Matthew Walsh's Blog
Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.
When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.
Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.
But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.
Setting your savings goals
The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.
Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.
Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.
Save on a timeline
When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.
Lock away your savings
Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.
However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.
Pay off credit cards
It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.
Adjust your spending habits
While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.
Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.
Time for a raise?
If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.
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1. Colors are importantInterior decorators will tell you all about the need for light colors to make a room feel spacious. We naturally associate darkness with closed spaces--a shady patch of wood, a dark cave--whereas bright spaces tend to be much more spacious--a sprawling field or open body of water. To emulate this openness indoors, decorate your home like you would find in a field. Keep the darker colors lower to the ground like the dirt and grass in a field, and the lighter colors up higher on the walls and ceiling, like the sky above.
2. Mirrors make a differenceMost people know about the mirror trick to adding space in a room. However, the location and size of the mirror also matter. One tiny mirror in the corner of a room won't make much of a difference. However, grouping mirrors together, especially vertically from floor to ceiling, will make the bed room appear much larger, plus you'll be able to use the mirrors while getting dressed in the morning.
3. Use storage furnitureA bed frame, desk, or ottoman with storage space will allow you to keep objects out of sight and help declutter the room. For best results, use furniture items that are light in color or paint them a slightly different shade of the color of your walls.
4. Modular furnitureModular furniture is minimal and can be built to fit your needs. With modular furniture you won't ever have more drawers in your dresser than you need. If you want a desk in your bedroom, you can buy a fold-up wall mounted desk that helps clear up room when not in use.
5. Store inside, not on topBedrooms tend to accumulate a lot of clutter. Before I got rid of my bedside table it was usually covered with any range of items--keys, water bottle, opened mail, pens, etc. However, now that I store everything in a bedroom drawer, I don't have to worry about those items being visible and making the room feel cluttered.
6. Ditch the big bedMattresses and bed frames have come a long way in recent years when it comes to minimalism. Since your bed is probably the largest item in your bedroom, it is the most important item to change if you really want to make the room more spacious. The obvious solution is to buy a smaller sized bed. However, if that isn't an option there are also many slim mattresses and bed frames with a sleek, minimalist look.
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