This is a guest post from Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget. She writes about managing finances, being a newlywed, and frugal living.
I am currently 27 and live in a shack with my husband of a year and a half. We have paid off credit card debt, paid off our car loan, have survived living on one income for four months, and are planning on starting 2012 with a bang to save up for a house down payment.
We hope to own a home in five years. This is our plan.
1. Pay off remaining $2,000 credit card debt.
We paid off our car last month, which brought down our total debt down to a $2,000 credit card, and a little under $20,000 left in student loans. We plan on paying off the card within the first few months of 2012 (which is currently at 0% interest until April 2012). We will continue to tackle the student loans by increasing our payments.
2. Save, save, save
This past year, with both of us working, we were able to save $8,000 in eight months as a back-up/survival fund for when my husband would stop working for four months to enter the fire academy full-time. Now that he is going to start working again at the end of December and we’ve managed to live fine off my income, we hope to save all of his income for as long as possible.
When we found out that Eric wouldn’t be working for four months, we downsized from a one-bedroom apartment to a guesthouse/loft in someone’s backyard. It’s not the ideal living space, but it’s managed to save us a ton of money (and probably is the reason we were able to stay afloat these past four months on one income). I think we’ve paid our dues though–and while we would love to continue saving a ton of money, the reality is that our sanity is more important. And so is a nicer place. I’m thinking one with a dishwasher, a bedroom door, and heating that doesn’t come out of a portable heater? Is that too much to ask?
4. Get a raise, contribute toward down payment
Within the next five years, I definitely plan on getting a promotion with a substantial raise at work. We will probably increase our means of living a bit with this new raise, but I also hope we can contribute a good chunk to our down payment. I know my husband expects to be hired as a full-time firefighter within the next five years as well (it’s tough competition for firefighter positions in southern California), and that will increase our income substantially.
5. Still manage to have fun
I want to own our own home. I still plan on living frugally. But I don’t want to forget to have fun, and that includes traveling. I want to travel as much as possible before we have kids. And even though we’ve been married a year and a half and we still haven’t gone on our honeymoon, we will one day. I also want to go to Europe. I want to try and fund our travels through a separate “extra” fund. Meaning, any extra income we earn that doesn’t come from our immediate income, such as mileage reimbursement checks from work, mystery shopping money, blog advertising, and tax returns.
What are your steps to buying a home? Any tips for us?
*Little House says: This is an awesome plan. I really like how you downsized when your income situation changed. I think people can learn from this. Thanks so much for sharing!