This year Shaun and I would like to either renovate our small family home or build a new one… Or both. Who knows. It got me thinking about finances and saving, blah blah blah. Saving sucks and I remember how hard it was to stick to the lifestyle changes we made, but the outcome (no matter what you’re saving for) is utterly rewarding. Today I’m going to share some of the ways we saved our deposit, in hope that other first home buyers may find it somewhat useful. I am completely aware that everyone’s financial situations are different and I am 100% not specialised in either budgeting or finance lollllll, but these pointers are changes we made a few years back. I am actually really excited to revisit them this year and start saving for our dream home.
First of all, it seems obvious but do your research on which banks have great home loan packages for first home buyers. Often first home buyers get so excited about the thought of building their own home that they start the process with looking at display homes ‘as a teaser.’ Just be aware that the sales assistants in these display homes are trained in selling and signing you up to build as quickly as possible with their company.
As a starting point I would recommend taking a look at People’s Choice Credit Union. They have a really impressive home loan package for first home buyers and have recently been named ‘CANSTAR’s 2016 First Home Buyer Customer Owned Institution Of The Year- SA.’ In celebration of this win they have a three- year Fixed Home Loan Package rate for first home buyers at 3.84%p.a. (comparison rate 4.86%p.a.) Cha Chinggg!
Use an online ‘savings’ and ‘borrowing’ calculator to determine a realistic budget. This will give you a rough indication at the types of homes and suburbs you can start looking at. You can find a savings calculator here and the borrowing calculator here.
Once Shaun and I figured out how much we could borrow and how much we needed to save I made some slight changes to our lifestyle. Here are 10 ways in which we did that:
- I made our major bills direct debit. eg $20 for each utility bill came out of my account every week which covered our usage for the year. Now that we have rates to pay for, I have bumped it up so we don’t need to fork out any extra money (unless we use a tonne more water than usual.)
- Online food shopping can really help when you want to save some extra coin because you only search for the items on your list. You’re not tempted by the chocolate specials and if you have kids, you don’t have to buy them bribes to be angel children.
- On that note, buy in bulk so you don’t have to shop as frequently. Guaranteed each trip to the grocery store, you will grab sometime you don’t really need.
- Make enough dinner for left overs to take to work/ have for lunch.
- Cut out some luxuries (it won’t be forever.) For me I started painting my nails instead of going to the salon and Shaun stopped drinking beer for ages. Both saved a tonne of money.
- Clear out the old. You will want to decorate a new home with gorgeous new furniture and homewares, so clear out the old and sell the items worth getting money for. I sold some of our old unwanted items on Gumtree, eBay and I even gathered up my friends for a Swapmeet.
- Car pool. I lived close by to a colleague and good friend of mine, so we took it in turns taking each other to work. I saved so much in petrol money because we lived 45mins away from our workplace.
- Go through your insurances and bills. Often you can save money when reviewing your car / contents insurance or private health care.
- Manage your debts efficiently and set up your direct debits the day after payday.
- This isn’t for everyone, but we had a tenant come and stay at our rental, which helped so much with our rent payments. Shaun was working fifo and our other 3 rooms were being wasted space so we had a really lovely guy come and stay with us (who was also fifo.) …Pretty much he paid half of our rent and was only there 1 out of 3 weeks.
These slight adjustments helped speed up the savings process and get us into our first home quicker. By biggest piece of advice is pretty obvious, do your research! Especially when it comes to lenders. It’s such a huge commitment and ideally you want to make the right decision regarding your finances. If you need any help understanding how the process of applying for a home loan package works or want to read further into the rates, this first home buyers guide is really helpful.
Now it’s time to practice what I preach and start saving for some exciting projects in 2017.
Have a lovely week!
This post is in collaboration with People’s Choice Credit Union, however all thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own.
Terms, conditions, fees, charges and lending criteria apply and are available on application.*To be eligible for a Home Loan Package, you must have minimum borrowings of $150,000 and your pay must be deposited into a People’s Choice account. The comparison rate is current as at 14 December 2016 and is subject to change without notice. Home Loan Rate available for first home buyers only (each borrower on the loan must have never previously owned a residential property (either separately or jointly with another person)). Investment Loans are excluded from this offer. After the fixed period, loan reverts to applicable Variable Home Loan Package rate at the time, determined by total home lending balance. Current Variable Home Loan Package rate for $150,000 is 4.71%p.a., comparison rate 5.09%p.a. The comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over a 25 year term. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. You should consider our Product Disclosure Statement and/or other Disclosure Documents. This information and advice is provided without reference to your personal circumstances so you should consider whether this product fits your objectives, financial situation and needs. People’s Choice Credit Union, a trading name of Australian Central Credit Union Ltd, ABN 11 087 651 125 Australian Credit Licence (244310).