1. Break your goal down into weekly savings targets
It is so much easier to save when you have a target to work towards.
This is why it’s important to your speak to your mortgage broker or lender before you start saving up for a deposit. A skilled finance professional will be able to help you understand what kind of property you can afford and the deposit requirements that come with it.
Once you have a deposit target to work towards, you can start to break down what’s required from you to get there.
For example, let's say you need an additional $40,000 to put down a deposit for a home, and your goal is to get there in 24 months’ time. This can be broken down like so:
24 months = 104 weeks
$40,000/104 = $384.61
Your weekly savings target is $384.61
Once you have calculated your weekly savings target, you can begin factoring it into your weekly budget.
Be mindful that property prices fluctuate and will likely appreciate over time, meaning you may need to adapt your savings target or property aspirations accordingly.
2. Do a detailed budget and stick to it
When you’re ready to start saving, draw up a detailed budget that will keep you on track for the duration of your savings journey.
This includes first adding up all your expenses over the last three months and identifying which items are necessary for your daily life. Subtract these costs, along with your weekly savings target, from your weekly household income.
Set the remaining surplus as your weekly spending limit and be disciplined with the parameters that you’ve set. If you’re left without a surplus, you’ll need to review your savings target or extend the length of time it takes to get there.
Budgeting shouldn’t mean you cut out non-essential costs completely, it should only establish a framework that will guide your future spending. You can use our budget planning calculator to help you through this process.
3. Find cheaper alternatives to your current expenses
Instead of removing all luxuries from your budget entirely, find cheaper alternatives to your current spending.
Here are some great ways to reduce your expenditure:
- Cook all your meals at home and limit takeaway and dining. Plan your meals at the start of the week and only buy the ingredients you need.
- At the supermarket, look for items on special or use home brand alternatives. Buying in bulk can also help shave margins off your grocery budget.
- Reduce your gas and electricity bill by making small sacrifices around the home. This may include wearing a jumper instead of turning on the heating, washing dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher, and turning all lights off when they’re not in use.
- Ride or catch public transport to work instead of driving.
- Limit your household subscriptions to streaming services by sharing with a friend.
Remember, the choices you make will add up over time and can get you into the property market much sooner!
4. Separate your money into different accounts
Staying on top of your budget is made a lot easier when your money is separated into different accounts.
To do this, you’ll need to work out the ongoing cost of your necessary expenses, such as rent and bills, and allocate these funds into an account separate from your normal spending.
If all your money is kept in the same account, it can be hard to differentiate which funds are needed for what. Having separate accounts will remove the temptation for unnecessary spending and ensure your weekly savings target is getting put aside.
Separating your money also allows you to accurately track the progress of your budgeting and make adjustments when necessary.
We recommend having a separate account for:
- Your bills and expenses
- Your day-to-day spending
- Your long-term savings
The Barefoot Investor is another great resource that strongly endorses separating your money as an effective savings strategy.
5. Automatically split your pay into these accounts
Ask your employer to split your pay straight into your designated accounts, or set up an automatic transfer with your bank.
Having your pay automatically funnelled into each of these accounts can help you stay committed and honest on your savings journey.
Whilst it’s easy to spend the money in your debit account, transferring money out of your savings in order to spend it will always leave you feeling a bit guilty. This is why it’s always best to prevent your savings from entering your spending account in the first place.
Ideally, there should be hurdles in place to stop you from breaking your budget, and as few hurdles as possible for putting money aside.
6. Check your progress monthly against your budget
Regularly check in on your progress and make adjustments when necessary.
The process of saving can be a long journey and your income and expenses are likely to evolve along the way. Assess how these changes affect your budget to ensure that you can still meet your savings target each week.
Naturally, some months will be easier to save than others. Keeping an additional savings buffer behind will protect you during the periods when your bills are adding up.
It’s always important to stay positive when reviewing your progress and to keep working towards your goal.
7. Keep in touch with your mortgage broker
There’s nothing worse than finally saving up for your deposit, only to find that the goalposts have moved.
This is why it’s important to regularly touch base with your mortgage broker to get advice on changing lending standards, interest rates and other important factors.
Your income, borrowing capacity and property prices are all likely to evolve over time, meaning your deposit requirements may be significantly different from the start of your savings journey.
Your mortgage broker will be able to help you find new solutions that meet your current life needs and may even get you into the property market sooner.
8. Understand that the savings period is only temporary
It’s easy to forget that saving up for a deposit is only for a certain period, and these sacrifices don’t need to last forever.
Saving up a deposit whilst paying rent will likely restrict your budget far more than when you’re making simple mortgage repayments. This is why we encourage clients to save as much as they can during this period and break into the property market as soon as they can.
If you’re struggling to adapt to your new economical lifestyle, stay focused on your goal; there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t forget, the reward for your hard work is owning a home and being part of the great Australian dream.