The first big leap: Saving for a house

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Buying a house for the first time is a rite of passage for many. It is a nerve-wracking yet rewarding process, and for first-home buyers they need all the help they can get. The first step is to save up for the deposit, but if you haven’t done it before, you’re left thinking “how do I start?”.

There are many tips and advice flying around these days, so here are some the gems that will set you in the right direction.

Move back home

The number one money-saving tip is to move back home! If this is a possible option for you (and your parents don’t mind) then moving back home will help cut the costs of rent and bills. Maybe you can negotiate with the parents to do the laundry and gardening in exchange for board, or offer to cook dinner every night.

Cut extra costs

And we don’t just mean those before-work coffees! Though at first glance it may seem like you are not spending too much on non-essential things, taking a good look will bring up some possible areas of improvements. Gym memberships, restaurant dinners, the overall cost of night outs with friends (those pesky club entry fees and alcohol prices add up), coffee dates and excessive phone plans viable places to start. Swap the gym for runs in the park with a friend, or try the many free fitness instruction videos on YouTube for a home workout (yoga, pilates, weight-lifting, the list goes on). Instead of restaurant dinners or night outs with friends, invite them all for a pot-luck dinner and BYO beer. You will still have fun catching up, without the dreaded taxi cab fee. Re-evaluate your phone plan and ask yourself whether you really need that 10 GB data plan when you’re usually using your wi-fi anyway. You can easily cut $10 to $20 off your plan a month by downgrading to just the minimum text and call package.

Leave the car in the garage

If possible, start taking public transport or riding a bike to work instead – this will help cut down on petrol costs with public transport totaling a fraction of the price. If you’re living with your parents, maybe even consider selling your car and borrowing your parents’ vehicle in exchange for fuel top-ups and offering to give it a wash when needed. This will save you money when registration renewal comes along!

Open high interest savings account

Get as much back from your earnings as you can. Opt for a high interest savings account and make sure you deposit into it regularly – don’t leave your fortnight’s pay in your regular transaction account! This will just tempt you to spend it all rather than set a portion aside. Every time your pay comes round, deposit a set portion of that into your savings account and let it sit. The interest will collect, and within a couple of years or so, you’ll be close to your deposit goal (if not having already achieved it!).

Get your tax return sorted

Make sure you save all those receipts because come tax return time, it’ll be good to get as much back as you can. If you can get a hold of a professional accounting firm, they should be able to give you some sound professional advice on how to make claims on things such as work and study expenses. So no matter what which way you choose to save some dollars, there’s always an opportunity somewhere within your everyday spending to cut back and be frugal. And help is always at hand, with professional financial advisers always ready to give advice (usually for free if it is your first consultation too) so always make use of that resource.