I am currently saving for a mortgage deposit.
Five years ago the word ‘mortgage’ was one I barely understood. I saw buying property as a burden and not something I would ever want to do. How things change!
I decided last year that I’d had enough of house sharing and desperately wanted my own space. I couldn’t even nearly afford to rent on my own, so I decided I would start saving for a mortgage deposit and buy somewhere.
There are a number of reasons I want to do this:
- To have my own space and complete free reign in decorating that space
- To have greater long-term freedom should I want to travel or move – I can rent it out or sell it.
- To have my own autonomy and independence from any future partners – that’s very important to me.
So how am I saving for a mortgage deposit? One word my friends: budgeting.
I used to be hopeless at managing my money. I spent all three years at University in the depths of my overdraft and once I was unleashed into the world of work I got into all the wrong habits.
It has taken years to change these habits and I wish I had started much earlier – you never know, if I had, I might have enough for a deposit right now.
A year ago, I created a budget. A real one. I made a decision to stick to it as well (turns out the budget doesn’t work without this bit!).
You can create a budget in a variety of ways, there’s a great one here from Money Saving Expert, but ultimately what your budget needs to do is ensure that you’re not spending more than you earn.
‘Live within your means’, that’s what my parents have been telling me since I’ve been old enough to have my own bank account. If you can discipline yourself to live within your means, then you can discipline yourself to tighten the budget even further and put what is leftover into savings.
I’ve included a minimum monthly amount to go into my savings within my budget already, but I also try to cut back on other things where possible so that I can save extra money quite regularly too.
How am I creating that extra space in my budget?
Here are a few small things I did and still do to save money:
- I bought a Mooncup. One Mooncup costs £20 and lasts for about five years. I don’t really know how much I would spend on tampons in five years, but I know that it’s a lot more than £20. The other benefits of Mooncups are there is no risk of toxic shock syndrome, and it’s far better for the environment.
- I stopped buying expensive toiletries and beauty products. I use Boots own facial moisturiser (£1.50) now instead of No7 (£12.50). It lasts far longer and my skin looks and feels much better since switching. I use rosewater as a toner (£3.99 from my local health shop) instead of Clarins toner (£25 approx.) and it is just as good if not better.
- I started using natural products across the board where possible. For example, coconut oil. I buy one 800ml jar for £8.99 from a local health shop, it lasts for months and I use it as a deep hair conditioner, overnight face moisturiser, body moisturiser and mouth wash – yes, mouthwash. It’s a natural tooth whitener!
- I got strict about taking packed lunches to work. I’ve always been generally good at taking my own food into work, but I’ve been making sure I don’t get slack and have the odd week here and there of buying sandwiches. It makes a massive difference!
- I stopped going out as much. I got a bit bored of the whole going out on a Friday thing, and found staying in much more appealing. The impact on my finances has been brilliant!
But most of all, I’ve tried to change my attitude towards buying things. I used to feel almost manic when I would spot something in a high street shop, like if I didn’t buy it people wouldn’t like me – it sounds ridiculous now but that is honestly how my brain would work in those situations.
I remember picking up some No7 moisturiser and wondering if I should try a cheaper brand, I actually thought to myself that if I ended up with bad skin in later life and I hadn’t used the more expensive brands, then it would be my own fault. The sinister work of the advertising industry right there folks.
Having used Boots own moisturiser for over a year now I can tell you there is almost no difference and my skin genuinely feels and looks better. I mean, it’s not even the insecurity about my own looks and body that irritates me the most, it’s all the extra money I could have been saving!
What I’ve been training myself to do, is visualise coming home after a long day to a clean, warm, safe house that belongs to me. I imagine running myself a bath and taking some frozen homemade soup out of my freezer. I imagine having friends over for a weekend, or having my parents and brothers over for Christmas. I think about sitting in the garden, fixing a new light bulb, setting myself up with broadband or cleaning the windows.
I visualise the freedom I could have and the pride I could take in my own home, and I remind myself that that’s more important than an overpriced piece of material that doesn’t actually add any value to me as a person.