Being a first time buyer in 2017 is hard, really god damn HARD. It’s something I felt was totally out of reach until around 18 months ago. For those of you that aren’t all that familiar with myself and my blog, a little backstory….I’m 25 years old, I graduated in 2015 with a first class degree in fashion marketing. I currently work in digital marketing with a whole range of clients, as well as running this blog which definitely feels like a second job. A very good one though! My partner is 28 and runs his own business CGF Painting (if you ever need painting in Cambs/Beds/Herts cough cough).
We always knew we wanted to be home owners, renting is ok but essentially you feel like you’re just paying someone else’s mortgage and we knew it was important for us that we got on the ladder as buyers. I don’t think it’s a necessity to own a house, especially if you’re someone who likes to jump around from place to place, in some ways I totally envy that! However, our jobs and situation at the moment means we’re not going to be moving to California any time soon (sobs) so we knew our goal was to save for a decent deposit. I don’t particularly enjoy talking money (totally a British thing) but with these topics I do think it’s interesting to hear other people’s stories. We set a goal of £30K between us as this would give us the sort of property we wanted.
It’s easier said that done being able to save for a house, and everyone’s situation is different. According to statistics from the Post Office 6 in 10 parents can afford to make a financial contribution to their child’s first home, with 5% being able to pay the full deposit. This is absolutely not the route we have gone down, or could have even gone down! Everything we have saved has been 100% off our own backs without any financial contribution from our parents, however we are in 61% that receive help from their rents in other ways. From letting us live at home to offering advice on mortgages and viewings, we definitely couldn’t have got here without this help. This isn’t really a ‘tips’ post as I know not everyone can move back home whilst saving or even have the spare cash to put by. We’re fortunate, but it has still taken us time to get to this position.
Living at Home
Around 18 months or so ago Charlie decided to take on another job, this was shift work and meant he could juggle his business with night shifts which was absolutely crazy and we barely got to see each other but we both were living at home so it meant he was able to save a salary and not have to pay any rent. Likewise, I paid ‘keep’ to my mum but nowhere near the cost of renting. Sure it’s not always cool to still be living at home in your mid-twenties but this didn’t bother me whatsoever plus being just me and my mum it’s more like living with a friend. Unfortunately this isn’t a possibility for everyone but if you can, then I say do it. It might be tough but if you’re desperate to get on the housing ladder sometimes it’s the only way.
Whilst Charlie was slaving away working all the hours under the sun, I decided I also needed to up my game in terms of additional income on top of my salary. At the time my blog was making a little money here and there but not a consistent flow nor enough to really up my savings each month. I started to get savvier, I signed up to various different influencer platforms, started seeking out more paid work and I’ve earnt over £2K just from downloading one app! This additional income has landed straight into my savings and it’s really helped to boost my finances. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still super selective as to who I work with on my blog and social platforms, but I’ve definitely started treating my blog more like a business which has helped to boost my income.
I also started taking on freelance writing work which has again given me an extra little pot of cash each month which goes straight into my savings. It isn’t all rosy though, I feel like I never stop, I work full time and then I get home and I’m working again. The weekend comes and I’m working again but I know it will all be worth it.
Monthly Savings Target
I’m no good with spreadsheets or any type of finances. I can’t even do my own tax return so I have an accountant who takes care of that purely as it would stress me out far too much. In terms of my monthly spending I’ve definitely cut down on Asos and Topshop binges, which is also why my blog took more of a focus on travel as I just wasn’t buying enough new items to keep up with the fashion game (but you can catch my outfits over on Instagram!). Blog earnings aside, I have a minimum savings target each month and I’ve stuck to this for a year now. As soon as payday hits the money goes straight into a savings account to avoid temptation.
Commuting Cost Free
If I were commuting into London every day I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t be able to save nearly as much due to the staggering cost of a railcard, I think it’s around £6K a year now. I work at a local digital agency and for just over a year I walked to work to save money on fuel each day. Now we’ve moved to a temporary location that’s a little more rural I’m having to use my car again but it definitely helped! If I could, I’d probably ditch my car altogether and it’s something I’m considering in the new year to ease my finances and also get me walking more which is only a good thing!
It’s terrible that 43% of millennial feel they’ll never be able to buy a house due to saving for a deposit. We’ve just been lucky, and we don’t live in London – having said that the South East is still very expensive and we could never afford a house in central Cambridge! There’s no doubt that without help from our parents, in ways that aren’t financial contributions we would have been able to save our deposit. I think more and more twenty and even thirty somethings will find themselves living at home until they can afford to buy their own place (and stop buying all those avocado toasts ey?) but it’s the new norm and I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of.
Whilst life would definitely have been easier if we were handed 30K on a plate, it simply wasn’t going to happen and it does make me feel proud that between us we grafted and have worked our butts off to save the money ourselves.
Here’s to 2018 and getting into our new place – our offer has been formally accepted and we’re currently in the process of purchasing so expect lots of home posts in future!
**Want to WIN 1 of 15 £1000 gratitude cheques? The Post Office are running an amazing competition where they’re giving away £1000 cheques to help you say thank you to your family! All you have to do is tweet or Facebook them how your parents helped you to get on the ladder before the 30th November! Find out more about the competition here and good luck! #GotOnTheLadder
Post in collaboration with the Post Office.