Goal-setting When the Goal is Buying a Home
Saving for a down payment can seem like an overwhelming task if you’re on a tight budget. It’s just plain not easy to make a plan, stay on that plan no matter what, stay motivated even when your plan goes temporarily awry, and – finally – achieve your desired result. So how do you get from “Broke wannabe homebuyer” to “Gimme those keys!”? It’s simple. Just set a goal.
When it comes to buying a home and getting together the money required, there are tricks and tips you can use to make it easier and make that goal achievable.
1. Make a plan and write it down
Get out a piece of paper or type into your phone/computer a definitive statement that encapsulates your down payment goal – as long as it’s in a place you can easily access it. Then break down that goal by the amount you need to save weekly or monthly and a goal date for being able to buy that house. The simple act of putting your plan down on paper (or on screen) makes it real.
2. Make some budget cuts
It may not be easy. But saving for something as important as a new home is worth it. Look over your monthly bank statements for areas to cut back. Take out any set monthly expenses—rent or existing house payment, car payment, and anything else that can’t change.
Then consider things like cell phone bills, cable, internet service. If you’re not using all your data on your cell phone plan, that may be a place to trim. Perhaps you don’t need such fast DSL service. Every little bit helps.
3. Look for ways to make extra money
Do you have skills you could use to bring in a few bucks? Perhaps you can put your Spanish fluency to good use and tutor high school kids. Maybe you can take that piece of furniture you refinished and turn it into a weekend business, hitting early-morning garage sales on weekends and selling your pieces on Craigslist.
4. Cook your dinner
Eat out five nights a week now? Cut back to two. If you’re not a fan of cooking, sub in easy-to-make or already-made meals on the other three nights.
5. Keep your eye on the prize
When everyone runs off to the Caribbean for their summer vacation, you’re probably going to want to chuck it all. But remember that the Caribbean isn’t going anywhere. You can luxuriate on an island with turquoise water lapping at your feet while you drink something frothy out of a pineapple next year – after you’ve closed escrow.
And it’ll taste so much better with the jangle of a new set of house keys in your pocket.