Crossing the threshold to your first home is one of the most exciting moments in a young person’s life… until that first mortgage payment is due. Then the heating bill. And the electric. And the taxes. Let’s face it. Home ownership can be pricey, especially when you’re a newbie.
For those still adjusting to the new financial responsibilities that come with home ownership, there are lots of easy ways to save money by cutting back on some of the expenditures you didn’t think twice about as a renter. Try some of the following ideas, and start building a cushion for home maintenance, new furniture, or adding on a deck.
Set a budget for groceries. Instead of running to the store to pick up whatever you need as you may have done in the past, now’s the time to set a budget for groceries and stick to it. Stock up on low-cost staples to build meals around, like rice, beans and pasta, then add in fresh meats, fish, fruits and veggies each week. Opt for store brands over pricier name brands, shop store sales and use coupons.
Walk, bike or use public transportation. Save money on gas and Uber, and walk or bike as much as possible, or use public transportation. This will be healthy for you, your wallet and the environment.
Have fun at home. If you were in the habit of frequenting trendy restaurants or spending weekends out on the town, now’s a good time to scale that back to one night a week. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun, however. Cook at home and have a romantic dinner for two, or invite friends for a potluck. Have a game night or a movie night. Or, seek out free or low-cost entertainment in your new neighborhood, such as concerts in the local park, craft fairs or free days at the museum. Not only will this get you out of the house, you’ll start meeting the new neighbors as well.
DIY fitness. If you’d been investing in pricey gym memberships or exercise classes, you can save a lot of money by taking fitness into your own hands. A vast array of apps and YouTube videos can guide you through very effective at-home workouts, or take advantage of the great outdoors and walk, hike, run, bike, swim… whatever your area lends itself to.
Saving money is easier than you think – and can actually open the door to a more enjoyable way of life. And the nest egg you’ll start building will help make you a smarter, happier homeowner.