10 Creative Ways to Save for a Down Payment on Your First Home

If you’re a first time home buyer and you’re not quite sure how you’re going to afford a home, you’re not alone. A new home is a huge investment that most people have to save up for. The good news is that there are so many creative ways to save for a down payment. Some of the ways take longer than others. But believe me when I say this: you will get there!

creative ways to save money for a down payment

These ten are just the beginning. A couple of things to keep in mind are that you will likely need more than just the down payment. There are other costs to consider, including the cost to move your things to your new place. Legal fees and property taxes are also paid upfront, so you will need money to cover those costs. You’ll also likely want new furniture inside the home and outside, too. So make sure you consider everything and come up with a realistic amount.

10 Creative Ways to Save for a Down Payment

1) Open a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account)

If you’re looking for a simple way to put money away for your new house, open up a tax free savings account at your local bank. You can have the money auto debited from your cheques every month, so that you don’t even have to think about it. You might find it’s easier to do it this way. Eventually you won’t notice the money coming out. You can go to your bank and set this up.

2) Start an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)

If you start a registered retirement savings plan, and begin contributing to it regularly, you’ll find that this is a great way to save for you house. The reason is simple: the government will allow you, as a first time home buyer, to borrow from it, tax free, so long as you pay it back within 15 years. You may have already started an RRSP. If so, definitely consider using that as a way to put money toward your house.

3) Give up a coffee a day.

How much do you spend on a cup of coffee at Starbucks? $3? $5? If you buy a cup a day, imagine how much money you’d have at the end of the month. 30 days times $5 is $150. This is probably the easiest of ways to save money.

Finding little ways to cut costs is one of the most creative ways to save for a down payment. Even if you don’t drink coffee, think about saving $5 a day. You can put it in a coffee jar or something at home. Or, you can enroll in an auto-save option at your bank. $5 a day doesn’t seem like much but it really adds up.

4) Pack a lunch instead of buying one.

Eating out is expensive over time. Lunch is something you can easily make at home and take to work. Unless working lunches are part of your job, try making your lunch at home and bringing it to work. While you’re trying to save for a new house, every little bit counts.

This is a small thing that can have a big impact. If you’re not creative in the kitchen, it’s okay. There are some really interesting ideas online for packed lunches. Of course, the simplest thing is to just eat left overs. If you’re truly looking for creative ways to save for a down payment, you have to consider all of your options and the things you might need to do differently.

5) Pay cash instead of credit (saves on interest).

When you’re saving up to buy a new house, the last thing you want to do is go into more debt. Unless you make a very good habit of paying off your credit card balance every month, avoid using credit while you’re trying to save. You’ll pay more for things you buy on credit.

Also, think about this: when you make yourself pay with cash, you tend to be more frugal. Studies have shown that people are actually less conscious of their spending habits when they use credit cards. But when using cash, you’re likely to feel it more, because the money is physically leaving your hand or bank account. In this way, you may save money just by making fewer purchases.

6) Hold a garage sale or sell items on Kijiji.

Try selling some of the things you no longer need. You can have a garage sale if you have the space, or use Kijiji to list your items for free online. You might even be able to talk your parents or friends into letting you sell some of their old stuff, too!

Consignment can be a good way to make a little cash, too. Old wedding gowns you no longer need or nice clothing that will sell for a lot of money does well on consignment, and so do antiques and nice furniture.

 7) Ask for money instead of gifts.

If your birthday is coming up or Christmas is coming soon, ask your relatives to send money instead of gifts. Most people are happy to give you what you need, they just don’t always know what that is unless you ask. Let them know you’re trying to save up for a new house, and in lieu of gifts this year, you would really appreciate cash.

The same is true if you’re getting married and plan to buy a house right away. Tell your wedding guests your plans, and instead of registering for gifts, ask them to donate toward your down payment. You may end up very surprised at how generous your friends and family can be!

8) Get a second job.

Working just a few extra hours every week can help you save money for a house very quickly. If you were to save all of the money from a second job at $15/hr, and you work 5 hours per week, you’d have $1,800 in 6 months. Put all of the money from your second job into your new home – not a vacation, or eating out, or extra pampering. Even though you might really want those things, you have to focus in order to save money.

If you can work a second job in the evening, great. Serving/bar-tending, landscaping, pet sitting, driving an Uber, etc. are all creative ways to save for a down payment. But you can also try working online for more flexibility. Virtual assistant work is easy to find and usually pays well. Remember, just a handful of hours per week is all you need to earn some money to use for your new house.

9) Negotiate down payment plans with builders.

While this might not be one of the most creative ways to save for a down payment, it’s one of the best. One reason new home sales are great is that you can often work with builders regarding financing. Some builders will allow you to pay as little as $5,000 in cash upfront. Then, you would pay them a separately monthly payment for the remainder.

I actually specialize in new home sales and can help you understand this a little bit more, so if you have questions about this, reach out to me so I can help!

10) Talk to mom and dad.

You know your parents better than I do, but I can say from experience that it’s not uncommon for first time home buyers to get a little gift or loan from their parents to help buy a house. Get creative! Maybe there’s something you can do for them to offset the cost, or perhaps there is a gift or inheritance coming that you can get a little bit early.

Buying a home is such an accomplishment, and many parents are proud when their children buy their first one. Therefore, your parents may be happy to help you into your first home and may give you or loan you some money toward it.

Conclusion

You know that buying a home is a big investment. And, it takes cash upfront. Again, it’s not abnormal to have to take time to save money for a house, so don’t feel alone. Most people have to. Hopefully, you’ve gotten some new, creative ways to save for a down payment from this post. If you try more than one of them at the same time, you’ll have savings in the bank before you know it.

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! My name is Jennifer McIntosh and I am a real estate agent specializing in new home sales and first time home buyers. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook or check out houses for sale

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