Economic woes over the last several years have made it difficult for many people, particularly first-time home buyers, to save up the money they need for their down payment and closing costs.  Maybe you've tried to save, but at the end of every month, you have nothing to show for your efforts.  Before you decide that buying a house is just not in the cards, try this plan - and you, too, will be able to save up the down payment to buy a house!

  • Week 1:  Give up eating out for a week.  ALL eating out - snacks, lattes, fast food, pizza, lunches at work.  Brown bag it with leftovers from last night's dinner, make your coffee at home, prepare simple dinners from scratch, take snacks and drinks for you and the kids when you go somewhere......try it for a week.  Just a week.  You can easily save $100 this week alone.  Put what you save in the bank - all of it.
  • Week 2:  Give up entertainment for a week, unless it's free.  No movies, concerts, admission fees, amusement parks, swimming pool, none of it.  The library has DVD's for rent for free, so do a movie night at home and pop your own popcorn.  Or try a game night with board games or cards you already own (or can borrow from family or friends - better yet, invite them over to play, too), go to the park, let the kids run through the sprinkler, invite everyone over for a "Bring Your Own Beverage" and potluck dinner, set up the croquet set or badminton net and have your own tournament.  You could potentially save another $100 this week this way - put all of this in the bank, too.
  • Week 3:  Sell stuff you no longer need or want.  Have a yard sale, put it on Ebay or Craigslist and get rid of that stuff no one is using anymore.  We all have good items we are saving "just in case", or things that we just don't ever use.  Now is the time, gather up some of them and move them on out.  I bet you can find an easy $100 worth of stuff to sell this week to help you buy a house!  And, it goes in the bank.
  • Week 4:  Skip the beauty parlor.  How much do you spend on manicures, pedicures, massages, hair treatments, tanning.   Sure, you're not going to cut your own hair, but a lot of the other beauty things you can do on your own.  Try googling manicures and pedicures and getting some tips and tutorials on doing-it-youself.  You'll save big, maybe even $100 this week.
  • Week 5:  This week, only carry cash, and carry it in a large bill. like a $100 bill.  This method tends to make people think twice about spending money on inconsequential things because there's something about the psychology of breaking that $100 bill.  So you'll be more focused on "needs", not "wants".  And if you and your spouse or significant other does it too, you'll easily save another $100 this week - put it all in the bank.
  • Week 6:  Start at the beginning and repeat Weeks 1 through 5.

So there you have it - after a year, you will be looking for a home to buy because you will have $5,000 saved up for a down payment.  Yes, it takes some committment on your part, but most people start to really get a thrill from watching those $$$ pile up, knowing they are going to reach their goal.  You can do this.

And if you have some great tips for saving money, I'd love to hear your comments (and your success stories, of course).



The above information on buying a home was provided by Barb Hutchinson.  Barb can be reached by email at or by phone at 208-707-4663.  Barb has helped people move in and out of homes in The Treasure Valley in Southwest Idaho for the last 27 years.

Thinking of selling your home?  I love to share my marketing expertise!

I sell homes and real estate in the following southwest Idaho towns:  Payette, Fruitland, Parma, Emmett, New Plymouth, Weiser, Caldwell, and Nampa, ID


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