My wife and I bought our first house at 27. I was (am) an entrepreneur with a new company and she was a dance teacher. Needless to say, we weren’t swimming in extra cash. However, with a little bit of discipline and a lot of patience, we were able to build our first home within a year. Here’s how we did it.
Getting Real with Money (and Our Spending)
One of the cool things about our marriage is that we greet each challenge as a team. With one big goal in mind, we set off to stop renting and buy our first home. We had no idea that we would end up building a 2,600 sqft home in Atlanta.
Here’s how we increased our savings and our earnings:
- We built a budget with all of our expenses in a Google Sheet (or Excel).
- Based off of our budget, we adjusted how we spent money (don’t skip reading this part – it can be fun).
- I side hustled for extra money so that we could become aggressive with our savings.
1. Getting Your Budget Ready
Unfortunately, organization isn’t a discipline that comes easy to me. Fortunately, my wife loves it! When we decided to sit down and get ready to save for a home, a budget was obviously the first place we needed to start. We started here so that we could get a handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out from our family bank account.
We used Google Sheets (Google’s version of Excel) to host our budget. It made sense for us because we were both digitally inclined and it provided us both with access to keep track of our budget. The other great thing about the Internet era is that we found our template online.
There are quite a few Google Sheets Budget Templates to choose from. Need one? I Googled it for you!
2. Cutting Expenses Wisely Doesn’t Have to Be Painful
When we were younger, our schedules were completely opposite, so things like date nights were a big deal. We adjusted our budget to maintain quality time together, which was essential to hitting our goals. Plus, if our budget was making us miserable, we would be more likely to cheat on it and fail.
First, we took a look at how we were spending money and how we could make wiser decisions. Here’s what we tackled first:
- We focused on cooking at home. This easy adjustment saved us around $100/week between the two of us, plus we both lost weight.
- We cut cable. Back then, this was a little more painful because live TV options didn’t exist. Now you can survive on an Internet connection and HULU streaming (or Sling TV).
- Date nights became a little more creative. With a $5 bottle of wine and a quick trip to the Whole Foods hot bar, we enjoyed date picnics for $25.
We still had fun, we still ate awesome food, and we still enjoyed time together. These little budget modifications helped us save hundreds each month.
3. The Side Hustle
Starting a business can be a slow grind, especially if you’re focussed on growth. While I truly believe that owning your own business is the best pathway to financial freedom, it’s not the only and it certainly isn’t the easiest. In order for us to hit our real estate dreams, we needed to increase our monthly income.
Enter the side hustle.
Saving more becomes significantly easier if you’re bringing in more income. Psychologically, it helped us feel like we were saving more based on the expense cuts we had made. If we had only saved $500 or $800 a month based on expense savings, that would have been great. With the side hustles, we bumped those savings to $2500-$3000 a month.
The side hustles helped us achieve our goals significantly faster, and it even provided us with some buffer room during the holidays.
Can You Hit Your Savings Goals
With discipline, a little creativity, and a willingness to stretch yourself, you can definitely hit your savings goals. Whether you want to buy a house, save for college, or pay off debt, you can make it happen.
Share your savings story and inspire others in the comments below!