House hunting is like going on the most expensive shopping trip of your life — you’re looking to buy something that costs over six figures. Yowser. That’s a lot of money! We have been saving for years, and yet it’s still going to be a small fraction of the total cost. A little intimidating, eh? In order to put down the most that we can, we’ve stepped up our savings a bit in the last six months. Here are a few ways we have been saving…
We continue to keep our expenses low.
Our salaries have increased slightly in the last year (either through inflation or job changes), and with each raise we haven’t changed anything in our budget except giving. Any new income we get goes to our house savings, so it doesn’t really feel like we got a raise until we look at our savings.
We reduced savings in our Car Repair Fund.
We have a “car repair fund” to cover car insurance, car fees and car taxes and usually throw a little extra to cover car repairs and oil changes, since they don’t really qualify as emergencies but aren’t things we want to pay with our regular budget. But in the last six months, we reduced the amount we save each month to the minimum (what we need for our bi-annual car insurance payment) and the rest we save towards our house. We’ll continue to save more after we buy a house. (Read more about our different savings accounts.)
We stopped spending money on decorations and DIY projects.
Aside from a few patio plants, I haven’t spend any money on decorations or home improvement or DIY crafts since March. We don’t want to buy something or paint any of our current furniture and risk it not fitting in with our new place.
We stopped spending money on clothes, accessories and shoes.
Since May, I have tried not to spend any money for my wardrobe. It’s forced me to get really creative with my outfits, especially at work since my coworkers see me all the time. I’ve been wearing a lot of dresses and skirts, mixing with tops and cardigans.
We save mileage checks.
Any time we use our car for work, we get paid about $0.50 for each mile and those paychecks go to our house fund. We don’t travel that often, and the checks are never that much, but hey — every little bit adds up.
We stopped contribution to our Roth IRA.
Back in March we decided to stop contributing to our Roth IRA. Again, we’ll continue to save for our Roth once we buy a house, but right now we feel it’s more important for Present Us to have this money than Future Us. (In case you’re curious, we haven’t stopped contributing to our 401(k)s because we want to still get the employer match.)
We are saying no.
Eeks. This one is the hardest. There have been a few really awesome trips and fun events and fancy dinners that we have had to decline. We know we won’t always have to say no, but for now this is a unique season of saving for us, so we want to be extra intentional with this time in order to get the best deal.
What other ways can you think of to save for something big, either a house or something else?