When you decide to start saving a down payment for your first home, the best thing to do is to create a savings plan – how much you’re going to save each month based on your income and expenses.
Determining the amount of disposable income you have each month will help you carve out your saving timeline. But what if you could reach that goal quicker?
Once you decide to start saving, make the commitment to save rather than spend and take a spending vacation. It’s easy to whittle away a few dollars here and there on little things. So here are a few tips to help you avoid spending.
1. Create a time frame for your spending vacation – what’s a realistic amount of time for you to spend nothing (aside from your expenses)? Maybe you set it for a weekend, a week, or maybe you’re going to try this for an extended amount of time. Keep yourself motivated by stamping your calendar each day you don’t spend. This will help you visualize your progress!
2. In any case, once you’ve picked your time frame, write it down. Then give yourself a few rules for exceptions, i.e. if certain circumstances come up, you’re allowed to spend.
3. Before you start, fill your car up with gas, make sure you have groceries in the house, and pay any upcoming bills. Now you’re ready to start.
4. There are many ways you can enjoy your life without spending money. Here’s a list to give you some inspiration:
- Explore your neighbourhood or city on foot. Walking and running is great exercise plus you never know what you’ll discover.
- Find a new trail or park. Grab some friends, pack your lunch and head out for a hike.
- Catch up with friends. You don’t have to meet out. Inviting friends over for coffee is much more cost-effective, plus it will give you a little extra motivation to tidy your house.
- Delve into a new book. If you don’t already have one, get a friend to recommend and lend their favourite book. Or head to the library a pick up a few books you’ve been meaning to read.
- Stay in an watch a movie. Another great reason to invite friends over. Watch an old DVD for some nostalgia, or find something new on Netflix (in any given group of people at least one person will have a Netflix account).
- Learn something new! Between library books, the internet (and of course we’re specifically talking about YouTube), you’ll have so many tutorials available to you. What have you always wanted to learn to do?
- Dive into a home organization project. Take this time to focus on organizing your belongings, maybe donating the things you don’t use, or just giving your place a good clean.
5. Once your spending vacation is over make sure you transfer your savings into a separate account. With this strategy, the hope is that you won’t completely revert to your old spending habits when the vacation is over, but you’ll be more mindful of where your money is going and how much you could be saving.