As the holidays begin, the difference can be felt in basically everyone’s wallets. And long-term financial goals like trying to save for a home can feel like an impossibility for even the most disciplined savers. Between special events and gift exchanges, there is simply not a lot of extra money left laying around for most households. Unfortunately, most of us also fall for the false choice of remaining disciplined with our savings or enjoying the holiday season. If you are looking to buy a home and use these 7 tips to save for a house, you can do enjoy the holidays and make steps to achieve your goal.
Tips to Save for a House Without Being a Scrooge
Those who opt to continue with their plans to save for a house throughout the holidays usually feel like that means they need to miss out on all of the fun that comes with the season. But with a few practical steps, you can take a lot of the sting out of saving for that mortgage down payment by finding new (cheaper) ways to participate in the holidays.
Tip #1: Host get togethers
One of the easiest ways to drain your bank account throughout the year, but especially around the holidays, is with all of the costs associated with going out with friends. But rather than avoiding all of your friends until mid January, consider inviting them over. Now, this is not to imply that you should host a fancy, catered affair. Instead, think of ways to entertain friends that keep costs low. Ask everyone to contribute an appetizer or side dish. Or host a pizza-making party. Beer and wine is far cheaper at the grocery store and there are numerous board games you can play to entertain yourselves.
The possibilities are really pretty expansive if you use a little bit of imagination. And not only do a lot of people find this to be way more fun than waiting in line at a noisy bar, you will also save all of the money you would have otherwise spent on a babysitter, Uber ride, etc. If you have other friends who would be willing to rotate hosting these nights, all the better!
Check out our blog on 5 Tips to Save for a Down Payment! Click here.
Tip #2: A challenging twist on gift giving
If you are married or have a significant other, the holidays can be a stressful time. This is partially because of all the perceived pressure to buy you sweetheart an expensive gift. But some couples have found an interesting way to bond over gift giving without breaking the bank. Agree with your partner to a ridiculously low price cap for gifts — think in the $5 range. You will actually find that the gifts you get and receive will be significantly more thoughtful and that you have a lot more money in your bank account to ring in the New Year.
Tip #3: Don’t buy for everyone
If you have a close circle of friends or a lot of siblings, it can be easy to fall into the routine of buying things for everyone. After all, you care about all of these people. But, rather than shell out money for multiple gifts, consider asking your group of people if they would be okay with a Secret Santa. Each person draws a name and is only responsible for giving a gift to that one person. Everyone still gets a gift, everyone can save money and it can be sort of exciting not knowing who will be gifting you something. The spending limit you decide to put on your Secret Santa exchange is up to you, but you can amplify your savings and have a lot of fun getting creative by using a low dollar amount, as we recommended previously for giving a gift to your significant other.
Tip #4: Create some cheaper traditions
Family traditions are one of the things that makes the holidays so special. Unfortunately, depending on the tradition, it can also be one of the things that makes the holidays so expensive. Assess your family traditions and if there is a way you can reinvigorate them to save money. For example, instead of an expensive dinner at a fancy steakhouse for New Year’s, host dinner at someone’s home. If your family enjoys seeing the Nutcracker during this time of year, opt for an amateur or high school production instead of seeing a professional ballet company.
Tip #5: Set a budget
One of the biggest mistakes people make over the holidays when they are trying to save money for a house is entering the holidays without a solid budget in mind. Take some time as the holidays are beginning to decide how much you can afford while still maintaining your goals for savings.
Tip #6: Track your spending
And as anyone who has ever blown a budget knows, your budget is only as good as your ability to stick to it. Track your spending regularly to make sure that spending is not creeping up on you in any areas. Regularly assessing this can allow you to correct course by cutting back as necessary.
Tip #7: Get crafty
Whether you are stressed out about decorations, gifts or entertaining, there is likely a DIY solution to allay your fears. One need only some time to surf Pinterest to find amazing ideas to create your own supplies for the holidays, usually for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy ready-made alternatives. Just be sure to opt for craft you already have most of the supplies for!
Hopefully you have found our tips to save for a house during the holidays useful. And remember, whether you are ready to buy a house and have a questions about one of our featured listings or are unsure how much you should save for a mortgage down payment, we are always available. Ask us about down payment assistance programs in Arizona! You may be a whole lot closer to saving for your house than you think!