You have finally decided that you are ready to plant your roots, and purchase a home! Congratulations on making that decision. What do you want to spend monthly on your mortgage? How are you going to pay for your home? A lot of people just don’t have $200,000 in a bank account ready to spend on a home.
Talk to a Local Lender
Before you start looking at homes, I highly recommend you talk to a local lender, preferably face to face. It is important for you to be honest with yourself, your lender, and anyone else who is going to purchase the home with you. The lender will be able to tell you based on several factors (credit, debt, amount of money you have in the bank, etc) if/when you will be able to purchase a home.
The lender will be able to walk you through your financing options, help determine how much money you need to put down, what your monthly payment will be, etc. It's crucial that you take time, in the beginning, to ask how the mortgage process works, before you submit an offer on a home. You have to know if you can actually afford to live in your dream home.
After you talk to your lender, you still may need to adjust your spending habits to help budget for the following: option period time, earnest money, inspection(s), quotes on the home, repairs, improvements, appraisal, surveys, etc. Some of these ideas are going to be easier than others. Take some time to consider the following, and adjust your spending habits accordingly.
Decrease Time Spent on Social Media and Television
How much time do you spend watching TV and looking at your social media account? Really? These activities have advertisements (some in which are targeted directly towards you) that tempt you to make unnecessary purchases. Social media has even turned into a platform where people sell items in multiple ways (direct advertisements, live videos, websites, direct messages, etc). The time that you spend watching television or social media can be used more productively.
Do you really need to purchase________?
When are you really going to use ________?
How often are you going to wear________?
When you are at a store, or even if you are purchasing something online, before you hand the money over to the cashier, or click to checkout, T-H-I-N-K! Really look at the object, event, or item you are about to purchase for 10 seconds and determine if you really need it.
After using the 10-second rule, if you are still spending too much, maybe you need to move to the 30-day rule. This is especially important when it comes to items that have more value. Look at the item that you want to purchase, and if it is something you think you need to have, wait 30 days. After 30 days, reevaluate. Who knows, maybe something better has come along that you want instead.
Look at the grocery flyers of deals that are going on that week. Meal prep around the items that are on sale. Make a list, and stick to your list. Items you use more frequently if you can buy in bulk, then do that!
Pack Your Lunch and Eat Meals at Home
The thing I like the most about going out to eat is convenience. Whenever my husband and I cook at home, the food always tastes better than when you go out to a restaurant. I struggle with eating leftovers, but my husband has no problem eating leftovers. The times when my husband and I are strict about this, we saved A TON of money.
Drink More Water
I will admit, I struggle with this. Even though purchasing coffee, tea, soda, alcohol at the grocery store is cheaper than at a restaurant, you are still spending money on a beverage. Drinking more water also improve your skin, teeth, body, and overall wellbeing.
How much do you smoke a day? How many packs a week do you smoke? If you vape, how often do you need to re-fill your cartage?
Turn Off Lights and Invest in LED Light Bulbs
Readjust Thermostat and Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
I also recommend visiting Power To Choose to do research on the different providers and their costs.
Cancel Unused Memberships
How long has it been since you have been to the gym? Especially with the wine clubs, meal prep boxes, e-book subscriptions, if you haven’t used it in a while, you may need to reevaluate.
Create a Visual Reminder of Debt
My husband and I had a whiteboard at one time that listed items we needed to pay off. Every week, we would look at the whiteboard, and make adjustments. It was an amazing feeling when we were able to eliminate items off the list. You can make this virtual or physical, as long as it is visual.
Taking the time to be a more cautious driver is not only safer but will save you time and money.
Air Seal Your Home
Look at your windows and doors. If you can see gaps, spaces, or holes, the air from your home is escaping. The money you spend to heat and cool your home is literally going out the door.