By Stacey Lykins
You can make the next 12 months the year of the down payment.
It’s easy. Cut a few things from your budget in the next year and you can have the down payment for your dream house by next summer.
We are in a rising interest rate environment, so every year you wait will cost you more in interest and push the dream out even further. So get started now.
Skip the Starbucks. Annual savings: $876. A medium latte at Starbucks costs $3.65. If you stop by every day before work, that adds up quickly. So, make coffee at home, stop by Circle K or have free coffee at work.
Cut the gym membership. Annual savings: $696. The average monthly cost of a gym membership is $58 a month, or $696 a year, and that is assuming you are already a member and not paying startup fees. We live in Ahwatukee, so get out and run, hike, walk or ride a bike.
Cancel cable. Annual savings: $1,189. Cable gets more expensive every year. Last year, cable customers paid an average of $99.10 a month or $1,189.20 for the year, according to the Leichtman Research Group. If you drop cable in favor of, say, Netflix at $7.99 per month, you’ll save $91.11 per month or $1,093.32 for the year and get commercial-free original shows.
Cancel a streaming service. Annual savings: Nearly $100. You do not really need to subscribe to all the streaming channels at the same time. If you have Netfix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, you’re paying roughly $25 a month. If you drop Amazon Prime, you could save $99 a year. If you drop Hulu or Netflix, you could save $95.88 a year.
Review cell phone service. Annual savings: Up to $300 per year. Take a look at all your cell phone options and services you are paying for on a monthly basis. When you sign up for your cell phone service, normally you get some free or trial services. Once these trials run out, you are charged whether you use the services or not.
Pack your lunch. Annual savings: $1,714. Taking a sack lunch to work adds up quickly when you are trying to save money. The average daily cost for the American worker who bought lunch from a restaurant was $11.14, according to Statista. That amount adds up to about $56 a week, or $2,674 a year. If you can make a sack lunch for $4 a day, you will spend about $20 a week, $80 a month, or $960 a year, which is an annual savings of about $1,714.
Cut alcohol. Annual savings: $3,168. If you drink socially on a regular basis, you may not realize how much those $10 cocktails add up to annually. Say you go out three times a week and have two glasses of wine at $10 each plus the standard $1 tip per drink. That adds up to $66 a week, $264 a month and $3,168 a year.
Quit the dry cleaner. Annual savings: $1,354. A survey by Consumers’ Checkbook determined the average price of laundering a men’s dress shirt was $1.87, laundering men’s khaki slacks was $5.57, and dry-cleaning a two-piece suit was $11.13. So, if you take in two pairs of slacks ($11.14), five shirts ($9.35) and a suit every week, you’ll pay about $31.63 a week before taxes, which can add up to about $1,645 a year.
Based on those numbers, if you wash your own slacks and shirts and reduce by half the number of times you have your suit dry cleaned, you could save up to $1,354 a year.
When you take a look at all these optional monthly expenditures, isn’t a house worth the sacrifice? In a short period of time, you could be a homeowner. The long-term benefits of owning a home surely outweigh some short-term sacrifice.