Mortgage Ready in 36 Months: 8 Savvy Saving Tips For First Time Buyers
If you’re determined to be a homeowner within the next three years then these 8 proven strategies to help you save for a mortgage are exactly what you need.
From showing you how to reduce debt to finding software to track your spending, this article leads you through the proven financial measures that’ll make a difference to your overall savings – starting now!
So, read on!
When you’re starting out, scraping together a deposit for a place to call your own can seem like an impossible task.
Certainly, with the cost of living in Ireland at an all-time high it’s like money just evaporates from your bank account.
But it’s more than possible to turn your dream of owning your own home in the next 36 months into a reality.
Just follow these eight proven strategies and start saving for a mortgage like the boss you are!
But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s do some mortgage maths.
Show Me the Money!
Currently, the average house price across Ireland is €236,287.
As a first-time buyer, you’ll need a deposit of 10% to be eligible for a mortgage.
That means saving €23,629 (or €656 per month) over the next three years.
Yes. We know. €656 per month is an unholy chunk of change to set aside on a monthly basis.
But guess what? You can actually do it.
The Money-Saving Secret We ALL Know
It comes down to the the one money-saving secret that everyone knows and hates: Spend less than you earn.
It’s the kind of thing your snarkiest friend who inherited a fortune and never had to save a penny in his life rattles off down in the pub.
But everyone hates it for a reason: because it’s true. However, just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s helpful.
And here at Perfect Property we’re in the business of being helpful, which is why we’re going to show you eight guaranteed ways to spend less than you earn, rather than just saying it.
Tip #1: Pay Off or Reduce Debts
The first and most important way that you can start spending less and get mortgage-ready is to ditch any outstanding debt.
Debt is a saver’s worst nightmare because the interest charged is an expense that erodes your cost-cutting efforts.
So take stock of any borrowings that you have. Starting with the highest interest loan first, put any extra available income into reducing these debts.
If you have high interest debts you can’t pay off right now (looking at you, credit card spenders), consider taking out a lower interest loan from the likes of the credit union to minimise the impact of interest your finances.
- You spent €6,200 last year using your credit card at 20% APR.
- Left unpaid you’re paying a whopping €1,240 extra from your bank account each year. That’s €103 per month down the drain.
- By taking out a secured loan to pay off your credit card debt you can avail of interest rates as low as 2%.
- Meaning you’ll be only paying €124 per year. That’s ten times less in interest.
(You can send us a card in the post to say thanks).
Saving for Mortgage Action Step:
- Pay back any high interest borrowings asap and look for lower interest loans to cover high interest debt where possible.
- Set a fixed date by which you will have all debts paid off and then work backwards, calculating how much you’ll need to repay each month to hit your goal.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€35 (assuming a debt of €2,000 at 20% APR)
Tip #2: Set Up Standing Orders
The next step to becoming a deposit-saving pro is to set up a standing order.
A standing order will automatically transfer a portion of your regular income directly into your savings account.
This guarantees a base level of savings each month (something lenders like to see) and prevents you from becoming tempted to overspend when you’re three espresso martinis deep.
Talk with your bank about getting the best interest on your account, as different accounts have different rates and restrictions.
Out of sight, out of mind as they say. Decide on an affordable amount of money each month and forget about it for the next few months.
Mortgage-Ready Action Step:
- Call into your bank in the next 48 hours and tell that you wish to set up a monthly standing order to be paid into a new high interest savings account.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€200
Tip #3: Track your Finances with Apps
Of course if spending less than we earn were easy – we’d all be doing it already!
Truth is, our brains aren’t designed to keep track of hard data. We’re much more influenced by how things feel.
It’s easy to think you’re spending less this month, because you’ve skipped Starbucks every second day.
But it’s also easy to forget about John and Aimee’s wedding at the start of the month. You know the one where you held your credit card in the air and shouted, “drinks on me” before ordering 16 gin and tonics? Yeah that one.
See, lenders don’t care how much it feels like you’re saving, they make their decisions based on hard data. And that’s what you need to do too.
Using a software like YNAB that synchs with your phone and your bank account will help you see your spending in the cold light of day. No matter how bleak or rosy it looks!
Remember that what gets measured improves. Clear knowledge of how your using your money is the first step towards reigning in unnecessary spending.
Saving for Mortgage Action Step:
* Go to the app store and download a finance tracking app. Set up your profile and start tracking where your money is going.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€30 (in better money management
Tip #4: Stop Spending Unnecessarily on Utilities
You’d be surprised just how much money you can save per year by shopping for the best gas and electricity prices.
Bonkers.ie report that the average person could currently save over €410 per year by simply switching to the lowest rate provider.
Similarly, the majority of people are not getting the best value for their television and broadband packages.
By switching to the best deal, the average customer can save an extra €300 per year on their package.
So that’s €710 per year saved in what won’t take you more than an hour or two to sort out. Now we’re motoring!
Action: In the next 24 hours go to Bonkers.ie and find the best value deal for your gas, electricity and broadband package. It’ll be the highest paid hour of work you’ll have ever done.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€59
Tip #5: Watch Food Waste & Spending
The government estimates that the average Irish household chucks out €400-1000 worth of food each year.
Madness isn’t it? Given that 4/5ths is avoidable waste, that means we’re binning an average of €560 per year.
So, next time you chuck the whole kilo of spaghetti into the pot for two because you’re not bothered getting the scales out, keep in mind that you’re literally cooking away savings.
Safe Food has solid advice to minimise your food waste and maximise your savings on their website. But here’s our simple take:
- Write up a menu each week for what you’re going to eat
- Check what you already have at home and knock it off the list
- Eat something before you shop so you’re not tempted to stray
- Stick to your list at all costs!
- Keep track of your use by dates & stuff at the back of the fridge
Planning your weekly menu won’t just cut food waste, but you’ll always have something on hand. So you’ll save buckets of cash on buying food out, or ordering take-out.
If you spend just €8 on your lunch every day for 48 working weeks of the year that amounts to €1,920 in lunch expenses.
By preparing your lunch at home on 4 days of the week instead, you’ll easily save over €1,000 per year.
Similarly, if you’re buying a coffee each day, try limiting to once per week. Enjoy the coffee in work instead. You’ll likely save in the region of €700 per year.
Saving for Mortgage Action Step:
Start the habit of writing your shopping list & sticking to it. Include your lunches in this list. It’ll not only save you money, but you’ll find you’re eating healthier too.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€168
Tip #6: Move Past FOMO & See Savings Soar
How many nights have you been tempted by your friends to go out just because? No special occasion or no good reason to celebrate.
To join the ranks of elite savers, we need to get past the FOMO that drives us to partake in such experiences.
Now, I’m absolutely not suggesting that you turn into a penny-pinching recluse and shun all entertainment. But do make sure that you’re getting value for your spending.
Allocating a certain amount of your income each month to fritter away on fun can help. If you only have €100 to spend, you’ll be choosier about what to do with it.
Saving for Mortgage Action Step:
At the start of next month, plan out an entertainment schedule for yourself. Take the time to choose only things you really enjoy (could be the cinema, restaurants, pints, hobbies – whatever!). Allocate a portion of your income to fund whatever you’ve planned and enjoy!
Monthly Savings Boost: +€100
Tip #7: Make the Move You Said You NEVER Would
Now this is a tricky topic to touch on given the current state of the rental market in some areas of Ireland.
But for many people, a gigantic chunk of their earnings are being consumed by their accommodation costs.
Unfortunately, high rents can mean low savings.
We don’t want to be the one to say it. But feel we have to. So please forgive us.
You can save a lot of money by moving back in with your folks.
That’s assuming that it’s a possibility, and if you can bear it and if they can bear it.
We understand if you can’t. In fact, you don’t need to. You’ll just save money a lot faster and easier by doing it.
Monthly Savings Boost: The sum of your current rent (minus whatever your mam charges to wash your clothes)
Tip #8: Be Patient
Saving your deposit can seem unrewarding.
You’ll feel the pain of reduced spending immediately, while the benefits of owning a home are still so far away. This is where you need to trust in the process and persevere.
Stick to your plan by:
- Paying off any high interest debt
- Setting up a standing order to your savings account
- Tracking your expenses
- Working to reduce unnecessary spending
You’ll quickly adapt to your new lower budget lifestyle, and in a few months, it’ll feel like nothing has changed.
Saving is most certainly a marathon and not a sprint.
Tip #9: The Other Side of the Coin: Increasing Your Earnings
So far, we’ve only discussed how to reduce your spending as a means to save money.
The reason that we emphasise saving is because it’s usually the method by which people have most control.
You know, you can choose not to buy those €320 Balenciaga runners in Brown Thomas, but you can’t ask your boss to pay you an extra €320 next month.
Having said that, earning more is undoubtedly a good way to allow you to save more too - provided that you don’t let your lifestyle expenses creep up in tandem.
So, don’t be afraid to discuss a pay rise with your boss if you think it’s due and keep your eyes peeled for jobs opportunities that offer a better salary.
Saving for mortgage action step:
Arrange an appointment with your boss to discuss what you can do to earn a pay increase or a bonus. Then set up alerts on various job sites to email you similar roles with better pay.
Monthly Savings Boost: +€83 (Annual pay rise of €1,000)
Putting it all together
By adding up the monthly savings outlined above we arrive at a figure of €675 euro per month, which is actually MORE than our original goal of saving €23,628 over 36 months.
But, of course, this guide isn’t a one size fits all.
Different houses will require different deposits. Additionally, you may want to put down more than the minimum 10%. You might also have kids and can’t afford to put much away from your salary each month.
Truthfully, there are numerous elements that can affect your ability to save right now – and that’s okay.
The point of this guide is to show you how a few small changes in your everyday life can add up to quite significant savings over a longer period of time.
Before you save a cent, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting with a mortgage advisor in a bank you trust.
There are many factors that can influence your ability to access finance. And only a mortgage advisor will be able to discuss things like:
- How much you can borrow
- Different mortgage options
- Other financial products that may be available to you
There’ll also be different terms and conditions depending on your current financial & employment situation.
So, book an appointment with your mortgage advisor right now. What are you waiting for?
Now that you have proven strategies to save over €23,000 in three years, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing!
Oh, and share any money-saving tips we left out in the comments, so others can see them.
From all of us here at Perfect Property – Best of luck!