If the biggest reason you haven’t plunged into home ownership is due to the scary down payment (and not to mention closing costs!) you are definitely not alone. Down payments typically range from 3.5%-20%, although there are some zero down payment and payment assistant programs out there. While you may not need quite as much money saved up as you think to purchase your first home, you definitely want to start saving and planning early. Make sure to set up a savings account just for your future home purchase. Here are 14 outside of the box ways to speed up the process.
1. Sell your stuff!
You can use eBay to sell your higher quality items, and you can always have a good old fashioned garage sale.
2. Go treasure hunting!
If you love finding good deals, hit up flea markets and garage sales to find items that are worth money and then resell them. For example, I found a Lululemon top at a garage sale for $1 and was able to resell it for $25!
3. Use your car!
Become an Uber, Lyft or Postmates driver (or one of the many other apps out there). When I got into real estate I spent some time driving for Postmates and it was incredibly simple and I could easily make $50 in 2-3 hours of working.
4. Pick up temporary work!
There are many businesses that will hire short term if you simply look for them. Flower shops will hire the week of Mother’s Day for delivery drivers. Stores will hire for just the month of December. Put the word out to your friends and keep an eye on Indeed and Craigslist to snag some temporary jobs.
5. Be a billboard!
If you don’t mind your car being a billboard, you could get paid up to $400 a month. Visit http://myfreecar.com to learn more.
6. Return to your teenage years!
Did you ever earn extra money babysitting, house sitting, pet sitting, or lawn mowing as a teenager? There is no reason to not do that now as an adult. You can offer your services to family, friends and neighbors, or advertise through Next Door or Craigslist. You can also sign up for websites such as Rover.
7. Use your hobbies and talents!
Referee or coach sports on the weekends. Tutor children. Teach music lessons. Do web design. Manage social media pages. Find what you are good at and offer your services!
8. Make money by taking pictures of your receipts!
This one won’t make you rich, but will make you money for simply going grocery shopping. Every penny counts! Sign up for Ibotta and then browse the cash back offers in your area (they change regularly). After you shop, simply take a picture of a receipt to earn your cash back. Once you reach $20 (you receive $10 just for signing up), you can request a payout via Paypal. If you are already buying the items that receive cash back, your cash back will add up quickly!
9. Adjust your car insurance!
How long has it been since you have looked into what you are paying to insure your car? If your car is now older and paid off, you might only want to carry liability insurance vs. full coverage. Also, do not be afraid to get a quote from another company. Change can sometimes be good!
10. Adjust your cable!
It’s becoming much easier to cut the cable cord with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Sling and many more options out there. If you insist on keeping your cable, call the company and negotiate a lower bill. You will find they often will lower your monthly bill to keep you as a customer.
11. Adjust your phone plan!
Make sure you are on the correct phone plan for your usage. If you are paying for unlimited data but only using 2gb, then you are throwing money out the window.
12. Keep track of spending!
This sounds obvious but when I say keep track of spending, I mean to write down every cent that you spend. The $1 drink you picked up at QuikTrip, write it down. After just a week you will really see where you spend your money, and what you can potentially cut back. For me, I definitely spend my money on caffeine. Coffee, tea and soda. Writing it out allowed me to be more aware of it, and slowly cut it back (or just make it at home).
13. Give yourself a cash allowance!
After you track you money and get a hold of your expenses, give yourself a cash allowance for your splurges. Use that money for happy hour with friends, coffee before work and whatever else makes your week a touch more fun. But once that cash is gone, so are the splurges.
14. Automate it!
And finally, make sure you have an automatic withdraw coming from each paycheck directly into your home savings account.
Don’t let saving for a down payment scare you. I would be happy to meet for coffee (on me) and discuss your home goals and the plan to get there!