From walk-in closets to theaters with seating for the whole family, most everyone has a list of features they’d want in their dream home. While not all of us can live in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-style housing, you can still see a realistic version of your dream home come true with creative saving and budgeting.
Begin with basics to save
As with any big purchase, the starting point is setting your family up for success by establishing a budget. You likely already know the usual tactics of budgeting—sitting down to list out your weekly or monthly expenses and setting a limit on what you spend. When you’re looking to make a long-term purchase like your dream home, however, it’s essential to revisit your budget periodically to make sure you’re staying on track. Life happens—cars break down and bones get broken even when you’re saving up for a hot tub. Expenses ebb and flow, and it’s best to adjust your budget to reflect reality rather than making up a budget as you go.
Go old school
Do you consider your available balance on your credit cards as part of your budget? Cut that out, or cut up your cards! As much as possible, set up automatic bill payments and savings deductions, and take out cash for your groceries, household items and transportation budget. Decreasing the amount of money on your credit cards will help you get a better home loan rate down the road, leaving more money for in-home gym equipment or a California king bed.
If you struggle to stick within a budget, consider putting cash for your spending categories—like those mentioned above—into envelopes so you can more easily keep track of how much is left in your budget. Being able to see how much cash you have left in each category will make you more mindful of your spending versus using a card.
Go big to go home
Part of saving for your dream home means setting aside a manageable amount of money on a regular basis and cutting costs when possible, but you’ll make bigger gains toward your goal by forgoing big expenses. No one is saying skipping your summer vacation or making do with a dent in your bumper is fun, but putting the money you’d spend on big, non-essential purchases into your dream home savings will get you into that spa bathroom more quickly.
It’s also a good idea to automatically put any bonuses, tax returns, inheritances or lottery winnings into your savings. You can’t miss what you never had—put the amount into your home savings without daydreaming about the right-now purchases you could make.
Pin it to win it
The hardest part of saving for a big purchase can be staying motivated over the months or years it takes to reach your goal. Keep reminding yourself what you’re saving for with a Pinterest board or pictures from home magazines. Look at a picture of what will make up your dream home whenever you’re tempted to over-spend or tap into your savings, and soon enough you’ll be looking at it in real life!
Prospera Credit Union has 5 Locations in Appleton, Darboy, Neenah, Menasha and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Appleton Branch and Corporate Offices
4830 N. Ballard Rd.
N9660 County Rd. N
849 Warsaw St.
934 S. Green Bay Rd.
90 Wisconsin St.