5 Ways To Finally Start Saving For That House Deposit

None involve surviving on mi-goreng or swearing off a social life.

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So, you’ve decided to become a home owner. No more grubby share houses, tolerating other peoples’ design choices, or smashed avo splurges on the weekends. Congratulations – you’re officially a grown-up!

But unless you’re that guy who won the lottery twice in a row, saving for a 20 percent house deposit seems like a pipe dream, particularly considering median house prices are expected to reach $2 million by 2028.

Here are five genius ways to start saving for your first home, but don’t stress – none involve surviving on mi-goreng or swearing off a social life for the rest of your twenties. The long-ish journey to the house of your dreams is peppered with nights in, minimal Uber Eats orders, and meticulously crafted budget spreadsheets, and it’s all worth it in the end.

#1 Become A Budget Beast

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If you’re not already someone who gets slightly turned on at the sight of a colour-coded budget spreadsheet, you’re about to become one. Creating (and sticking to) a world-class budget that’s reflective of both your goals and your current spending habits is crucial for all wannabe home owners, so start brushing up on those Excel skills.

Before you decide to live life with only your spreadsheet for company, know that budgeting doesn’t have to be synonymous with having zero fun. If your budget is too strict, you’ll struggle to hit targets and take even longer to save that deposit, so give yourself a bit of wiggle room.

#2 Familiarise Yourself With Free Money, AKA Interest

saving for a deposit

Anyone who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch has obviously never heard of savings accounts with solid interest rates. Our advice for anyone looking to put a down payment on a property is to familiarise yourself with them – fast.

The advantages of savings accounts with strong base interest rates are many. Not only is your money doing the hard work for you, it’s most likely tucked away where you can’t touch it, safely out of reach on a pre-pay day Saturday night out. Need we say more?

On top of that, some accounts come with a bunch of other good stuff, like goal-setting capabilities and bonus interest. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal available, and educate yourself on the ins and outs of interest rates in the process. Once you’ve found an account that suits your needs, automate your savings so you’ll be saving without even realising it. Voila!

#3 Switch Up Your Routine(s)

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“Dead money” is money we spend without even realising we’re doing it, so saving for a property is the perfect opportunity to adopt a more conscious approach to spending.

For example, you could swap your gym membership for some weights, good running shoes and a free app, research potential renegotiations on mobile, internet and utility contracts, and do a big digital subscription cull (you likely have more than you realise). Do you really need online streaming services? Think about it – seriously.

If you’re feeling particularly bold (and if you think you could make it work), sell your car and put the proceeds straight into that high-interest savings account. Small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in the long run.

#4 Be Realistic

Aspirations for your very first home are important, but it pays to be realistic about what you can afford, especially if you’re entering in to the market on your own. Maybe – just maybe – a three-storey Surry Hills terrace is a touch out of your realistic price range this time, but of course it’s worth being informed.

Start going to auctions and reading the property section in newspapers and online to get a feel for the market and what you can afford. Mortgage calculators are useful tools, too – perhaps you’ll surprise yourself with your buying power.

#5 Do Your Research

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Whether you’re looking into grants for first home owners or sussing out the different mortgage options available, a little study time could have a big impact on the amount you end up handing over for a deposit.

Plus, in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, you need to learn the ropes. What’s a LVR (loan-to-value ratio) and a LMI (lenders mortgage insurance) and how will they affect you? What’s the difference, in money terms, between a 10 or a 20 percent deposit?

Surround yourself with real adults who know the answers to these and any other questions you have about home ownership (even if it’s just your mum), and your savings journey will become much more manageable.

Westpac is committed to helping Australians save for their home goals. The Westpac Life savings account allows you to earn additional fixed bonus interest if you add a ‘Home and Property’ goal (and meet the criteria) for a limited time only. Open one now in less than three minutes. This article has not taken your personal circumstances into account. Please consider whether products are suitable to you.