House prices seem to be the ‘in thing’ to talk about at the moment. With interest rates at an all-time low, and house prices going up and down all over the place, it’s a large topic of conversation.
The information we receive about houses seems to change all the time. The one thing we hear a lot of talk about is first-time buyers. First-time buyers seem to fascinate people. Though house prices are going up, the number of first-time buyers is also increasing at a steady rate. Not only are more people buying their first house, but the average first house price is increasing. Halifax announced in January 2017 that the number of first-time buyers is at a 10-year high, and the price of a first house has surpassed £200,000 (outside of London).
Saving for a house deposit is no mean feat. And then there’s the moving costs, solicitors fees and surveyancing fees on top of all that. So how are these first-time buyers doing it?
How to easily save for a house deposit
Set aside 10% of each paycheck each month. This one is easy. Earn £1,000? Save £100. Earn £3,500? Save £350. These amounts quickly add up.
Open a Help to Buy Isa. This helped me save so quickly. You deposit £200 each month, and the government gives you £50. It also has a 3% interest rate. But note: you only receive your government funding and interest when you can prove that you’ve had an offer accepted on a house. Therefore the extra funding can’t actually go towards your deposit, because you’ll have paid it before then. The funding in my ISA paid off all my solicitors and surveyancing fees instead which was a large chunk of money.
Only buy what you need. This one is also fairly easy. However, some people think they ‘need’ lunch, and will buy it from a cafe every day. Nope! Start taking your own lunch: you’ll save between £10 and £15 per week. That’s £40 per month! Take in a packed lunch, and put that £40 you didn’t spend into your savings account. Clothes shopping will also have to cease.
Use cashback websites. There are hundreds out there, just make sure you find one that’s trustworthy. You can receive 3-5% cashback on standard products and at supermarkets, and some websites offer 10-15% cashback on big purchases such as hotels, insurance, etc. Once you’ve bought your house, you should use these websites to get cashback on your gas and electricity, broadband, and even things like a washing machine, or freezer.
Avoid expensive days out. Saving money doesn’t stop you from going anywhere or doing anything, but it might make you think twice about participating in expensive activities. Even going out for a meal or a cinema trip can set you back £40. You can join the National Trust for £12 per year. If you went to a different National Trust site each week of that year, then you’d be paying 23p per trip. Not bad for a day out! Take your own lunch to stop you going to the cafes for lunch. For each meal out you don’t go on, put the cost of that meal in the bank. If an average meal out costs £50 for two, then eat in and put that £50 in the bank.
These are some of the tips that really helped me when I bought my first house. They aren’t huge sacrifices when you think what they can buy you in the future.
How did you save for your first house deposit?