A home is often the biggest investment most people will make in a lifetime. Saving for a down payment can be a lengthy and disciplined process. Taking advantage of federal tax incentives and low interest rates are great ways to reach your goal of owning a home.
If you’re a first-time home buyer, a veteran, have low income, or want to buy property in a rural area, it’s possible to qualify for down payment assistance through the following programs:
The benefits of down payment assistance programs vary depending on their rules and your circumstances—but they offer low or no down payment so it’s easier to become a homeowner. But if you aren’t eligible for assistance, you’ll need to accumulate some savings to qualify for a mortgage.
Here are some small ways that can really add up to big savings.
Make coffee at home instead of buying a daily brew. As we’ve mentioned before, saving that $5 a day you spend on your caffeine fix can save you big bucks in the long run. (Once you buy, take that extra $25 a week and apply it to your mortgage to save upwards of $39,000 on your home loan.)
Eat at home instead of going out. And bring your lunch to work. This goes back to the “wasting $5 a day” theory. A sandwich here and some chips there really adds up. And make sure to bring an afternoon snack so that you don’t hit up the vending machine.
Consider renting a smaller apartment to cut down on rent. Eliminate extras like cable, movie streaming plans, and excessive cell phone charges. It may seem like you can’t live without these things but once you get rid of them, you’ll find that it was relatively painless.
Use coupons at the grocery store and look for sale items. At the bottom of your receipt, pay attention to the “Amount Saved” total. Take that amount and set it aside into a savings account. You would have spent this money on groceries, so you’re not hurting your wallet.
Cancel your overpriced gym membership fee and work out on your own. Check Craigslist, garage sales and even friends for equipment like treadmills and dumb bells and create a pseudo-gym in your spare bedroom, garage or basement.
Program your thermostat so heat is lowered at night or during the day when occupants are not home. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and use fans instead of air conditioning to keep your electricity bill low. Only make toast on weekends? Rarely use the dvd player anymore? Make it a habit to unplug appliances that see little action.