Saving to buy a new home is hard.
At the moment my family lives in an okay house in an okay street and we’re fine. We’re lucky to have a roof over our heads in a suburb close to the kids’ school.
And yet we can’t help but dream of a better home, one that is big enough for each of our three children to have their own bedroom.
It’s hard going though. The first time we saved for a home we were in our early twenties and were happy to stay home every night eating noodles. With children in tow, you can’t do that.
But there are lots of ways we save money without ruining our lives and lifestyles.
1. Eat at home, but make it an event.
We eat out once a month and stick to affordable family restaurants that have brilliant deals on Monday and Tuesday nights. We have one takeaway night per week and it’s usually a three for two pizza deal. The rest of the time we eat at home, but not begrudgingly. We have so much fun.
Every Saturday night is barbecue night, even in winter. It’s way more fun than the nights we eat out, and much cheaper.
2. Have ‘staycations’ instead of travelling.
Have you ever thought of just staying in a hotel in your own city? You won’t have to buy flights or transfers or hire cars or anything. You just drive to any great hotel in your area that has family packages and spend the weekend being a tourist in your own town.
You’ll still need to stick to a budget but most hotels have offers for local theme parks and restaurants.
3. Stick to a budget, but give yourself wiggle room.
Map out your spending so you can see when you will reach your savings goal. It’s incredibly motivating. There are lots of apps that will do it for you and you can synch it onto both your phones so you can keep track.
Our budget is strict in that it is planned out to the last dollar, but it also has wiggle room. My husband and I get the same amount of ‘fun money’ each week to spend on whatever we want.
4. Go camping.
Camping is great fun when you have kids. You can do it in your back yard or at a local camping site. There are lots of locations you can get to in an hour or two and once you’ve purchased all the equipment, it hardly costs a thing. We are slowly accumulating more equipment by keeping an eye out for specials on camping gear.
5. Once a year, ring every company who sends you a bill and negotiate, especially when it comes to insurance.
Every year I set aside a day and spend the entire day on the phone calling every company that sends us a bill. I start with all of our insurance policies.
Ask the question, “Am I getting the best possible deal for my family?” Ask them, “How can I reduce the cost?” We’ve saved hundreds of dollars a year by doing this. Most companies will work with you. We particularly saved money on our car insurance because I work from home and mostly drive locally and my husband’s work is only fifteen minutes from our home.