Owning your own place is a way of having security and control over your lifestyle that just isn’t possible when you rent. Here are 6 simple suggestions for starting money-wise habits that will see your savings grow:
1. Decide what’s important – goals and lifestyle
When you’re making a change, it’s more likely to stick when you connect your actions to your values and priorities. Take stock of what matters most – whether that’s friends and family, learning new things or keeping fit – and then look at how you can focus on those things more while spending less.
It might mean giving up your gym membership and joining a running club, or having pot-luck suppers at home with friends instead of restaurant meals, but remember: the sacrifice you make now is worth it for the benefits it’ll bring later.
2. Set the bar – make it achievable
So you’ve set your heart on a property you love, even though it might take you 5 years to save the deposit. If your dream apartment costs $650,000 now and values are rising at, say, 5% per annum, a 10% deposit will be significantly more than $65,000 a few years from now, so you’ll need to budget accordingly. Make your goals realistic and you’ll be in your own home and accumulating equity sooner.
3. Make a budget – and stick to it
Using apps like ASIC’s TrackMySPEND or Budget Planner can help you get a handle on your budget fast. It still takes discipline to log your grocery bills and insurance premiums, but charting your spending patterns makes it easy to see where you could be saving, particularly on discretionary items like clothes and entertainment. Take advantage of the calculators, goal-setting tools and home buying section to work out what you can afford to begin with and continue to track your goals throughout the money saving process.
4. Use the right tools – boost your finances
Take the time to learn about the financial assistance first homebuyers can access, and make sure you’re set up to get the maximum benefits. This extends to your bank accounts too – choosing the right account can bring higher rates of interest for your savings, particularly with extra incentives for making regular deposits.
5. Stay motivated – whatever it takes
It might mean sticking photos from your favourite interiors magazine to your wall. Or checking out home décor ideas on Pinterest. Maybe all you need is to keep a tally of how much you’ve saved, or to bring lunch to work instead of going to the food court every day. However you do it, it’s important to stay determined and motivated by choosing ways to remind you of your goal, celebrate your progress, or both.
6. Make some sacrifices – but don’t take it too far
Giving up everything that brings you joy – from yoga classes or a glass of wine to a weekend away with friends – just isn’t worth it if you feel like real life is only going to start when you’re in your own place. Give yourself occasional splurges by spending on things that are a priority and deliver memorable experiences.