There are several things to consider where money is concerned, from ensuring you have enough for a sizeable down payment to planning for closing costs, so you’ll want to create a list of costs, a timeline, and a starting budget. It’s also important to check your credit and look for ways to raise the score, and while this usually takes a little time, you may be able to find help through a credit app that boosts your number when you add items like utility bills to your report.
You can also take advantage of resources like the Prosperous Frugal blog, which offers tools that can help you make saving money a sustainable practice. Here’s a list of ways you can manage your debt and get your finances in order in time to buy your dream home:
1 Take your business into consideration
When getting your finances in order, it’s essential to take your professional assets into consideration. Small business owners–especially those who work from their homes–often find it extremely helpful to form an LLC, which protects their personal assets in the event of litigation and offers flexibility, tax benefits, and less paperwork than a corporation. Creating a business structure will allow you to separate your personal and professional funds so you can stay on top of your finances without worry, but every state has its own regulations for LLC formation, so read up on the steps in your area before getting started.
2 Create a budget
Once you’ve gotten your personal and professional assets separated and protected, create a realistic household budget that will help you cut back on spending. You might utilize a budgeting app, or download a banking app that will show you information on income and purchases in real-time. It’s also a good idea to look at all your debts and decide which ones are a priority for paying off. High-interest credit cards are a great place to start, but be careful about wiping out credit card debt entirely, as this can impact your score.
3 Reduce your spending
With a budget laid out, cutting back on spending will be a bit easier, but it can still be tricky to save money when your needs are always changing. It can be helpful to start putting aside little cash each payday for unforeseen costs while looking at your average monthly spending. Paying for certain streaming services, gas, and fast food really adds up, and those are easy places to start when you’re ready to reduce your expenses. When grocery shopping, take the time to make a list beforehand and stick to it as closely as you can.
4 Break expensive habits
Another easy way to cut back on your spending is to break expensive habits, such as smoking, going through the drive-thru for an iced coffee every day, and shopping as a form of stress relief. These habits are often difficult to let go of because they offer a “treat” that can seem helpful in the short term for your mental health, but in the long run, they add up to overspending each week. Try cutting back on one habit a little bit at a time rather than giving it up all at once, and replace it with something free or low-cost (such as making coffee at home).
5 Lower your monthly bills
Saving money doesn’t have to mean giving up things; you can also look for ways to save each month on the things you need. Making energy-efficient changes to your house or apartment to lower utility bills, changing over to a bundle with your phone or streaming service, refinancing a loan, and being diligent about not wasting electricity are just a few ways you can start saving on necessary bills.
6 Take on a gig
Even with a reduction in your spending, it can be a challenge to set aside an amount of money each month that will impact your home-buying plans. Consider taking on a side gig, which is easier than ever these days with the number of options available. Whether you want to work for a company as a delivery driver or become an entrepreneur, there are several ways you can start earning extra money and bulk up your savings account. Just make sure you’re aware of your tax responsibilities throughout the length of the gig.
7 Sell your stuff
Don’t have the extra time to tackle a side gig? Consider unloading some of your belongings with a garage sale or through an app. Not only can this help you earn quite a bit of cash pretty quickly, but it will also allow you to start going through items to declutter and decide what you want to take with you to the new house.
8 Save on the home itself
Once you’re ready to start looking for the perfect home, consider ways to save on the process. Buying a home “as is” is a great way to get a good sale price, but there’s a lot to think about with this option, as it means the seller won’t cover the cost of repairing damage from mold, leaks, and pests. They also won’t be responsible for fixing structural problems, and all of these are pretty costly repairs that will fall on you. Understand exactly what the terms of the sale are before signing a contract, and be prepared to make repairs yourself.
Buying a home is a major life decision, and it can take some time to save up enough cash to cover the costs associated with it. Look for support from friends and family during this time, if possible, and utilize as many online resources as you can to make the process easier.
Have a question about saving money? Get in touch at Prosperous Frugal today.
By Sarah from Economymom.com