5 Quick Lifestyle Changes to Help You Save for a Down Payment
At the end of each month, the bills exceed household income for many Americans. This is not only problematic for financial stability in the short-term, but it can make things like saving to buy a home seem almost impossible. However, there are often simple behavior changes that can lead to major adjustments in your monthly budget. Put together, and over time, these can result in significant savings if you can stick with them for several months. So, if homeownership is a dream for you, but you aren’t sure how to ever save enough money for a down payment, you won’t want to miss these great savings ideas.
1. Adjust the thermostat
According to a blog post, the Department of Energy estimates that if you reduce your thermostat for 8 hours, you will save about 1% on your energy cost for each degree you adjust the temperature. That means if you reduced your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees while you are sleeping or away at work for a total of 8 hours daily, you could anticipate an annual savings of up to 10%. They recommend that during cooler months, you try keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees while you are home and awake, but reducing it to 58 while you sleep or are at work. In the summer months, they recommend energy savings by keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees while awake and letting it drift to 85 while you are away.
2. Make your own coffee and smoothies some days
While having someone else prepare your morning or afternoon pick-me-up is nice, this pampering comes at a hefty cost. The average person spends $2.99 on a coffee to go. If you ordered one of these five days per week, you have spent $15 in a week. This number is actually likely much higher, as many people add a tip, buy a snack sometimes too, or upgrade their drink with flavorings or to a bigger side. Brewing a cup of coffee at home costs about 16 to 18 cents, plus additional costs for creamer, sugar, or flavored syrups. We all love supporting our local coffee shops at Julian & Company, but if you are struggling to save for a down payment choosing to make your own coffee some days may be a small step you can take to save a little extra money along the way.
3. Choose water instead of another beverage at home and at restaurants
It is amazing how much money can be spent on juice, seltzer water, kombucha, soda, and so many other liquid treats…. Not to mention how quickly they can disappear. Also, beverages at many restaurants are very expensive. A great way to save some cash is making a commitment to sticking with water rather than splurging on something else. If you want to feel a little fancier, ask for a slice of cucumber, orange, or lemon to add to your glass. These additions make your water look fancier and add a little flavor as well.
4. Consider how much you watch your cable and decide if a streaming service would be a good exchange
Another spot you may be able to save some money is your television bill. Many Americans now spend more time streaming shows on apps and paid services rather than watching traditional cable, so if you aren’t a huge tv watcher, consider checking with your internet provider to see if you can save some money by opting out of cable tv.
5. Check your bank statements for services you don’t use
If you are like many people, you are likely signed up for a tv, gym, software, music, or other subscription that you no longer use or that auto-renew and you forgot about them. These little fees can add up over time. According to a survey conducted by Go Banking Rates, nearly 50% of Americans are paying for an entertainment subscription service. In fact, they report that thousands of people waste $348 a year on subscriptions they’re not using.
While a downpayment cannot be made on drinking just water or canceling some subscriptions alone, each simple change you can make will boost your savings toward making that move into your new dream home.
Written by Dr. Marci L. Hardy, PhD