Although my husband and I have never earned more than $40,000 a year, it took us five years to save enough for a 20% down payment.

Although my husband and I have never earned more than $40,000 a year, it took us five years to save enough for a 20% down payment.
  • After five years of saving for a down payment, my husband and I were able to purchase a $200,000 house last summer.
  • It was tough to save money even though our annual family income was never more than $40,000.

After our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband and I bought a $200,000 four-bedroom house in Central Kansas. Although we only put down a 20% deposit, we still had enough left over to cover closing expenses, furnish our new home, and set aside money in case of an emergency. As a family, we’ve never made more than $40,000 in a year, earning as low as $25,000 at times. Despite this, we’ve been able to do this.

My husband and I started with very little money and a lot of time on our hands. It was during our first year of marriage that we spent part of our savings from painting homes to taking a road trip throughout the United States. A futon mattress on top of the rear seats of our Ford Focus wagon served as our “first home.”

We prioritized saving for a down payment on a property when we departed from our bohemian lifestyle. As a result of our low-paying hourly work, we honed our resourcefulness, frugalness, and adaptability. I want my tale to inspire anyone who wishes to attain a vital life goal by living below their means for some time. Despite this, the image painted by the story’s background is one of hopelessness.

People from Georgia in their 30s and 40s, some of whom are in financial difficulty, apply for loans to purchase a home. Remember that loans in Georgia can be very costly. Homeownership is becoming more out of reach for the young and working-class as property prices continue to rise at an alarming rate.

When it comes to owning a home, for us, a few years of hardship and almost-obsessive saving were worth it.

1. We deposited our cash in a savings account and attempted to reduce our expenditures as much as possible.

If you want to purchase a house, you must be doing it. We did all we could to save at least $500 each month in a high-yield savings account to keep up with inflation.

We saw it as a recurring expense akin to rent or other essential services that we owed to ourselves. So I could make money while caring for our kid while my husband worked various part-time jobs. With lower monthly rent, we, too, stayed in a shabby flat.

All of our recurring costs were slashed as much as possible. Thanks to WIC and other government assistance programs, my shopping price was significantly reduced. We’d put even more money away in savings if my husband had gotten a rise or if I’d been cautious with our food budget that month.

None of these things applied to us. I enrolled at a new school. At the park and the museum, we accompanied our young children. We also had our family camping trips. We’d eat out sometimes. We had money set aside for frivolity, saving for a house.

2. We worked through our money anxieties to limit our expenditures.

Young, working-class millennials will find the concept that they can buy a house if they quit eating avocado toast ridiculous. My experience has shown that even the most negligible costs may quickly build up and divert your resources away from more important endeavors.

Another way, while we were making a budget, we discovered that we were eating out twice a week. In the beginning, $20 per week each seemed like a lot, but if you add them together, it’s $40 per week, or at least $120 each month. More than two-thirds of our monthly savings target was used up in just one transaction.

Slash monthly subscriptions to various platforms and services, dinners out, and booze to realize you have more money than you anticipated.

A fundamental mathematical truth states that if you spend less, you will have more money in your bank account at the end of the day. When it comes to budgeting, taking a hard look at one’s finances may be scary and evoke feelings of guilt and embarrassment for those of us who grew up with less.

Admitting that we could save more and spend less made me feel like I was blaming myself for my financial woes in the past. Was it true that I had been squandering money if I discovered I could save it?

Thinking about the future, preparing, and sacrificing when an impulsive fast food lunch may better my life right now made me feel anxious. It required some courage and vulnerability to let go of my money hang-ups and concerns and take charge of my budget.

Following our financial commitment, we were confident that our family would be able to save aggressively and purchase a home within a few years. Magic, “one crazy trick,” hazardous investments, and cheques from a rich relative were not involved. Even when we didn’t make a lot of money, we spent less than we made.

3. We chose a low-cost area since we were sensible house searchers.

We chose a region of the nation where the cost of living was minimal. For us, the location of our family and the community in which we lived was more significant than the city itself.

We also looked at properties whose asking prices were far lower than our actual financial capacity. It enabled us to be more flexible and aggressive in our bidding for the home of our dreams.

No one is compelled to go through with it this way. You don’t have to put 20% down to purchase a property, but we saved money in the long run since we didn’t have to pay PMI. No need to even buy a home is required.

My grandmother lived in rental housing her whole life, yet she maintained a successful profession, an active social life, and a stylish wardrobe. She passed away peacefully in her leased townhouse, surrounded by loved ones. To be a “true adult,” you don’t need to own your own home, and if you prioritize your financial objectives differently from your family, you don’t have to feel guilty.

However, I appreciate that we’ve made a financial commitment to our family. The fact that I can paint the walls whenever I choose and that my kids can run around in the yard makes me happy. For us, it was critical to be prepared to live on a budget even tighter than we had previously set.

Brian L. Hartfield