Being in your 20’s can mean living life from one extreme to the other, going from partying, spending sprees and travelling to exotic places to having no life, saving every penny you earn in preparation for your future. Saving for a mortgage is hard but you need to find a balance in order to maintain your happiness.
I am in no shape or form an expert on finance or mortgages but I just want to share my experience and tips I’ve learnt so far in hope it may benefit some of you.
Don’t sacrifice being young
You are in the prime of your life and you don’t want to miss out on fantastic opportunities or breath-taking experiences. For me, I wouldn’t have been proposed to on the white sandy beaches of Mexico if we had have been watching out every pound. I like to believe we are continuing making memories while working towards our goal of getting a mortgage. If an opportunity arises, you need to think about whether you’ll get that chance again.
Have a minimum saving amount
Setting up a direct debit or a standing order to ensure you save a certain amount each month is a great idea. If you set it for right after pay-day you will get used to the amount just not being there, making sure you always save money, not worrying if you can’t save any more within the month. I understand that some savings accounts do this, more specifically the Help to buy ISA. This is personally the one I use as it feels like I am being rewarded for saving (and who doesn’t need that kind of motivation, right?). The scheme is available for first time buyers encouraging you to save £200 a month via direct debit and then once your in the mortgage process, the government gives you £50 for every £200 you saved. For example if you saved £12,000, you will get £3,000 extra. By doing this you then have the option to save more in another savings account or just stick to your set amount and enjoy the month.
I know we rarely carry cash these days with how easy it is to whip out our debit card and use contactless to pay for some bread and milk. If you do happen to draw out some cash and eventually find that your purse rattles when you shake it, put it in a savings pot (preferably a ‘smash to open pot’)and forget about it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can build up. My fiancé read something interesting a while ago. If you get a £5 note in change, put it in your savings pot. It’s an amount you wouldn’t necessarily miss but it seriously adds up when you come to count it after months of saving them. When I break open mine I make a decision whether to save it towards my house or if there’s something I want to use it for such as a meal or a weekend away I wont hesitate.
Cut out restrictions
Saving hard while not allowing yourself to live your life is going to harm your happiness. It’s important to treat yourself and if you have a better half- them too! Have a date night, get a takeaway, buy those shoes you want. As long as you save your minimum for the month there’s no harm in indulging slightly. There’s just one tip to bear in mind; Before you spend money on new clothes or a spontaneous meal, think about what your saving towards. If you still want to buy that make-up you’ve wanted for months- go for it.
More tips to get the most out of saving while having a life;
- Family and friends can tempt you to spend more money than needed with expensive dinners, cocktails and who can forget Christmas time. Letting them know your situation can prevent you from getting unhappy while refusing numerous offers of social outings.
- Get a low-budget hobby; Personally I find Netflix the best option, but doesn’t everyone? Find a good TV show, get addicted and time will fly, all the while your saving money. Another hobby of mine is to regularly go to the gym. For me, paying the £20 a month membership is worth it. It’s distracting and I tend to focus on creating workout plans. It keeps my mind ticking preventing me from getting bored and spending money.
- Got holiday withdrawals but can’t afford one? It’s worth thinking about getting a 0% credit card and just making sure you pay it off before the 0% period ends. It’s the best of both worlds, you get to sun yourself up while boosting your credit rating which will help with mortgage application. Don’t just think you need to spend it on a holiday or something big, using a credit card for your groceries and paying it back has huge benefits for your credit score.
- Set budgets; Have a set amount of money for food and petrol, for savings and for spending. At the moment, my fiancé and I allocate £100 a week for food and petrol and it’s working out well, allowing us to save as much as we can while having some spare to be spontaneous with.
The main thing through the whole process of saving is to keep your goal in mind. I tend to look on Right move A LOT and it weirdly keeps me motivated, reminding me what all the hard work is for.