Many Aussies are still dreaming of home ownership and while, for some, affording a home may appear a long way off, it is possible to accelerate your savings ready for a home deposit.
For those first home buyers looking to enter the market, it is also important that you are just aiming to get your foot on the property ladder. Given this is your first home, you’re likely to upgrade down the track so consider whether getting the highest mortgage possible is the right path for you, if it requires you to have unsustainable goals.
Next, it’s just a matter of finances and there are various ways Aussies can meet their goals of home ownership by tweaking their financial habits and making other small changes along the way.
Helen Baker, licensed financial advisor and spokesperson at Money.com.au, shares her top tips to help first home buyers accelerate their home deposit:
1 Have a ‘spending and investment plan’ rather than a ‘budget’. Budgeting is associated with being tied down and handcuffed – you’re saving with a purpose, but it’s not sustainable in the long term. Instead, assess your finances by having a spending and investment plan, where spending includes any bills, fixed commitments, credit cards, holiday and ‘pocket money’, and investment is your home deposit savings.
2 Consider salary sacrificing to superannuation. If your cash flow allows for it, consider the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which will enable you to save for your first home within your super fund by making voluntary contributions. Conditions apply.
3 Prioritise paying down debt. Credit card debt and personal loans could jeopardise your chances of getting a mortgage if you have a poor credit rating. If you’re wondering which to prioritise between getting rid of debt and setting aside savings, get rid of all your debt first.
4 Consider opening a high-interest savings account. High-interest savings accounts (HISA) offer various benefits: competitive introductory interest rates if you’re a new customer and bonus interest when you meet certain savings conditions, such as depositing a certain amount each month. Make sure you do your research.
5 Generate a second source of income. You can find a side gig to earn extra money for your deposit, thanks to the internet and share economy. By taking up a side hustle, it minimises the amount of leisure time you have, in turn, cutting down your spending. A couple of hours doing this each week could see you earn an extra $200-$300, depending on the job.
6 Consider opening a term deposit. Despite interest rates being at an all-time low, opening a term deposit can still help you achieve your goal sooner. It’s advised that you compare interest rates between banks before you commit, assess how long of a term you need, and ensure you feel safe with who you invest in.
7 Try living off one salary and banking the rest. If you’re a dual-income couple, living off one salary and saving the other is one of the hardest but fastest ways to accelerate your savings – if you can do it. You may want to consider opening a new savings account that each person can deposit half their salary into, so you can keep individual accounts and monitor your own spending.
8 Declutter and sell items. There’sa high chance you have double-ups in furniture and white goods if you’re moving in with your partner for the first time. Consider listing items you no longer want or need online so you can bank the money made from your sales.
9 Move back home temporarily. While everyone can’t move back into their family home, consider taking advantage of it if the option is there. The amount you’re saving in rent will likely cover your monthly savings target for your deposit. Don’t expect it to be completely expense-free though. Discuss your family’s expectations of you contributing to household expenses and bills.