Saving for a down payment on a home requires commitment—we know there will be many needs and wants competing for your hard earned dollars. To help you stay on track, we have 10 tips for you:
How to save more
- Automate your down payment savings by setting up a monthly transfer of a minimum $100 per month from your chequing or savings account to your One Grand Plan account. Saving will become a habit, and you may be surprised at how little you miss the money. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
- Avoid debt like the plague. Credit cards lead to temptation, and unless you have ironclad determination, it’s a good idea to get rid of them—at least for the short term.
- Save more from work. Bonuses, tax refunds, sales commissions, tips, raises—tuck the extra dollars away and put them toward your down payment. Bit by bit, you’ll get closer to your goal.
- Pay less in taxes! When you do this, you free up money for other things—like a down payment on a home. A sure way to save on taxes is to contribute to an RRSP. When you contribute, there’s a good chance you’ll get a tax refund, which you can add to your down payment savings. RRSPs can also be used to help finance your down payment through the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan.
- Earn extra money. You may want to pick up a second job, take on part-time work or an extra shift. Consider selling stuff you haven’t used in years on eBay or craigslist. When you have a goal, every dollar helps.
- Find a partner and work together. Maybe it’s a significant other, relative or close friend who wants to partner with you to save money to buy a home. There’s no doubt that this will provide extra saving power—just make sure you know what you’re getting into and that it’s the right person to team up with.
How to spend less
- Organize a monthly budget and stick with it. Use Personal Financial Management tools (like the ones found on our online banking) to give you a full picture of where you’re spending and how.
- Reduce your rent. Depending on your situation, this could mean moving to a less expensive place, getting a roommate or even moving back in with mom and dad—temporarily. Rent, like transportation (see next point), is one of your largest monthly expenses, and reining it in will help you save more for your down payment.
- Consider getting rid of your car. This might not be practical, but it’s at least worth exploring as it could save you thousands. Seriously think about whether you could walk, bike, bus or share a car over the next few years. Car payments, depreciation, repairs, gas and insurance add up quickly.
- Cut back and look for less expensive ways to do things. There’s no way around it—you’re most likely going to have to cut back on things like clothes, movies, music, books, eating out or vacations. And try looking for less expensive alternatives wherever possible.
Throughout the process, remember that you have a pretty awesome goal you’re working towards. So go ahead and tape that real estate listing to your fridge or vision board it. Being more mindful about your money can increase your ability to save and ultimately make you a homeowner sooner.