Jenni Hill

28 October 2015

How I saved a £10,000 house deposit in a year

Personal finance blogger Jenni Hill saved £10,000 in a year towards a deposit for her first home. Read her guest blog to find out how she did it.

Just over a year ago I decided to start saving for a deposit on my first home. I was tired of living in rented accommodation and having no control over the property. I wanted to be able to paint the walls without losing my deposit, get things fixed without having to wait for the landlord, and live in a place I could call my own.

The only thing standing in my way and preventing me from becoming a home owner was a deposit. At the time, the thought of saving a deposit seemed like an impossible task. In my eyes, the majority of my monthly outgoings were spent on living expenses. However, over the last year I've realised just how careless I'd been with my money and if anything, I wish I'd started saving sooner!

By dramatically changing my lifestyle, slashing unnecessary spending, and making extra money wherever possible, I've managed to save £10,000 in the last year towards my first home. I also set up my own money saving blog, Can't Swing a Cat*, to keep myself motivated and document my progress. While you can learn more about my money saving journey on my blog, here are the main lifestyle changes that helped me save money:

I reduced my living costs

The first thing I did was dramatically reduce my living costs. I was able to do this by moving in with my parents but I know isn't an option for everyone. Thankfully, there are other ways you could reduce your monthly living costs:

  • Rent a room in a shared house
  • Become a lodger
  • If you rent a property and have a spare room, see if sub-letting is an option
  • Move to a rented property in a cheaper area
  • Become a 'property guardian' by living in an old school, former care home or even a castle

I slashed all unnecessary spending

Before I moved in with my parents I was spending up to £10 a day on drinks from the coffee shop, vending machine snacks, shop-bought lunches and other little luxuries. The cost of this soon mounted up and by giving up these things my savings have seen a boost.

When your colleagues are going out for lunch every day it can be hard to resist the temptation to do the same, but by taking your own lunch to work and making your own brews instead of nipping to Starbucks you'll be amazed how much you can save.

I embraced second hand clothes

Jenni Hill Shopping in a Charity shop

I used to waste a lot of my disposable income on new clothes. I couldn't walk past a shop without popping in and having a look around. Now I tend to avoid the high street completely so I don't get tempted. If I need a new outfit, I'll see if I can find something nice in a charity shop instead.

Whether you need a new pair of jeans or a dress to wear at a wedding, it's amazing just how many great clothes you can find in your local charity shops and car boot sales. You may have to spend a bit of time rummaging through, but that's all part of the fun.

I stayed in instead of going out

Before I started saving for a deposit I used to love going out for a couple of drinks after work and eating at restaurants on a regular basis. However, after totting up how much money I was spending on meals and nights out, I decided to find other ways of having fun without spending money.

Instead of going on a night out with your friends, invite everyone round for a night in. Get everyone to bring a couple of drinks with them and some food. Look for affordable things to do in your spare time, whether that's visiting art galleries, having a picnic in the park or going on a long bike ride.

I sold my old belongings

In the last year I've spent a lot of time selling my old things in order to increase my savings. Not only has this enabled me to make extra money, but it's also helped me to declutter my room and my parents' garage.
Whether you sell your old DVDs and books on car boot sales or your old clothes and shoes on eBay, there are so many ways to make extra money. I'd also recommend giving Facebook selling groups a try.

I increased my income

I recently found myself a new job and started taking up freelance work during the evenings and weekends to increase my income. It's a lot of hard work and I don't have very much free time left, but it feels great to see my savings grow even further. 

Whether you do overtime at work or ask for a pay rise, there are so many ways you could increase your income on a regular basis. You could also offer you dog walking, babysitting or gardening services to friends and neighbours. 

If you've decided that buying a property is something you really want to do, don't let anything stand in your way. Saving the money you need for a deposit can take a long time but with hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude, you can watch your savings grow.

*By clicking on the links you will leave the Principality website - Principality is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Published: 28/10/2015