Taking control of our finances to buy our first home

I am just going to come out and say it – privately renting sucks. My Husband and I are literally throwing money away every month – which makes saving for a deposit to buy our home difficult {to say the least}. 

Then when you factor in the expense of our children, bills, buying food & clothes – the list goes on & on – we are finding it incredibly difficult to save up to buy a forever home. 

I left home at quite a young age – seventeen – so I never took the chance to stay at home, to work and to save {like I should have}. The cards of life deal out, without our control and we just have to roll with the punches and adapt as they are laid before us. Which, for me, was having children and getting married all before buying our first home. A little back-to-front, I guess, but remember those life cards I mentioned? I adapted as mine were dealt, which has lead me here. 

I remember my Dad telling me about the time he took out a mortgage on the home, he still lives in now. I was only 14yrs old and I think – at the time – the property cost £25,000. Which, is a substantial amount of money. I remember him telling me how nervous he was to be taking such a step, but now? That house he has lived in has adapted and upgraded with his own bare hands, is now worth 10 times the amount he paid, all thanks to this handy tool from Sunlife.

So, for now, my Husband and I will persevere. We save what we can when we can and slowly but surely, we will get there. The plan is to budget like absolute legends and hope we aren’t in our fifties by the time we are able to buy our first house. So, what are we doing to take control of our finances to help us save away those pennies? Well, let me tell you…

Meal planning

This isn’t a trait that I have naturally and it is something that I do struggle with. Especially when I have fussy children at home! But there is no denying that meal planning is great when it comes to saving money on your food bills. I have really tried to keep to a routine of meal planning lately and I have found it to make a difference. Whether it be spaghetti bolognese one night or fajitas the night after – making notes of the meals you plan to make that week really does bring the costs down with your weekly shop. 

Meal planning

Sometimes you don’t think to make simple changes like, planning your weekly meals would make a difference. But it really does. In fact, it may even surprise you! If anything, when it comes to budgeting and needing to save money, this is a good a place as any, to start. 

Cut out/reduce those luxuries

We aren’t a very luxurious family, but if we go into town for the afternoon the likelihood is, we’re going to get food or buy something we didn’t budget for that month. So we are applying the new skill of being smart when we’re out & about. If we are all hungry, then going somewhere cheaper for lunch is a bonus, or even shopping around for that item that yes, you didn’t budget for, but if you can get it cheaper – that’s a win, too. 

We are also cutting out our weekly takeaways {that’s a kicker} and pushing ourselves to make food on our family evenings and date nights in {for the Husband and I} rather than picking up the phone to use the ever-so-painfully-convenient Just-Eat app! 

Unsubscribe from those unused subscriptions!

We pay for quite a few monthly subscriptions, which, in fairness, we could take a look at and unsubscribe from. There will be ones we no longer use or don’t use as much as others. Hence, those ones can be ditched. Or maybe you have a gym membership and you’re not going half as much as you hoped you would, or maybe you no longer have the time. These are an extra expense which, if ditched, could be extra pennies stored away in your savings pot. 

It’s not going to be easy and we’re not going to have the deposit for our forever home in a year, or even three! But the dream is there. The want is there and the dedication to saving is there. We will achieve our dream of finally getting ourselves onto the first time buyers ladder and living in our four bedrooms, nice big back garden with a spacious kitchen, forever home. 

Do you have any advice for first-time buyers? 

*This is a collaboration post

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16 Comments

  1. 12/11/2018 / 12:30 PM

    We are in a similar position to you, having been saving for our first home for quite a while. Fingers crossed we’ll get there soon.

  2. 12/11/2018 / 12:39 PM

    We just bought our first home this year after years of renting and trying to save whatever we could. It was really, really hard, especially when a baby was then thrown into the mix. I found out I was pregnant with our second in April and we hoped and prayed that this time we would be accepted for a mortgage. We had saved 13k in a Help to Buy ISA/LISA (make sure you each get one of these as the government adds 25% to whatever you save) and we had worked ridiculously hard on reducing our debts. It was touch and go (think it took 11 LONG days to be approved…usually three or four days max) but we got the mortgage and we got the home of our dreams. I am now sat in our lounge with the baby about to pop out thanking my lucky stars that we managed to do it. You too will get there!!!

  3. 12/11/2018 / 12:47 PM

    We’ve had a mortgage for over 5 years; but my trouble is my credit card. I’m working my butt off now to try to clear the last of my card debt, at £200 a month. By June it will all be gone and I can’t wait. Sticking to a budget and being organised with meal plans really do help though.

  4. 12/11/2018 / 1:23 PM

    Buying a house is such a huge expense. We were very lucky as we had a lot of help to buy ours. These are great ideas to save money, good luck!

  5. 12/11/2018 / 1:35 PM

    We were part of a first-time buyers scheme. It was really handy for us to get onto the housing ladder but because it was just Chris and I at first, we struggled to get anything bigger than a 1 bedroom. We looked at a 3 (and a half) bedroom house but because they decided that the half bedroom was big enough to be a bedroom (it really wasn’t practical!), it was too big for our options. We ended up in a two bedroom house which we live in now and put it a stud wall across the big main bedroom to create two smaller rooms while there are four of us living in the house. But in the long run, it worked out that our mortgage was nearly £100 cheaper than our rent (for a slightly smaller property but it was ours!) and now 10 years later we’re about to buy out what remains of that first time buyers bit and our “new” mortgage still comes in under what we were paying in rent (although our financial situation is better so we will try and pay extra off our mortgage as we will be mortgaged up to somewhere around our earlobes – not quite our eyeballs which is good lol).

    It doesn’t work for everyone but might be worth looking into even as a starting point. A lot of developers have properties set aside for first time buyers or have schemes to help first buyers get onto the ladder.

  6. 12/11/2018 / 5:52 PM

    I used to hate paying rent, knowing it was paying off someone else’s mortgage, when I wanted it to be going towards my own. It’s so hard to get on the ladder but so worth it to own your own home x

  7. 12/11/2018 / 6:10 PM

    I remember how hard it was when we were first-time buyers and it’s even tougher to get on the ladder now. These are great ways of making savings that add up though and they should serve you well. Really hope you manage to buy your first home soon. 🙂

  8. 12/11/2018 / 7:07 PM

    My biggest way to save money is meal planning. It’s amazing how much you can save on just a weeks worth of shopping. So imagine how much you could save in a year.

  9. 12/11/2018 / 7:15 PM

    I can’t wait to buy my own home ! Also I love the calculator x

  10. 13/11/2018 / 7:22 AM

    Ugh saving! I remember trying to save when we lived in London and it was nigh on impossible – total credit card life. We’ve moved abroad since which has changed everything! And meal planning – number 1 tip on saving money, I can’t believe how much my shopping bill goes down when I do it.

  11. 13/11/2018 / 1:52 PM

    Wishing you the best of luck with taking control of your finances – I really need to do the same.

  12. 13/11/2018 / 4:53 PM

    I love spending and saving is super hard, but if you can get a hand on the finances it is only a good thing for sure xx

  13. 13/11/2018 / 6:12 PM

    Buying a house is a huge financial commitment but I would definitely recommend over renting any day.

  14. 14/11/2018 / 10:33 AM

    It’s definitely hard to make those sacrifices but when you see it starting to add up it’s great motivation. Good luck on your savings plan!

  15. 15/11/2018 / 1:17 PM

    I’m on the other side of 40 and I’m only now starting to take a good, hard look at my finances with the goal of buying my own home. Fingers crossed!

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