|Image credit - Christoper Harris on Unsplash|
I have always been one of those 'live for the moment' kind of people who has never given too much thought into the future and impulsively spends like the shops are all going to suddenly close tomorrow. Looking for a mortgage was the last thing on my mind this time a few months ago, but overnight everything changed.
My landlord came over to fix our faulty boiler and suddenly blurted out:"I'm thinking of selling this house." My husband and I have been happily living in our rented house for nearly five years and naively never thought about what would happen if our landlord tried to sell. This house we are living in is far from perfect, but we have made it our home. In those few moments while we talked hypothetically about the house being sold it felt like my security blanket had been whipped away from me and like gravity had pulled me straight down to earth with a thud. If my mind wasn't in overdrive enough, my landlord then said asked us how we would feel about buying the house as he isn't looking to sell it until the mortgage finishes which is in just over a year. It was the first time I had ever thought about owning a house - in my own little dream world I was thinking that somehow I would go travelling and ending up renting somewhere on a beach and drinking cocktails all day, which in reality would probably never happen.
Once he had left, my husband and I had serious talks, going around in circles and thinking about every possible outcome before finally deciding, let's do this. We're not getting any younger and being sprung into that situation has made us realise that we want stability - we can travel the world, but it would be nice to have somewhere to call home to come back to. Topping up our savings enough for a house deposit in one year is going to be difficult, but the reality shock we had a few months ago has given us the drive we finally needed to get something in place. In the few months I have been saving, here's what I have learnt so far:
Quitting shopping isn't actually that hard
I admit, I've always been a shopaholic and at one point I couldn't go a week without buying new clothes, sometimes spending up to £100 or more within a 7 day period. I was living way beyond my means and I had more clothes than I needed - many of which until recently were still in my wardrobe with tags on, but thanks to eBay I have managed to recoup some of the money back. At first it was hard to curb my clothes spending, but after awhile I realised that once you get yourself into the mindset that you don't actually need surplus items, you can very easily stop with a little bit of willpower. Stopping buying new clothes and makeup has made me look deeper into my wardrobe and wear things that I have been neglecting for no reason and my beauty products are going down rather than being hoarded in the corner of my bedroom, much to my husbands delight.
Looking for bargains can be fun
Since cutting down on spending, I have actually realised that looking for bargains can be fun. I used to always pay full price and never shop around, but now that money is tighter I'm spending a lot more time researching things on the internet, going into charity shops and using shopping apps to save me money. I now get a thrill of finding something at less than 50% RRP or going into a charity shop and coming away with a designer label jumper for a fraction of the price. I have also hit eBay quite hard and bought a beautiful 1970s tea dress for £3.50.
It's fun taking on new side hustles
To help my husband and I get nearer our deposit target, I've been spending a lot of time trying to think of more ways to make more money on the side and I'm really enjoying my new side hustles. I'm already registered as self employed for my blog, so I'm now in the process of opening up my own eBay store as well as taking on more freelance writing. I have also spent time filling in surveys, and signing up to mystery shopping and dining websites.
Friends will understand if you need to save
I always suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and I hate saying no to my friends or colleagues when it comes to going out for meals, but when I have told them that I am saving up for a mortgage they have been really understanding. Just be honest with your friends and if you can't afford a meal, think of other creative ways to spend time with them whether it is going for a walk or inviting them around for a home cooked meal which would be a lot cheaper than dining out.
Watching your savings going up is a good feeling
I always enjoyed spending money much more than saving, but seeing my savings account looking healthier day by day is a rewarding feeling. It's great to see all my hard work pay off and see the cash in the bank rather than in my wardrobe.
Have you ever saved for a mortgage?