25 Ideas to Save for a Down Payment on Your First Home

It's time to buy your first home, but first, you have to make that down payment. Here are some ways you can save money:

1. Skip Starbucks - If you can get up 15 minutes earlier and make your coffee at home, you'll save a lot more than you realize. Plus, you can be sure your drink is made just right, and you won't have some weird spelling of what the barista thinks your name is on the side of your cup.

2. DIY - Stop paying people to do things that you can do yourself. Examples of this include getting your hair and nails done, simple repairs like getting a zipper replaced or fixing a doorknob, changing your oil, making food, pet grooming, etc.

3. Stop Subscribing - Subscription boxes may be all the rage right now, but do you really need them? 

4. Paying for Games - If you are the kind of person who spends a couple dollars here and there on a game to get more diamonds/lives/coins/etc., it's time to put a hold on spending that money. It may not seem like a lot if you're only paying a dollar or so every once in a while, but it adds up over time. If it's too much of a temptation, delete the app. You're better off without it.

5. Drinking Out - A bottom-of-the-shelf beer like Coors Light costs about $5 bucks for one can at a bar. You can buy a six-pack for $8 at the grocery store. You end up saving $22 dollars if you buy it in bulk and drink it at home. Not to mention the knowledge that you won't have to figure out a way get home afterwards without driving yourself - Uber isn't cheap. And if your friend-group has a place you frequent, talk to them about switching it up and inviting everyone to a different person's home each week.

6. Eating Out - This is one I myself am hugely guilty of. Sure, it's a great time saver if you're in a rush in the morning, but buying lunch out at an average of $10 per meal ends up being about $50 a week. You can buy enough groceries for 10 meals with that money!

7. Going to the Movies - Practice a little patience and wait till you can rent it from RedBox, or even better, for free from your local library. If you do feel the need to see it in the theater, use your self-control to avoid those expensive movie theater snacks. $5 for a candy bar you can get at Dollar Tree? I don't think so.

8. Make the World Your Gym - You don't need a treadmill to go for a run. Find a local trail and get your exercise in outdoors. It's also just as easy to do pushups at home as it is on the gym floor, and much cheaper.

9. Use Cash - If you're not handing over cold hard cash, it can be easy to not feel like you're spending quite so much money. Safeguard yourself and start only spending cash. It will be much easier to notice how much you're spending.

10. Avoid Amazon - Online shopping is such a trap. Sure, it's great to have access to pretty much anything you could ever want or need right at your fingertips, but when you aren't actually buying things in person, it can be easy to forget that you've bought something until it shows up. Help out your local economy and buy things in-store from local shops.

11. Cut Back Your Water Usage - Not only is this great for the environment, but being careful about how much water you're using is a great way to save some extra money.

12. Stop Leaving the Lights On - Likewise, cutting back on your energy usage will cut back your energy bill.

13. Cut Back Your TV Package - Do you really need the premium deluxe package with 6000 channels? No. You can pay $8.99 a month and get Amazon Prime Video, Hulu with limited commercials for $7.99 a month, or a basic streaming plan from Netflix for $8 a month. So much more affordable than DirectTV or Dish, and you get access to a lot of older movies and shows you wouldn't otherwise have access to. Or better yet, get rid of all of it and rent DVDs for free from your local library.

14. Junk Food - Snacks are great, but snacking when you're bored and not hungry, not so great. Stop grabbing a pack of chips in the check out line at the store just because they look tasty. Your bank account, and body, will thank you.

15. Car Payments - Before you walk onto that car lot, stop and take a moment to think. Sure, you might be able to afford those car payments, but it is worth it? The answer is no. Your new car significantly depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot, and honestly, you can get a great used car from Craigslist and pay for it in full, eliminating the headache of monthly car payments.

16. Keeping Your Closet Fresh - Why are you throwing down big bucks for the latest fashions from upscale retailers when you could just as easily find the same styles at consignment and thrift stores for a fraction of the price? Because you're crazy. Most consignment stores only accept styles that have been popular within the last year, and they only accept clothes that are in good condition, so you'll definitely find what you're looking for, it may just take a little bit of searching through racks. Plus, if you go for a more classic, timeless look, your clothes will never go out of style and you'll only have to replace them when they start getting worn out.

17. Wine Tasting - Buy a bottle and try it at home. If you don't end up liking it you can always cook with it. Plus, how fun would it be to invite a bunch of friends over and have them each bring a bottle so everyone can sample lots of different wines without breaking the bank?

18. Bottled Water - Make a onetime investment in a good water bottle and a water filter system and never pay for bottled water again. Not only will you save money, you will also save yourself the time it takes to collect all of the empties and take them to recycling - it's a win-win.

19. Newspaper & Magazine Subscriptions - You can read 95% of the articles online now, plus have a daily or weekly newsletter emailed straight to your inbox so you can see what's new and decide if it's even worth reading. And that becomes one less piece of mail you end up throwing away.

20. Paying for Brand Name - The store brand has the same ingredients, is often even made in the same facility, just outfitted with a different label, and is significantly cheaper than brand name.

21. Use Coupons - Sign up to get coupons to your phone, email, or home address and start using them. But use them wisely. $0.50 off of three bottles is not the great deal it might sound like at first.

22. Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener - Do you really need them? Probably not. Most laundry detergents have a bit of fabric softener in them, or you could substitute with distilled white vinegar. And if you decide you do need them, you can get them at Dollar Tree or pay for the more affordable store brand versions to save a little cash.

23. Plan Ahead - Make a budget and stick to it. Check your bank account and credit cards often to keep yourself on track. You can also plan your purchases ahead of time, such a grocery shopping - plan meals a week at a time and go to the store once. That way, you avoid unnecessary purchases and impulse buys. Being impulsive while shopping ends up getting you into trouble. A good rule of thumb for bigger purchases is to spend at least a month thinking about the pros and the cons.

24. Data Service - Do yourself a favor and stay on WiFi as much as possible. Check for free WiFi everywhere you go, and you can sometimes find passwords on business reviews. Keep your data usage (and your cell phone bill) down.

25. Seek Help - When all else fails, seek out help from someone wiser than you. Dave Ramsey is a great resource for everything money-related and his Financial Peace classes are so helpful!


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