Buying your first home can seem impossible, especially for a generation that’s under-employed, underpaid and saddled with debt. I know because I used to think it was unattainable. Until I bought a house. Last month. With my own savings.
I’m not going to lie to you: It required a lot of sacrifice, hard work and flexibility. But I’m here to tell you that homeownership isn’t a pipe dream. It’s a real, achievable goal if you set your mind to it and focus on one word: save. To do that, you’re going to have to get thrifty and creative. Use these tips and tricks to get started on your own path to saving for a house. A few of them will get you Cash Back at Ebates, which will put you even closer to the finish line.
1. Tuck Away That Tax Refund
You may have money to burn, but it should go straight into your savings account. Set up a separate account just for your home fund. One that you can’t easily touch and won’t be tempted to dip into. Before long, you’ll have a sizable chunk of change. Plus, you get up to 7.5 percent cash back on TurboTax products through Ebates, so you’re getting even more back when you file.
2. Clear the Clutter
Start looking around your apartment for things you never use or could live without. You’ll be surprised at just how much extra stuff you have. Start listing it on sites like eBay or see if any friends are interested in your extras. You’ll feel better because your space is decluttered and you’ll have some extra dough to show for it.
3. Redefine Your Essentials
Most forms of entertainment are temporary pleasures, so it’s important to think about what you can and can’t live without. Fear of missing out is a very real thing, but it’s easy to curb if you focus on what’s really important: your future home. You don’t have to live like a complete hermit. Just be mindful of your spending habits and limit nights out. That discounted meal or event from a deals site may seem like a bargain right now, but it all adds up in the end.
4. Cut the Cord
A really easy way to get ahead is getting rid of cable. You can save hundreds per month by downsizing to a powerful internet connection and streaming everything. Plus, with an HDTV antenna, you’ll probably get 60-plus channels free. Put that cash away like you’re still paying for your full-price cable and internet bundle. I’ve been cable-free for seven years. You won’t even miss it.
5. Build Your Big Fat Check
If you haven’t guessed it by now, the name of the game is save, save and save some more. One of the best ways to do this is using a site like Ebates to help you add anything you can to your bottom line. You’re downsizing and being smart about how you spend your money. Ebates provides an awesome value by helping you earn on the things you already buy from the brands you shop. Any money from your Big Fat Check is money you didn’t have before, and every little bit helps.
These are just a few ways to get started. It’s really just about your frame of mind and finding little ways to boost your savings account. In a few months, you’ll look at your bank statement and appreciate all the little changes you made. And when you put that key in the door and walk in to your new home for the first time, you’ll know that all of it was truly worth it.