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20 Creative Ways to Save for a Down Payment


Posted: March 08, 2018 by Anna Jotham

In your heart, you’re ready to buy a house. Maybe you scan the listings every week, to see what pops up in your favorite ‘hoods. Maybe you attend open houses, just to get ideas. And chances are your Pinterest board is full of pins related to home design and DIY inspiration. 

Every single part of you feels ready to buy a house—that is, except your savings account. 

Dreaming about homeownership is natural, and often comes easily. Saving for a down payment, not so much. Knowing that for the average person, amassing tens of thousands of dollars is anything but simple, we’ve pulled together some truly creative ways to save for a down payment—many of which you may not have heard of before. 

Get ready to make it rain! ‘Cuz here they are: 

20 CREATIVE WAYS TO SAVE FOR A DOWNPAYMENT

1. Ask your friends for dough. 

Set up a gift account or an online fundraiser. Ask people to contribute to it instead of giving birthday, anniversary or holiday gifts. 

2. Cash in on your stuff. 

Most of us have too much, and it may be worth some cash. Check out Letgo and eBay for online sales, or hold a yard sale to keep it local.

3. Capitalize on your hobby. 

Making jewelry, home goods and clothing? Sell it on Etsy.

4. Buy used. 

From cars to clothes and more, buying used can save you 50 percent or more compared to retail. Sock the savings away for your down payment. Better yet, make the old stuff last, and save even more.

5. Make your joe at home. 

Drive-thru coffee adds up. Make it at home and save what you don’t spend. If you cut back two coffees a day, that can save you $240 per month, according to bluewatercredit.com.

6. Share your space. 

Can you take on a roommate or list extra space on sites like Airbnb? It’s a potentially quick way to make some extra cash.

7. Join the hustle. 

The gig economy is in full swing, why not jump on board? You could drive others around, deliver take out, grocery shop for others and more. Best of all, you set your schedule.

8. Get a part-time job. 

If you’d rather go a more traditional route, an extra job weekends or evenings can really help the savings add up. Yeah, it ain’t earth shattering, but it works.

9. Negotiate with your providers. 

Companies are in the business of making money, but pretty much everything is negotiable. Call your cell, internet, cable and property management companies, and negotiate your rates or jump to those with lower rates.

10. Establish automatic deposit. 

Select an amount to go automatically in your savings every paycheck. You won’t even notice the difference.

11. Cut up your credit cards. 

OK, maybe keep one or two for emergencies. But pay them off and set them aside! Interest rates and fees are eating into your savings, so pay cash instead.

12. Rethink shopping. 

Put yourself on a shopping diet and don’t buy anything that isn’t essential. When you grocery shop, stick to the list. And avoid recreational shopping, which can lead to purchases you don’t need. 

13. Make it at home. 

Did you know many household cleaners can be made at home, for far cheaper than the popular brands? Vinegar, baking soda and essential oils are often all it takes. Look up recipes online. 

14. Cut the cable cord. 

Still subscribing to the tune of $100 or so a month? Nix that. Better yet, Netflix that. You’ll get shows on demand for a fraction of the cost. Or use the extra time for that side hustle.

15. Check out programs that help first-time homebuyers. 

State agencies, community groups and non-profits all offer programs, Do some research about the programs in your region. 

16. Start a “First-time Homebuyer Savings Account.”

Minnesota and Iowa have these tax-advantaged accounts, and word is Wisconsin will soon as well.

17. Ladder CDs. 

Earn more by opening certificates of deposit (CDs) at different times, with different maturity rates, suggests www.bankrate.com. That gives you flexibility when rates change, so you can maximize your return.

18. Put that inheritance to use. 

If you’ve come into some money, buying a home can be a great investment.

19. Ask your employer. 

Two things: one, ask for a raise. And two, see if they’re a part of an Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) program, which can help you with your down payment. 

20. Get someone to hold you accountable. 

Progressive.com suggests working with a friend to motivate one another to achieve your financial goals.


Moving Up with your Down Payment 

Amassing a down payment may be challenging, but by getting creative with these 20 tips, you’ll be moving on up and into your new home, in no time. 




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