20% down is the golden rule, right?  Let’s be real, for most of us, that is a struggle.  But by putting down 20%, you’ll make a lower monthly mortgage payment, have instant equity in your home, and avoid private mortgage insurance.  It’s really worth your while to try to hit that number. So, let’s explore the practical ways you can build up your down payment savings fund.  

BUDGET.  Make a detailed budget of your monthly expenses so you know exactly how much money you have coming in and how much you spend on necessities and… not necessities…  Now, take a red pen to that budget and cut out as much unnecessary spending as you can. Limit your daily trips to Starbucks, pack your lunch, cook at home more often.  And if you see something advertised to you on Instagram and your knee jerk reaction is to click and buy RIGHT NOW, practice restraint. The bottom line is just to lower your monthly expenses.  

SAVE ON AUTO PILOT.  Once you’ve figured out how much you really need to live on for the month, set up automatic monthly deposits into a savings account.  Treat this like any other bill. If it happens automatically, you’re more likely to not spend it. And in a similar vein, when you get tax refunds, bonuses at work, an inheritance from your rich Uncle Harry that you’ve actually never even met, pretend like that money is not for spending, and send it directly into savings.

SIDE HUSTLE.  Add a side hustle to the mix.  Are you particularly good in a certain subject?  Try tutoring. Great at writing? Get some freelance writing gigs on your calendar.  There’s also babysitting, pet sitting, pizza delivering, Uber driving. If you’ve got a few extra hours a week, you can make some extra money.

ASK FOR A RAISE. It might seem a little forward but — hear me out — ask for a raise at work.  Or better yet, ask what you can do to earn a raise: take on more responsibilities, do a certification program, head a new project.  Increasing your take-home pay will allow you to hit your goals faster and more consistently.

SELL YOUR STUFF.  We’ve all watched the Mari Kondo Netflix series, right?  Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great places to sell the belongings that no longer spark joy.  Just remember to be safe and meet your buyers in a well-lit, public place.

So, it’s all a practice of being more mindful of your spending habits and getting creative about ways to earn extra cash and hitting that 20% goal.  Figure out what that number is in your situation and start a savings plan. How much do you need to save per month, per year, to hit your goal? And don’t forget, there are so many resources out there.  Check out our YouTube video on Down Payment Assistance for more helpful tips.

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