piggy bank besides small wooden house with coins piled in front

Save your way to homeownership: Strategies to adopt today


OCTOBER 1, 2021

Do you get anxious every time you check out home prices on the internet? Or speak to a real estate agent? Does owning a home feel like a dream to you? Don’t worry; you’re not alone! 

According to CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation), the percentage of first-time homebuyers who rented for 10+ years increased to 31% in 2019. And we’re guessing this number has only risen in the past two years, particularly due to a rise in unemployment during the pandemic. 

People have no choice but to wait longer to own a home simply because they need more time to save for a downpayment. Although the current real estate market demands that buyers save at least 20% down payment, you can buy a home with 8 to 10% down.

Here are a few changes you need to make in your lifestyle so you can save more for a downpayment: 

  1. Budget like a pro

    This seems like a simple tip, but if you estimate how much money you’ll spend monthly — on groceries, rent, clothing, shopping, entertainment, and eating out — you can save more. By creating a budget, you limit yourself to spending only how much you’ve allocated for that specific expense.

    We know it’s hard to be strict, but with the right focus you can discipline yourself not to overspend on Uber Eats or to go out to the movies with a friend. The goal is to set realistic budgets and stick with them. Depending on your living situation (if you’re single, living with a partner, or with your family), calculate how much groceries would cost you every week and set an overall monthly budget based on that.

    You’ll also need to factor in fixed expenses such as rent, transport, car, insurance, etc. But for all non-essential expenses, figure out where you can cut down and where you’ll need to leave room for more. 
  1. Go back to cash, because it’s king

    You might have noticed that your grandparents always carried and paid for things in cash. If you ask us, that was a pretty smart thing to do!

    After you set a monthly budget, start paying with your debit for everything because you’ll be able to keep an eye on how much you’re spending. Just like our grandparents, we’ll know when we’re running low on money and might not be so tempted to make a Starbucks run when you’re constantly keeping an eye on your account balance.
  1. Use apps to track spending

    Don’t want to go through the hassle of carrying so much cash around? Use an app to track your expenses and keep an eye on your spending. Thankfully, most banks offer mobile apps that do this for you. And they’re convenient, safe, and reliable. Set yourself up to receive notifications every time you use your credit or debit card, so you’ll process how much you’re spending.

    However, many apps make it pretty easy to track expenses and keep you on track, should you prefer one of those. A few of our personal favorites include YNAB, Mint, and Charlie.
  1. Consider downsizing to one vehicle

    If your household has more than one car, get rid of it. Even if it’s paid off, there are so many maintenance costs that go into owning another vehicle. The upkeep, insurance, and gas all add up at the end of the month.

    Consider car-pooling with your family members and taking one for the team for a while. 
  1. Downsize to save on rent

    Renting is one of the most significant expenses reported by individuals trying to save up for a home. We know it’s hard to give up on square footage, but consider making this sacrifice for a couple of years. If you’re renting a single-family townhome, considering moving to a condo. If you’re living by yourself, consider moving from a condo to a basement apartment.

    You can also bring on a roommate to help cut the rent in half or move in with your family for a little while if they have space. Consider renting your parent’s basement or a portion of your siblings’ home. This way, you can put the money that you’re saving in rent towards a down payment. 
  1. Move away from the hottest neighborhood

    If you’re living in the city, consider moving to the suburbs where rent will be cheaper. If you don’t have to travel for work (yay for remote working), consider moving further away if that means more affordable living.

    Search up the hottest neighborhoods in your city and not move there. Chances are, the rent’s going to cost you 10X more because of its proximity to trendy restaurants and bars, downtown, entertainment, etc. If you’re not living in a trendy neighborhood, you’re less likely to spend a lot on a night out. 
  1. Get a side-hustle

    We’re living in the gig-economy era, where technology has enabled us to work from anywhere, for anyone. If you have a skill or craft, you can make additional income working from home using platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and Upwork.

    If you don’t have any applicable skills, there are still many ways to make money online. You can sell unused items in online marketplaces, fill out surveys to make some money, or drive Uber or Lyft to make some extra cash on the weekends. 

The bottom line

We know saving up money for a downpayment seems like a hard and daunting task. But with a little focus, a lot of motivation, and a few changes to your lifestyle (for a little while) you can save money to buy your first home. 

But once you do purchase your first home, you shouldn’t stop saving. Maintenance and upkeep of a home takes a lot of investment — you have to consider renovations, fixing appliances, or replacing old ones — so your habit of saving should continue even after you become a homeowner. To learn more about how you can keep home maintenance costs down, click here. 

The journey to homeownership may not be easy, but we promise you it’s worth every second of it!