Buying a home can give you and your family stability and security and give you ownership of your future, if it is the right time for you.
Can you can make your housing loan payments and still afford your other living expenses? There are likely to be extra costs when you buy a home which could include land rates levied by local councils, strata fees, home and contents insurance and home maintenance.
Starting a savings plan and reducing your debts are good first steps towards being ready for home ownership.
Creating a budget is a great way to understand what money comes in, what you spend and how much you can save. You might find the following steps useful.
Step 1. Identify your after-tax monthly income. How much money comes into your household each month before you pay any bills? This amount will determine how much money you can spend each month.
Step 2. List your monthly commitments and expenses. What payments do you need to make on a regular basis, such as credit card, personal loan and child maintenance payments? Then list the extra items you spend money on each month. This list could include everyday costs such as rent, groceries, transport, insurance, medicine, haircuts, takeaway food and entertainment.
Step 3. Calculate the money left over after meeting your commitments and expenses (to do this, subtract the combined total of your commitments and expenses from your income). This will help you identify where you may need to make changes in your spending habits.
Step 4. Establish a savings plan. Decide on an amount of money that you can put aside each pay period. Make sure that the amount is realistic so you can stick with it over time.
Step 5. Try to follow your budget and savings plan. Don’t give up. Sticking to a savings plan and budget may not be easy at first, but it will get easier.
Reducing debt and money management tips
There are a number of ways to reduce debt and better manage your money.
- Consider making extra repayments on your credit cards and loans to pay off your debt faster and save money in interest payments. If you have more than one credit card or loan, it may be advantageous to pay off the one with the highest interest rate first.
- Look for easy ways to trim what you spend, such as taking your lunch to work, and cutting back on daily expenses such as buying coffee and snacks.
- Pay your bills on time to avoid costly interest charges and late fees.
- Wait 24 hours before making a major purchase; doing this will help avoid impulse buying.
- Pay your credit card balance off each month. If you use a credit card for your daily expenses, you could consider paying off the entire amount owing (or as much as possible) each month. By doing this, you can take advantage of any interest-free periods.
- Make money management a family affair – involve your partner/spouse and your children.