no bites to eat or post-pub takeaways and no Uber to pay for to get us home, many of us realised just how much we’d been throwing away each month on non-essentials.
Whilst no one wants to live confined to home with nothing to look forward to, if lockdown taught the great British public one thing, it’s that we’re resourceful and adaptable and instead of pub quizzes in actual pubs, we turned to Zoom quizzes with mates, booze bought more cheaply from the supermarket and socially-distanced garden get-togethers instead.
To help you save up and boost your deposit, make sure you limit the time you spend in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Even if you only go ‘out out’ or to the pub just once a week, it can be extremely expensive, so aim to cut down your visits to pubs, clubs and restaurants by as much as half. That way, you’ll still get some nights out and so won’t feel too deprived and because they are a little less frequent, you might even find you enjoy and appreciate them more!
2. Cut down on expensive cuppas
Missing out on treats sucks, but when you stop and think about just how much the average takeaway coffee from one of the big chains or even your local trendy indie coffee shop costs, it’s astonishing just how expensive a cuppa can be! Remind yourself that £3.50 for a latte is actually a luxury buy and not something to be splurging on when saving is a priority.
Of course, it’s nice to treat yourself, but a takeaway coffee is exactly that, an occasional treat and not something to waste money on several times a week, or worse every day! Thanks to increased awareness of the environment and a renewed desire to shop in a more sustainable manner, there are now lots of different reusable cups you can buy, many of which are insulated.
Invest in one that will keep the contents hot so then you can make yourself a cuppa in the morning before you leave and take it with you on the train or in the car. You might be surprised at just how much money you can save by cutting out expensive and unnecessary costs like your daily coffee or occasional evening takeaways.
3. Get thrifty
I’m not for one moment suggesting you start buying all of your clothes from charity shops, but you might be surprised at what you can find second hand, or even being given away for free on websites like Freecycle.
Second-hand isn’t really cool right now, so you’ll most likely find things labelled as ‘pre-loved’ or ‘vintage’, but next time you need something, why not find out if you can buy it second hand for less?
Don’t forget to check places like Facebook too which have local seller groups. People will often clear out their homes or will want to upgrade pieces of furniture and simply want things gone, so you can often pick up a real bargain.
4. Be brutal with your bills
Take a long hard look at all of your outgoings to get a really clear idea of exactly what you’re spending on. If you’re in rented accommodation and have bills to pay, then use a price comparison site to see if you could be getting things like your mobile phone or utility bills cheaper elsewhere.
You can almost always find a saving when it comes to your essential bills, so instead of just continuing to pay out each month, spend a few hours looking into alternatives.
Your mobile phone tariff is something that you can usually save a fair bit on by either changing the plan you’re on or switching to a different provider. Sometimes even just threatening to switch provider is enough to trigger a sizeable discount!
5. Become a savvy shopper
Shopping for food as you need it is a great way of saving money. When you only shop once a week, fresh food will often go off and need throwing away before you get to eat it. When you shop more frequently however, you only buy what you need for your next meal or two and so fresh food doesn’t get the chance to go off!
As well as helping to eliminate food waste, shopping for your evening meal after work for example also means that you can detour to the reduced aisle, where you’ll find food priced to clear at a fraction of the usual cost.
6. Buy what you need, not what you want
We get it. You work hard, and if you fancy a takeaway, a slice of cake or you notice a pair of new kicks you like the look of, why shouldn’t you treat yourself? Of course, treats can be good for our wellbeing but don’t get into the habit of constantly buying things that you want, but don’t need.
"Just remind yourself how much more you’ll love the feeling of owning your own home and keep on walking!"
Set aside a small budget each month for non-essential treats, but now is a great time to get out of the habit of impulse buying. It’s something that can be easier said than done, but with a bit of determination, you will learn that resisting temptation now, will reap dividends in the long term.
So next time you walk past a shop and gaze in and see something you love, just remind yourself how much more you’ll love the feeling of owning your own home and keep on walking!
7. Remove spending triggers and temptations
It’s the end of the month, you’ve just been paid and your inbox is packed full of payday emails from the likes of Asos, Boohoo, Firebox and Beauty Bay. All retailers try and tempt us via our inboxes and sometimes the offers are just too good to resist!
Most of the time though, you’ll find that inbox temptations are things that you want, not that you need! So to resist temptation, consider unsubscribing from email newsletters, particularly for retailers you typically shop online a lot with.
Do the same across social media too, change your ad settings on Facebook and temporarily unfollow or hide posts from brands that frequently tempt you to shop with them.
8. Be honest about your priorities
Can we talk for one moment about beauty treatments? If there’s one contentious topic that’s bound to elicit a knee-jerk reaction it’s this. But let’s face it. Much as you might want to believe to the contrary, having your eyebrows shaped, a spray tan or your fingernails painted is not a critical outgoing. Beauty treatments are all luxuries and your spending in this area needs carefully scrutinising so you can figure out if your priority in life is flawless brows or owning your own home.
There are very few beauty treatments you can’t do yourself at home for a fraction of the price of a salon, if not for free, so if you’re a high maintenance miss or mister, you need to be aware that saving up for something as major as a deposit for a home means making sacrifices and if that means doing your own nails or looking slightly paler, then so be it.
Of course, visiting the hairdresser and looking after your hair matters, but does it matter more than owning your own home? Expensive salon treatments really aren’t necessary to keep your hair in decent condition, so now could be the ideal time to have a break from those extensions or highlights and do something a little more natural and less costly whilst you save up.
Giving up things you enjoy is tough and spending years saving up for a deposit can be tedious at best, but keep on going! It takes determination and a lot of self-control but it can be done.
We promise you, the feeling you’ll get when you open the front door to your own home for the first time will make every single deprived moment worth it and you’ll never think about that night out you missed or the expensive coffee you didn’t buy ever again!
When it’s time to move, don’t forget that you can save money on conveyancing by using an online conveyancing service like Move Home Faster.