Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.
Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.
Why budget for a down payment?
If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.
However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:
Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment
Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account
Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.
You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!
YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.
Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.
You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.
Saving with your spouse
Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.
First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.
From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.
While home remodeling can be about getting your home some major cool points, you really want to be focused on the home remodeling projects that will provide you the greatest amount of return on your investment. There are certain home remodeling projects that just aren’t worth it. Others will help the value of your home truly soar. It’s important to invest your money carefully and thoughtfully. If you know that you’re moving in the near future, you may not even want to undertake remodeling projects for fear that they won’t be worth it. There are certain projects that are absolutely necessary for you to complete if you hope to get the top value for your home. You don’t ant to put in thousands of dollars with no sign of return for your investment.
You don’t need to get complex when it comes to remodeling your home. Take a look at what needs help on the surface. This will include things like new kitchen countertops, replacing sinks, cabinet refacing, or floor retiling. Don’t bother with huge structural changes to the home. Also, keep in mind that someone else has a different taste than you. Keep things neutral. You might love a bright yellow kitchen, but it’s certain that the next owner will probably have a different preference.
Work With What You Have
While you may wish that you had a lot more space and hope to put an addition on the home, the next owners could have a different vision. While there will be more square feet of living space, many buyers look at a home’s potential for them. There’s no sense in starting a bunch of huge construction projects that will only become a costly source of stress.
Make The Necessary Repairs
Buyers will love a home that has a fairly new roof over one that will need a roof replacement within a couple of years. You should fix the things around the home that need to be tended to. This includes window replacements, roofs, electrical outlet work, and major yard issues.
Don’t Forget The Outdoors
It’s important for your home to look good from the outside as well. Buyers appreciate a home that has been well taken care of. Take the time, money, and effort to keep up your lawn and outdoor landscaping. Planting some greenery around can never hurt. While new owners may have different tastes than you, it’s always a bonus to move into a house and have a little less work to do on the outside!