17 ways to save for buying a house

Could small changes lead to a big deposit? We think so. Read our money-saving tips to see how you could potentially save more by making a few small changes. Let’s go!

A couple of challenges to get you started

The 52-week savings challenge

Start off by saving one pound in the first week of the challenge then gradually increasing it by a pound a week. By the end of the challenge you’d be saving more than £50 a week, which works out at £1,378 over the 52 weeks over the course of the year.

52-week savings challenge PDF

50/30/20 budgeting rule

The idea is to split your earnings so that 50% goes on things you need (food, rent, bills, transport and things you can’t live without), 30% on things you want (entertainment and things you enjoy), and 20% on saving for the future.

Top Tip

Why not set up a Direct Debit and put the 20% into a savings account every month so you can’t spend it.

Shopping

Supermarket brands

Unbranded doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality. A 500g box of branded cereal might cost you £3, whereas a similar supermarket-branded version might be only £1.25 – an instant saving of £1.75. If we assume you buy a new box of cereal every two weeks, you could save £42 a year.

Avoid fast fashion

Quality items can be an investment and often last longer than cheaper alternatives. One way to evaluate the price of an item is to calculate the cost per wear, consider how often you’ll wear it and how long it’s likely to last.

Say you bought a pair of boots costing £25 (the pleather kind), and had to replace them three times in a year. That will cost you £75. However, you could buy some real leather boots for £60, which could potentially last for years and save you £15 in the first year alone.

Top Tip

If you’re considering buying ‘dry clean only’ clothes, it’s worth noting that they can be expensive to clean.

The 24-hour rule

Waiting 24-hours to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to avoid impulse buys - because you might feel differently about that pair of jeans tomorrow.

Secondhand sales

Get into the habit of selling your unwanted items. There are plenty of secondhand selling websites and apps like eBay, Depop and Preloved.

Stored cards

Allowing online retailers to store your card details can make shopping online way too easy. The slight inconvenience of re-entering your card details every time might be enough to discourage you from making a needless purchase.

Think of hours worked instead of cost

Take the cost of the item you're considering and divide it by your hourly wage. Is it worth it? Can you afford it? Do you really need it?

Discount cards and loyalty card

Lots of retailers, restaurants and supermarkets reward customers with loyalty cards that allow them to build-up points over time then spend them in place of cash.

Subscriptions and contracts

Phone

If your contract is up but you want to keep your phone, a sim-only deal might be better for you. The contract terms are often more flexible and you're likely to get cheaper calling, text and internet services with cheaper bundles.

Check your subscriptions

Are you really getting your money’s worth from that yearly gym membership? If an average membership costs around £40 a month (and you don’t go very often), cancel it and you’ll save £480 a year.

Top Tip

Some gyms offer student discounts and day passes, so you don’t have to commit to monthly payments. Look out for student discounts on Amazon Prime, NOW TV, Spotify and Netflix too.

Food and fun

BYOL

Try to bring your own lunch (BYOL) to work at least three days out of the week. If you currently spend around £5 every weekday, that’s a huge saving of £520 a year!

BYOB

A variety of restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle (BYOB). So if you eat out once a month, instead of paying £20 for a bottle of house wine, spend a fiver at the supermarket and save yourself around £180 per year.

Coffee

This little morning perk can cost a lot. But it doesn’t have to. Make a small change and limit yourself to three coffee-shop coffees a week instead of five. Assuming the cost of a latte is £2.40, you could save almost £250 a year.

Top Tip

Or invest in a Thermos mug and brew your own, which is considerably cheaper.

Cinema

Make friends with ‘off-peak’ and to avoid paying full price at the cinema again. On certain weekdays you can enjoy big screen entertainment at a discount. So assuming an average cinema ticket costs £12.50 at full price versus £6 off-peak, you’d instantly save £5.50. That means if you went to the cinema once a month, you’d save a whopping £66 a year!

Getting around

Fuel

PetrolPrices.com compares prices at almost 8,500 petrol stations covering 98% of the UK. Check the app for the nearest and cheapest station near you and you could save over £220 a year.

Top Tip

Experts predict that properly inflated tyres can improve your mileage per tank by up to 3%.

Car share

Sharing a car to and from work means you’ll be saving money and helping the environment too.

How much could you save?

That’s a grand total of around £3,151 potential savings a year. If you did that for five years, that’s around £15,755, which might be enough for a deposit for a new home.

If you’ve started saving for a deposit but don’t know how much you’ll need, try our five minute mortgage calculator to get a rough idea. You can also get a Decision in Principle, which takes a bit longer, but will help estate agents know you’re really ready to buy. Please note, Security will be required for any loan.

Demi's quote

Once I’d decided how much I wanted to spend on a house, I got a Decision in Principle (DIP). That gave me an idea how much I’d be able to borrow, which helped me work out roughly how much my mortgage and bills might be every month. Then I saved that amount each month, so when it came to actually getting a mortgage, I was prepared for the extra cost and I didn't have to give up the things I enjoyed.

Demi Carter, Skipton colleague and Lifetime ISA customer

Want to find out how much deposit you might need to save? Try out:

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