Home Hacks

6 things to give up if you want to buy your first home

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One millionaire real estate mogul sparked debate last year when he suggested that young adults would be more likely to be able to buy a home if they gave up avocado toast.

In truth, you'd have to give up a lot more than that one tasty indulgence. If, for example, you live in New York City and sacrifice one weekly avocado toast, you could afford a down payment in March of the year 2410.

To help you make more headway towards saving enough to put a down payment on your first home, here are six things to give up, in addition to brunch.

Procrastination

If you're serious about buying a home, start saving today. But don't just create a house fund and tell yourself you're going to contribute to it — create a specific plan with a hard deadline.

First, determine how much home you can afford and set a target date for when you want to make the purchase. Next, figure out how much you'll have to save for it and for how long, and start setting aside a certain amount each week or month.

Other big ticket items

To become a home-owner by your target date, you may have to put other major purchases on hold, such as vacations or a new car.

The more sacrifices you make now, the sooner you'll be able to afford your first home.

Ordering food and drinks every day

Eating out or ordering takeout can add up quickly. If you're not careful, a Seamless addiction can end up costing you more than $1,000 a month.

In general, the more food you can prepare at home, the more money you can set aside and the sooner you'll reach your savings goals. Of course, it's OK to treat yourself and buy the occasional meal, but keep in mind that going homemade is one of the simplest ways to cut back in a significant but doable fashion.

Like eating out, the occasional happy hour or night out is fine, but if you're looking to free up some cash to put towards a down payment, skipping drinks will help. And let's face it, ordering one drink usually leads to ordering two or three, which often leads to ordering food, too.

Cable and other underused services

These days, cable costs Americans more than $100 a month. That's a large sum to pay for a service that people often don't take full advantage of.

If you replace cable with a service like Netflix ($8 a month), Hulu ($8 a month) or HBO Now ($15 a month), you'd have an extra $90 a month to put towards your house fund. Eliminate other unused services, like meal subscription boxes, music streaming services or magazine subscriptions, and you'll have even more to direct towards your future home.

Trying to show up your friends

Keeping up with the Joneses, or trying to live up to your friends' and neighbors' standards, is a tempting, but expensive, habit.

If you stop choosing what to wear and what gadgets to buy based on what your friends do, chances are you'll save a ton of money and be a home-owner much sooner.

Lifestyle inflation

If you want to buy a house, it's time to stop living up to the ceiling of what your income allows. If your earnings increase, don't boost your spending — put that extra money directly to your house fund.

This is an update of a previously published story.

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