Hey, you! The one who’s thinking about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second. I have some information that you might find useful.
We’ve made a simple list of five luxuries that you might consider forgoing to help you save more money without drastically changing your quality of life. After all, the more you save, the faster you can get into your next house.
Luxury #1: Cable TV
With the average American paying roughly $80 a month for cable, cutting it from your budget until you’ve bought your home can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly $80 cable bill translates to $960 in annual savings and $1440 in savings for a $120 monthly bill. Can’t quit TV cold turkey? Try these affordable alternatives: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu.
Luxury #2: Your Smartphone
Here are a few ways to save on your monthly bill:
- Ditch the wireless hotspot: This costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
- Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
- Get frugal: The Frugal Girl has some great tips for drastically lowering your cell bill. And remember — after you buy your home, you can always flip back to your old ways.
Luxury #3: Eating Out/Takeout
I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try a service like Plated orBlue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.
Luxury #4: Designer Coffee
And that latte you’re drinking. It’s ruining your down payment. Save the $1.80 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.
Luxury #5: Clothes Shopping
Shopping is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs check out Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar. And the best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for free on your account credits. And guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out: Rue La La, Bluefly, or Gilt.
As someone who recently bought a home, I discovered most of the above savings methods in the process of saving for my own down payment. I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though. Happy savings!
Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She's a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.