Raising the money to put down a mortgage deposit can be a daunting task – especially in economies where housing prices skyrocket.
The more you put down, the further you are on the safe side, but for some people raising at least 5% of the asking price is hard enough already.
When saving up for something big, the devil is always in the detail, so we’ve collected seven tips on how to easily save up some much-needed cash.
Keep track of where your money goes
A household budget, as tedious as it may sound, is a surprisingly easy way of keeping track of your finances – just log everything (yes, including that cheeky snack on the way home) for a month to get an overview before starting to save.
It won’t just help you identify any pitfalls or unexpected black holes which seem to magically swallow your cash, once you started saving in earnest it’ll also be a good way to hold yourself to account.
Be conscious about food
Food, especially fresh produce and meat, has become a commodity, with a large number of people not paying thought to whether they’re actually using what they buy.
Writing a meal plan (or a shopping list) and keeping to it is a quick and easy way of saving money – especially in combination with a weekly shop – as is not going to the supermarket on an empty stomach.
Go through your cupboards and take stock; we can say from personal experience that you’re likely to have more than you think you do, so use it instead of adding to it.
Resell unused things
Wardrobes are as much gold mines as are book- or CD shelves, the attic or those boxes in the basement.
Getting rid of things doesn’t just clear space, it may also turn out to be very lucrative – especially if your taste is a bit off the beaten track or you own books which have been long out of print.
That’s not to say you should chuck out everything older than five years, but when going through your cupboards, ask yourself if you’re really going to wear that leather vest hiding at the very back – or if someone else might pay you good money for it.
Mend your clothes
On the topic of sorting out your wardrobe: learn some basic sewing skills and mend damaged clothes rather than getting rid of them.
While some things are beyond repair, sewing on a button, closing a ripped seam and patching up holes don’t require a sewing machine and can considerably extend a garment’s life (and be done in front of the TV, too!).
Switch from bottle to tap
Bottled water is not just bad for the environment, it’ll also cost you a lot more than tap water, not to mention that you have to carry it home.
Tap water, despite some people believing differently, is safe to drink in both the UK and most parts of the US – and it’s so cheap you probably won’t notice much of a change on your water bill.
Keep a penny jar
Pennies or cents are the least popular part of any currency; people just carry them around in their wallets or leave them in the self-checkouts at the supermarket.
Since you’re probably not using them to pay, keep a jar or a bottle in a place where it’s always visible, and collect all your spare change there – from pennies to five pence coins.
When you carry it to the bank, once its full, you might be surprised to see how much money you saved up – and all without missing it.
Learn to say No
Window shopping can be nice and cruel at the same time – just like going to the shops when the sales are on.
It’s tempting to buy something in the spur of the moment, especially when it’s reduced, but stop for a minute and ask yourself if you really need the third pair of weirdly-patterned trousers.
If you’re unsure about a piece, leave it for now; if you’re still thinking about it in three days time, it’s a sign that you should get it, but more often than not it’ll be out of sight, out of mind.