When my husband and I started looking for places to rent we were noticing how expensive everything was. We were paying right at $900 for a two bedroom apartment in a not so great neighborhood. (hearing gun shots with my newborn beside me is not so comforting). After that we started looking for other places to rent, but not really finding any affordable safe places. Eventually, we knew that if we wanted to live in a nice neighborhood, we needed to buy.
Right now is the perfect time to buy a home. The market is pretty low and homes are very affordable. Plus, interest rates are low too! One day, I told my husband that I had been looking at homes, done some math, and that we could buy a home cheaper than we could rent a tiny apartment for. We went looking and called a Realtor while we were at the first house we looked at. The lady came right away to show us the house. We took it as a sign to stick with her because of how much she wanted to be our Realtor, she wanted to work for us. During the buying process, she even stopped by our apartment to get my husband to sign some papers since he was on night shift and sleeping all day. Having a great Realtor makes the buying process much easier.
Now to the hard part, how we were able to afford a home. My husband was (is) a police officer, with a police officer salary. I was a stay at home mom to a newborn. Luckily for us, we were already living a frugal lifestyle thanks to the help of Dave Ramsey and his "Total Money Makeover"
We quickly started paying off our credit card debt one card at a time. We made over payments to specifically one card. Once that card was paid off we tackled the next one. Not only were we ridding ourselves of debt, but we were freeing up more money by not having a credit card payment.
We did away with TV and kept Netflix and internet. We did away with fancy phones and redid our phone plan so that we were paying the minimum.
We also started getting strict with eating out and cooking. I started packing Drew's lunch everyday for work and we stopped going out to eat unless it was a special occasion. We even cut back on Sodas. Buying soda's add up. If you buy one a day for $1.80 that is $54 a month spent on soda's. Not to mention if you and your spouse are buying sodas. Plus, if you go in the gas station to get a soda you are most likely going to come out with more than you intended to buy.
Slowly but surely, we started having extra money and instead of spending it, we saved it. We also sold some of our possessions that had just been sitting around and not used for a while. Remember, every little bit helps.
We nickeled and dimed ourselves until we were able to afford to purchase a home. We were lucky enough to be able to get a VA loan, but we still needed a lot of money up front for inspectors, earnest money, etc. Just to be on the safe side, my husband sold his motorcycle thinking we would need that money. We didn't though, since we had saved so much.
When we got that wonderful tax check in the mail we didn't spend it. We immediately put it into our savings account and forgot about it. It is so easy to blow through your tax money. Spending just a little here and just a little there adds up.
We also stopped shopping so much. I made a grocery list and stuck to it when I went to the grocery store. Plus, I only went once. That way I wasn't wasting gas going back to the grocery store and also buying more items than I really needed. Cook frivolously. You don't need to cook a five course meal every day. I started doing a meat, veggie, and a side.
A HUGE factor to saving money. Quit going out to eat!! Think about how often you eat out and do the math. It adds up quickly! I started packing my husbands lunch everyday and when we went out it was only for special occasions. This saved us an easy $200 a month.
We took into account that we were not going to be living here forever. Our goal is to find a house that we can live in for 5-7 years and then rent it out and make a profit from it. That being said, there is no need in us buying a huge elaborate home with only 3 of us that will be living in it. I also took into account that my husband works odd hours and when he is on night shift he will need to be able to sleep during the day without our daughter waking him up. So I knew that I wanted a home with the master bedroom far away from the living room.
We were so lucky to find a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, 3 story home in a gated neighborhood overlooking the neighborhood pool, right outside the city limits. To make things even better, it was a foreclosure!!
The best advice ever given to us was "don't buy the largest house you can afford." There were several 4 and 5 bedroom homes we could afford, but the neighborhood was starting to go downhill. Think about the future when buying a home.Will the neighborhood be family friendly in 10 years? Will the home be able to resale easily? If you're planning on more kids, will the home be able to fit everyone comfortably?
By living frugally for a year made us able to purchase our own home. Now, we live frugally 100% of the time. It is hard at first to not go on random shopping trips or out to eat every time I don't feel like cooking. Once you make the change, it becomes hard to buy frivolous items. Before we purchase anything we always ask ourselves "is this a want or a need." We give ourselves an allotted amount for frivolous items and stick to it. We are now able to make over payments on our home and will have it paid off sooner.
Purchasing a home in your twenties is very attainable. Just make a budget plan and stick with it. Remember, if you live like no one else, later you can LIVE like no one else. ~Dave Ramsey.