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10 easy ways to save money when buying a house

My own experience - changes to your day-to-day spending that can add up when you’re saving to buy a house

It goes without saying that buying a house is expensive. Not only do you need to save up a deposit in line with rising house prices, but there are also other costs involved once you’ve actually put in an offer, such as Stamp Duty and solicitors fees. Saving up the money can seem like a daunting task, so here are a few tips to help you see if you’re making the most of your hard-earned money on a day-to-day basis.

Image of woman holding a piggy bank in one hand and a model house in the other hand

1. Work out a monthly budget. Do you get three weeks into the month and find you then have to live on beans on toast for the remaining week because you’ve not managed your money well? Sitting down and working out a budget at the beginning of the month can really help when sorting your finances. Things to think about include:

a. Guaranteed outgoings – Rent, bills, petrol or train tickets

b. Any big events you have planned for the month – Whether it’s paying for someone’s birthday night out or a weekend away, if you budget for the spend at the beginning of the month you’re less likely to overspend at the end of the month

c. A budget to spend on food and any other expenditure – Plan how much you think you’re likely to spend on your monthly shopping bill and if there’s anything else you do each month, such as going to the cinema, include this in your budget

d. Work out how much you have left over – This can be put towards savings

2. Do a meal plan. Planning your meals each week and writing up a shopping list means you’re less likely to go around the shops aimlessly picking up food and getting home with a combination of ingredients suitable for Ready, Steady, Cook! This will also stop you popping to the shops midweek and picking up even more impulse buys, or plumping for a takeaway because you’ve got nothing in.

3. Take a packed lunch. Taking a packed lunch to work each day is also a great way to save the pennies. A homemade sandwich compared to your daily sandwich shop habit will soon find you saving the pounds.

4. Ditch the daily coffee shop trip. If your morning commute sees you going to a coffee shop daily to get your caffeine fix, take a minute to work out the cost. A £2.50 latte each day is £12.50 a week, or £50 a month, or £600 a year. A simple swap to a jar of coffee can soon make a difference to your house fund.

5. Always search for the best price and deal. Use price comparison sites so you don’t spend more than you need to for holidays or insurance. If you’re looking at buying products online you can also do searches to make sure you’re getting the best deal, or use websites where you can get cashback for things you’d have to buy anyway. Go to Poundland!

6. Take a look at your bank statements. If you have an expensive TV package with all the films and sport, plus Netflix and Amazon Prime, do you really need and use all three of them? If the answer is no, see if you can cancel your subscriptions and put the money you would have spent into your savings. Likewise, do you really need the expensive gym membership you never use? Cancelling your gym membership can save £100s over the course of the year if you’re not using it.

7. If you get a pay rise at work, immediately set up a monthly transfer of the increased pay into your savings. If you managed to live off your salary before you got the pay rise, you shouldn’t miss the extra in your salary if it goes straight into savings. If you wait a few months before setting this up you’ll soon find you’ve got used to having the extra money going into your account and you won’t know how you managed without it before, making it harder to save.

8. Think twice before you spend. Do you really need that new top or trainers? Instead of buying something right there and then, wait a couple of weeks and see if you still want or need it. Chances are unless it’s something you really need you’ll have forgotten about it in a couple of week’s time and saved yourself some money in the meantime.

9. Offer to have a night in and entertain your friends, instead of a night out. Going out and socialising with your friends can soon add up by the time you factor in taxis, dinner and a few rounds of drinks. Swap a night out for the occasional night in. Either take it in turns to cook dinner ‘Come Dine With Me’ style, or choose a takeaway and a few films or games. You’ll still be spending time with your friends, but spending less money.

10. Sell your junk. Your trash is another (wo)man’s treasure, and the stacks of CDs and DVDs you have sat collecting dust could be making you money. There are plenty of websites that will offer you cash for your unwanted CDs, DVDs, or even your old mobile phone. It’s also worth going through and seeing if you can declutter and sell things at your local car boot sale or through an online auction.

Emma Burhouse


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