Once you’ve decided it’s time to buy your own home, saving for that 20% down payment is step one toward doing it. Instead of waiting years, here are six ways to help you save up for that down payment in a matter of months.
1. Explore the market
If you are saving money to buy your dream home, consider taking a detour through a lower-priced neighborhood first. Buying a lower-cost home means you won’t have to save as long for the down payment. As the home’s value goes up, you can use the equity you’ve built to help you get into a higher-priced home later on, particularly if you find a fixer-upper and you’re good at repairs.
2. Keep your priorities in focus
While it may be tempting to put off other priorities when trying to save for an important goal, Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations at Freedom Financial Network, says paying the rent should always be your first priority. Next, Gallegos says, pay down credit card debt.
“Few, if any, investments will return as much,” he explains. Additionally, having more available credit on your card will improve your debt-to-income ratio and creates a financial cushion that you may need for unexpected costs after moving in to your new home.
3. Automate your savings
You can create a budget based on your current expenses to determine how much you can save each month. Once you have determined how much you can afford to save, automatically transfer that amount from your checking account to a savings account.
“Save before you ever have the money in your hand,” Gallegos says. “Record this expense like a bill every month.”
4. Generate more income
To raise money quickly, Gallegos says it pays off to turn your spare time into money-making opportunities. Look around your apartment for unneeded items to sell online or have a yard sale.
“Even small proceeds can accumulate surprisingly quickly,” he says. “Maybe you have skills where you can turn a hobby into a part-time, money-making enterprise. Babysit, tutor, do yard work or other part-time work.”