Something to Think About: 3 Ways to Help You Save for a Down Payment

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a renter looking to buy your first place, one thing remains certain. Saving for a down payment can seem daunting. This is especially true in difficult economic times when the job outlook is uncertain at best. Contrary to popular belief, though, you don’t need to be making a small fortune at work to save up for a down payment. In fact, there are many simple ways to achieve your goals, just by being more aware of how you spend your money. Here are three simple tips to help you start saving up.

First, stop eating out and start thinking it through. If you eat out even just once a week at a id-level restaurant, you’re spending about $10 a meal, right? Think again. This time, add in the cost of any appetizer, dessert and drink you want with your meal. Maybe it’s $20 now. What about the tip? Keep adding things up and before you know it, one meal is costing you $25 or $30. Multiply that by how many times you eat out in a given month, and all of a sudden you’ve spent over $100.

Try making your favorite dinners at home more often instead. If you do eat out, ask for ice water with your meal, since it’s free. Cut the tip from 15% to 10%. On smaller amounts, the difference isn’t a lot, but it will sure add up toward your down payment.

A second tip would be to use less paper towels. You might prefer to clean up messes or wipe your hands with them, but they cost a lot and it adds up after awhile. Why wouldn’t you use this tip if it’s free and just as effective to use rags? All you have to do is wash them to reuse rags as well. You really only need to put in a little thought to go a long way in your down payment savings plan.

A third tip would be to stop subscribing to magazines. Why pay for something you can find online for free? Treat movies similarly. At around $30 for a single admission, popcorn and a drink, there’s really no point in going out. A monthly movie subscription program by mail is something you should consider instead. It’s so much more inexpensive, as well.

These are just three simple ways to save money toward a down payment. Added together over time, though, and you’ve got hundreds of dollars in savings on your hands.

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