Are you still searching for the perfect New Years Resolution for 2016? Sure there are the old clichés – exercising more, eating less, trying to get or stay healthy…But why not try a more creative resolution that you can actually achieve? Make 2016 the year that you become a homeowner, or at least start heading in that direction. The best way to do that is to (1)-clean up your credit score (or start one if you’ve been using a Debit card your whole life) and (2)-start saving money for a down payment! The rest of this blog will give you some tips on how to do that – by cutting out the following common money-wasters:
- Skip the Starbucks
Whether it’s Starbucks, McDonalds, or some other place you routinely get coffee every morning – skip it! Chances are your office has a kitchen it offers its own FREE coffee, or better yet make your own and bring it from home! Yes you might miss out on the fancy lattes and frappes that your favorite coffee places has, but if you Google it you might be able to make it on your own, and even make it healthier. Realtor.com says that the savings you could rank up from skipping the store-bought coffee could add up to $876 (plus taxes!)
- Create Your Own Exercises
Maybe one of your new years resolutions WAS to get healthy, as mentioned above – that’s great! We aren’t discouraging it by any means. But don’t join a gym January 1st and then go once a week. If you join a gym, you should commit to it because an average gym membership could cost you approximately $58 a month. Many people forget to cancel and the gym will keep charging you even if you don’t go. Instead of spending that much money when you only use the treadmills and a few machines – create your own exercises. There are tons of apps and websites that can help you if you do a simple Google search for exercises you can do at home. Or better yet, go on a walk on your lunch break or after work! Because canceling that gym membership could save you approximately $696 a year!
- Cancel Cable
Yes we know it’s easy to get sucked into your favorite TV shows. But did you know that almost every channel has it’s own app? There’s also Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and a host of other streaming channels that you can subscribe to that are way cheaper than cable. Plus some of those streaming channels (Netflix for example) have a ton of original shows that aren’t on cable networks. Canceling cable could save you up to $1,189 a year!
- Limit Streaming Activity
While there are a ton of streaming channels for you to choose from, don’t go crazy with them. You don’t need Netflix, Hulu, AND Amazon Prime. Pick one and you should be fine. Or better yet if you have friends and/or family members that also use streaming services, chances are you’ll be able to share them with at least one other person. Limiting your streaming activity could save you nearly $100.
- Lower Your Cell Phone Plan
Since you’ve already been cutting a ton of things down or out of your life, you should add your cell phone bill to that list. While it’s great to have unlimited data with 430 minutes – how much of that plan do you actually use? Do you text more than you call? If so, then you’re probably better off choosing a lower cell phone plan that has less minutes and maybe 2GB of data instead of unlimited. Even though you have your favorite apps, chances are you’ll still be able to keep them because they probably don’t use that much data. Lowering your cell phone plan could save you up to $300 according to Realtor.com.
- Limit Eating Out
Of course it’s a good idea to bond with your coworkers by going out with them – and that often includes going out to lunch or even ordering food in. But maybe suggest to your group of friend/co-workers that you all tart packing lunches instead of eating out all of the time. This includes when you get dinners out with your own close group of friends as well. Sure going out to new restaurants is fun and exciting, but cooking dinner with your girlfriends can be just as much fun and rewarding! After all if you go out to lunch or dinner every day it could add up to as much as $56 a week or $2,674 a year according to realtor.com. This compared to making your own lunches or dinners adds up to only $960 a year, making the total annual savings about $1,714 according to realtor.com.
- Drink in Moderation
As mentioned, going out with co-workers and/or friends is always a great time, especially if alcohol is involved. But did you know how much it adds up to? Say you go out three times a week that could add up to as much as $66 a week, or $264 a month, and $3,168 a year! So while yes going out with friends and co-workers for drinks can be a great time, maybe limit or completely quit the alcohol if you join them.
- Do Your Own Laundry
Finally, how often do you take your clothes to the cleaners? And how close do you live to your parents or a friend that has a washer and dryer and is willing to help you out. If you’re lucky enough to have a family member or friend to help you out you could save up to $1,354 a year by doing your own laundry instead of taking your clothes to the cleaners.
If you follow all of these tips on saving money for a down payment this year, you could save nearly $9,400! While you’ve still got a few years to go if you want to save the traditional 20% of a an average priced US home (which in 2010 was $221,800), you’d need to save approximately $44,360, according to Businessinsider.com. Still, saving almost $10,000 a year by cutting these things out of your life might get there a lot faster than the estimated 10-12 years that it takes save for a home according to BusinessInsider.com. That may seem like a long time, but you can do it especially if you start now! We hope this blog gave you some great motivation and tips on how to keep your new years resolution of resolving to save money for a down payment in 2016. If it has got you curious on what homes are on the market, feel free to browse my website where you can have access to our great featured listings as well as all the homes in Pittsburgh real estate market. We hope you follow these tips and to see you in the Pittsburgh marketplace real soon.
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