Tanya Tanimoto's Blog
Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.
Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.
Why budget for a down payment?
If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.
However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:
Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment
Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account
Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.
You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!
YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.
Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.
You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.
Saving with your spouse
Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.
First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.
From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.
- Buying in bulk: Some people swear by the savings they rack up by joining and doing their shopping at wholesale buying clubs. Others say it isn't worth the long lines at the checkout counter, crowded parking lots, and the fact that not everything is cheaper than at regular retail stores. Like any kind of shopping, though, it pays to compare prices and research the best deals. However, it's not unusual to save from 25% to 50% on a variety of commonly used household items, groceries, and other consumer goods.
- "Coupons" is not a four-letter word -- although some people act like it is. Clipping, printing, saving, and organizing discount coupons can be a bit of a nuisance, but when you add up the monthly savings, it's worth the inconvenience. Stores that offer double coupons and/or accept competitors' coupons can also help you chalk up extra savings. Taking advantage of advertised specials is yet another way to reduce your monthly expenses.
- Compare notes with friends and family. You can often pick up worthwhile money-saving ideas by simply asking people whose opinions you respect. Nearly everyone has discovered stores, products, websites, businesses, and strategies that have helped them save money. Sometimes the topic is also discussed on social media sites. Most people you know would be glad to pass along their money saving tips, insights, and techniques.