How to save up for your first home

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Homes / Jobs -

Home own­er­ship is a dream for peo­ple across the globe. Many peo­ple save for years be­fore buy­ing their first homes, squir­rel­ing away ev­ery dol­lar they can with the hopes they can one day be­come home­own­ers.

But thanks to fac­tors be­yond their con­trol, even the most de­voted savers can some­times feel like their dream of home own­er­ship may never come true. Ac­cord­ing to the Pew Re­search Cen­ter, Amer­i­can work­ers' pay­checks are larger than they were 40 years ago, but their pur­chas­ing power is es­sen­tially the same. Things aren't much dif­fer­ent in Canada, where anal­y­sis from Statistics Canada and the Bank of Canada has shown that, since 2015, wage growth in Canada has been weaker than in the United States.

Var­i­ous chal­lenges can make it dif­fi­cult to buy a home. How­ever, some sim­ple strate­gies can help prospec­tive home buyers build their sav­ings as they move closer to the day when they can call them­selves "home­own­ers."

De­ter­mine where your money is go­ing. If you're find­ing it hard to grow your sav­ings, au­dit your monthly ex­penses to de­ter­mine where your money is go­ing. Us­ing ex­clu­sively debit or credit cards can sim­plify this process, as all you need to do is log into your ac­counts and see how your money was spent over a given pe­riod. If you rou­tinely use cash to pay for items, even just to buy cof­fee on the way to work, keep a notepad handy so you can jot down each ex­pense. Do this for a month and then ex­am­ine how you spent your money. Chances are you will see var­i­ous ways to save, and you can then re­di­rect that money into your sav­ings ac­count.

Be­come a more savvy gro­cery shop­per. An­other great way to save more money is to al­ter some­thing you al­ready do each month: gro­cery shop­ping. If you haven't al­ready, sign up for dis­count clubs at your lo­cal gro­cer. This is a largely ef­fort­less way for shop­pers, es­pe­cially those buy­ing food for fam­i­lies, to save con­sid­er­able amounts of money. Shop­ping sales at com­pet­ing gro­cery stores also can save money.

Dine in more often. The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture says that Amer­i­cans spend, on av­er­age, 6 per­cent of their house­hold bud­gets on food. How­ever, the USDA also notes that Amer­i­cans spend 5 per­cent of their dis­pos­able in­come on din­ing out. If th­ese fig­ures mir­ror your spend­ing habits, you can nearly cut your food spend­ing in half by din­ing out less fre­quently. That might be a sac­ri­fice for food­ies, but it can get you that much closer to buy­ing your own home.

Sav­ing enough money to pur­chase your first home is a wor­thy ef­fort that can be made eas­ier by em­ploy­ing a few bud­get-friendly strate­gies.

Ed­i­to­rial con­tent is pro­duced in con­junc­tion with the Belleville News-Demo­crat ad­ver­tis­ing depart­ment

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