Yes, we have a property crisis. But it's not impossible.

I bought my house in an expensive (but not London-crazy) part of the South East of England in 2014. It cost £225k and my boyfriend and I had a 15% deposit (So, 7.5% each). It took me 2.5 years to save my share. I saved. I worked - even when I was a student. And I have never owned a car. I have always been called 'tight' and a 'cheapskate'. But it pays off! Obviously I know this is an extreme plan (and probably doesn't work if you have kids) but if you want a deposit, you gotta earn it.

My 'modest' terrace was nearly a quarter of a million pounds :P
  1. Make a plan.
    The south is very expensive and it’s almost impossible to get an affordable mortgage on your own. I was lucky in that I was buying with my partner - but you can also buy with a friend, sibling, maybe even a parent. Owning half a house is a better step than paying someone else’s mortgage. Then work out what you want to buy, how much you’ll need to save (5%? 10% Remember, the higher your deposit, the less you pay on interest) and how quickly you want to save it. Get on the same page. Then, download an app like Fudget to really help to budget. 

  1. Get a job that pays - moderately well.
Sadly, this means sucking it up. No one REALLY wants to work in Sales or be Mortgage Broker or go into Marketing but it pays the bills. Being a failing freelance writer whilst working full time at Argos was far more demeaning than doing a 9-5. And stay out of London. What’s the point of a higher salary if you spend it all on travel or rent?
  1. Cut transport costs by moving.
Where is your (potentially, shiny new) job? Find cheap accommodation nearby. Walking or cycling distance, preferably, or a bus, or a short train ride, away. Sell your damn car - which apparently cost around £3,500 each year to run.  Cutting your commute gives you more time to cook, less time to buy those coffees… And more money to save.
  1. Reduce rent.
I was incredibly lucky - straight after graduation I moved into a £300ppm student house with five other friends. It was damp. It was grotty. It was cold. But it also meant my meagre £1,100 Argos paycheck didn’t get hit too hard. It also meant that when I got my ‘better job’ it left me with over a grand a month after bills. The easiest option is to move home (but please pay some rent, don’t be a freeloader). But moving into a shared house, negotiating with friends to move into a spare room, or ‘hutching up’ can all work. Just get a good deal.

Christmas Dinner in the grottiest house ever.
  1. Never buy anything…
That isn’t food, toiletries or cleaning products, anyway. No starbucks (SERIOUSLY, no take away coffee ever. I don’t care how much of a connoisseur you are. It costs 10p at home and you can carry a thermos about if you’re desperate for a fix). No new shoes. No ‘extra’ makeup. Stop buying useless nonsense. You don’t need anything right now, apart from a deposit. I checked my bank statement and discovered I spent over a grand on Amazon in a year. WHAT. Books, CDs, gifts… basically stuff I didn’t need. I stopped all that and I made a purchase when something needed replacing.
  1. ...Unless it’s going to create memories. Although, you can’t JUST stay in and watch Netflix for two years. Not without killing youself, anyway. Visit friends. Have a nice lunch with your partner. Go to a festival. Take a budget trip to Europe. But do these things infrequently. It’s a treat. Set a budget in Fudgetand stick to it. And I apply this to nights out, too. Two drinks, fine. Spend a tenner and get the last bus home. Don’t be a dick and spend £40 getting plastered and get a taxi. You won’t remember it.
    This long weekend in Berlin cost us around £300.
  1. Food shop smarter. I think I need to establish here that you don’t need to ‘meal plan’, or spend Sundays ‘prepping’. But you can pack lunch every day and if it’s a £3 tesco meal deal it’s still cheaper than your £6 splurge from Pret. And dinner is even easier; just find a few recipes you can bear to cook. Buy Value, Basics or Smart Price. Buy frozen vegetables. Reduce your meat consumption.
  1. Sort out your direct debits
Yup, it’s only £7, but do you really need NOW TV and Netflix? Deezer? A make-up delivery service? Nope. Stick to one music streaming service and one tv/film streaming service. Negotiate with your utility provider and consider switching. And DON'T get a new mobile! Smartphone contracts are available for as little as £11 a month. Do you NEED an iPhone? You can't live in it.

There you have it. Eight steps to save money. Now, go buy a house!

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