Coming towards the start of a new year, it may have prompted you to look at where you want to be, and maybe given you a little nudge to start looking at buying your first home. Or maybe you’ve started saving already but have hit a bit of a stumbling block and you’re struggling to find your motivation again. Saving for a house deposit is a huge step, and one that takes a lot of dedication, motivation and a little luck whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade your home. However, we’ve done our best to pull together some tips on how to get you to that deposit saving total. 

Make a plan

Sounds obvious? Sometimes it is easy to miss this crucial step in the excitement of saving, and a few months down the line it becomes harder to stay focused because you don't have a clear and realistic end goal.

Knowing the total required means you can work backwards and give yourself smaller goals to achieve along the way, as well as an idea of when you will be in a place to start looking for houses. What do you need to save, and how much can you afford from your income each month? You're going to save the most by putting a portion of your income straight into savings, this will be your main savings block. You can save other big chunks if you can change your living circumstances. If that’s not on the cards, you can top up your savings by cutting monthly payments, or the surprising saver can be cutting down on the everyday spending you don’t think about.

Having smaller goals with mini rewards can also help keep you motivated. Reached your first £1,000? Treat yourself to a takeaway coffee that you’d cut out. Reached £3,000? Maybe have a meal out. Resigning yourself to years of hard slog and saving without any reward along the way is just setting up to fail. Small, occasional rewards are a great way to mark the milestones of your saving journey. 

Living circumstances

If you’re in a position to change your living situation or ask for help from family, this is going to be the quickest way to save money. Being able to save money on rent is going to allow you to save the biggest chunks each month, and get you to your savings total sooner. 

However, if you’ve ended up here, chances are you’re looking for other solutions than to ‘move back home’.

Make the bank your best bud

Most of us do our banking online now, and have little interaction with actual humans who work there, but they can be a massive help when you are trying to navigate the journey to your savings total. Making an appointment at your bank to speak to an adviser will show you all the options to make saving a little easier. 

First of all, talk about setting up a standing order to your savings account. This will automatically move your agreed saving amount over to the safety of your savings without you having to lift a finger. Having this in place reduces the chance of you spending it without thinking.

Speak to your bank about high interest savings accounts, and cashback cards. These will only bring you a little extra cash each month, but it all adds up over time, and means you get a little something extra for your normal day-to-day routine. 

Ask your bank what other tools they have available to you as a first-time buyer. There are lots of initiatives to help you on the property ladder and your bank may be able to point you in the best direction. 

Get some money back

As mentioned, cashback debit or credit cards can earn a little money every time you spend. If you’re changing your card directly at the bank you will know it’s safe/secure and your money should already be accessible in your online banking. 

You can also look at loyalty cards (like your Tesco Clubcard) where you can get money off the essentials in the future, or you can bump up the value in vouchers to go towards other things you would usually spend your extra cash on. 

Save money monthly

Once you’ve got your main savings in place, you can look at reducing monthly outgoings such as bills and shopping. 

This isn’t always possible, but even saving a tenner off a monthly bill for a year can really add up. Consider looking at your phone bill (maybe shop sim only deals, or an older model of phone), your car insurance and any streaming services you have. These are all quick wins and by spending a bit of time shopping around, you can trim down monthly expenses. 

If you are renting, (and are able to change your utility providers) then looking at energy bills, internet etc. could also save you a bit of money each month. 

Timing can really matter with finding the best deal. Don’t leave things to the last minute, just before the contract is about to renew. Set a reminder for yourself, and have a shop around a few weeks before the end date.

Just be sure to add the amount you are saving (say £30 a month) on to your standing order amount. Once the shopping around for a better deal is done, and you’ve changed your standing order amount, you don’t need to think about it again.

Narrow down the niceties 

Then we’re on to everyday spending. The bit where there is a lot of advice, but it’s really down to your lifestyle. Whether that is lunches out, coffees, takeaways, drinks down the pub, days out, extra clothes, all the bits where you want to say ‘treat yourself’. 

It is not a case of cutting every single one of these out immediately. If you do, this will likely be a quick route to saving failure. Start by narrowing these down. Cut out one thing, or reduce a couple of things. For example, cut out your daily take away coffee, you’re only missing one thing, but you could be saving almost £900 a year. If you also buy a meal deal each day, cutting that could save you almost £800. So though it may seem daunting, swapping over to a flask of coffee and a packed lunch could put an extra £1,700 in your pocket. 

Start to swap these niceties as savings rewards and then you can still enjoy the nice bits occasionally whilst making good progress to your goal. 

Stash any extra cash

Once you’ve got your monthly savings and narrowed down the niceties, you’re looking at any added extras that can supplement your savings total. You can’t necessarily pre-plan these, but you can take opportunities as they come. Say birthday or Christmas money, or maybe you get a tax rebate you weren’t expecting?

Having a good old clear out and selling some bits online or at a car boot can bring in some bits of extra cash to stash away. It also has the added bonus of getting rid of unneeded or unwanted items before you have to pack to move. 

If you’ve got a side hustle then this could bring in some extra money, but make sure you’ve sorted everything with the tax man! 

Final tips

Every person saves differently but our final tips would be:

  • Set a goal and budget, and stick to it. Even if this means taking out the exact cash you need for each thing and hiding your card away on those occasions you know you are likely to overspend. 
  • Make small allowances. Going cold turkey on everything is not going to leave you feeling very happy or excited. Make small allowances to keep you motivated.
  • Be kind to yourself. Saving takes time, there are a lot of obstacles and you won’t always have a perfect month, but keep going and you will get there.