There are loans out there that cover 100% of a home’s purchase price, there are other loans that require a down payment from the buyer. If you don’t qualify for a 100% loan and don’t have much in the way of savings, finding the money to make a down payment on a home can be tough. Don’t let a lack of cash stand in the way of homeownership. Instead, try these nine tried and true ways to save for a down payment. You’ll be surprised at how the little things can add up.
Sit down and take a look at your budget. (If you don’t have a budget, now is a good time to get organized and create one!) Where can you cut or lower monthly expenses? What can you eliminate or reduce? You don’t have to deprive yourself of life’s little pleasures—just cut back on them for a little while. For example, if you usually buy coffee on your way to work, try making it at home most days of the week and treat yourself every few days. Take a look at what other monthly expenses can be scaled back. Apps and services like Truebill, Hiatus, and SubscriptMe are good tools to help you keep track of how much you pay for monthly subscriptions and paid memberships. Some other good apps to use for tracking and managing your money include Clarity, Mint, Wally, and You Need a Budget.
You’ve seen crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter for business ventures and GoFundMe for personal fundraising. Now you can crowdsource money for your down payment through HomeFundMe. Through this service, which is the only platform approved for helping crowdsource a down payment, qualifying homebuyers can receive up to 1% of their total down payment or closing costs. In addition, the platform’s approved lender CMG Financial will contribute $2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,5000.
If you have a problem with saving, try setting up a direct deposit that puts a portion of your paycheck straight into your savings account. Saving is so much easier when you don’t even see that money in the first place. If you don’t qualify for direct deposit through your workplace, you can also set up an automatic draft from your checking account weekly, monthly, or however often you’d like. It’s a highly customizable option.
Hear us out. We’re not talking about work overload with no vacation at all. Just challenge yourself to become creative when it comes to your vacations. Try smaller breaks like camping, short road trips, or a staycation. The money you’ll save by refraining from taking big trips for a while can really help boost your down payment. Once you’ve bought your house and are all settled in, you can treat yourself to a big, relaxing vacay to celebrate.
Reduce High Interest Debt
Credit card debt—especially those with high interest rates—can really put a limit on how much you’re able to save monthly. Start by paying off the credit cards with the highest interest rates. Once you’ve paid the highest one off, close that account and pay off the next. If you have the option to transfer the balance of a high-interest card to one with a lower interest rate, take advantage of that.
Borrow From Your Retirement Plan
Your 401(K) or IRA could be the perfect place to find a little extra money for your down payment. You’ll have to check to make sure that your particular retirement savings plan allows you to borrow against it. If so, you might be able to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your 401(K) balance, and first-time home buyers could qualify for an exemption of up to $10,000 from IRA early withdrawal penalties.
Sell Some Investments
If you have other investments, consider selling them to raise funding for your down payment. Don’t think of it as losing an investment; think of it as moving those funds into a different investment. When you buy a home and make your mortgage payments, you build up equity in that home. As the value of the home increases, so does your equity and the return on your investment.
Get a Side Hustle
A second job can help you add a good bit to your savings account. Some people deliver pizzas, drive for Uber or Lyft, wait tables, sell arts and crafts, or babysit as a temporary job to make a little extra money on the side. This is a great and honest way to earn extra income that you can set aside specifically for a down payment on a new house. The best part is you don’t have to pay it back! Bonus points if you can make some extra money on something you like doing, like painting or pet-sitting.
Make saving money a game. Instead of looking at reducing expenses as a loss or hardship, look at it as a personal challenge. See how many days in a row you can go without that latte from your local coffee shop. Challenge your work friends to see who can go the longest without going out to eat for lunch. Create a little club where you all brown-bag it and eat together in the break room. The money you save in these little ways make sound like pocket change, but they can really add up over time.