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Jan 2024

12 Months of Saving for a New Home




How to kick off your saving journey


Simple saving techniques you can do today


Budgeting hacks no one is talking about




How to kick off your saving journey


Simple saving techniques you can do today


Budgeting hacks no one is talking about

So, you want to buy your first (or next) home in the near future. Sure, it’ll take a serious chunk of change, but you're ready to leave renting and starter homes in the dust. And that $400,000 three-bedroom, two-bath Colonial is just calling your name. 

Wait, how much did it cost? 

Unfortunately, accumulating a Scrooge-McDuck-esque gold vault won't happen overnight. It’ll take some serious budgeting before you can do the backstroke inside your savings account. But if you’re committed to purchasing a home soon, there are a few money-saving techniques you can do all year that’ll get you closer to homeownership. 

Try these monthly saving techniques below and watch your funds grow!  

January: New Year, New Budget 

Kick off the year and your “saving for a dream home” journey by creating or adjusting your monthly budget. If you’re starting from scratch, start by writing down the income you bring in monthly. Whether it’s your profession or side hustle, jot the number down. 

Next, record your monthly expenses: rent, car payments, electric bills, and entertainment, to name a few. Now, subtract your expenses from your income. There’s your rough estimate of how much money you could set aside monthly for your future down payment.

Of course, that number can grow. It’ll take a bit of extra work on your part, but don’t fret! We’ve got more tips on how you can budget for a mortgage in the Knowledge Center.

February: Break Up with Your Debts 

Love may be in the air this February, but nobody we know of loves having debt. Take this month to reassess your outstanding debts and minimize them (as much as you can). 

Maybe you’ve missed a few credit card payments, or your student loans are piling up. Whatever the case is, try using some of the leftover money from your new budget to pay down a few of those debts. Paying more than the minimum due and paying off your most expensive loans first are great ways to reduce debt fast.  

Expert Tip

You don’t need to be debt-free to qualify for a mortgage. Generally, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)The percentage of your gross monthly income that is used to pay your monthly debt and determines your borrowing risk.debt-to-income ratio (DTI)The percentage of your gross monthly income that is used to pay your monthly debt and determines your borrowing risk. should be 43% or less to get your mortgage approved.

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March: Cancel One Streaming Service 

March means awards season. Roll out the red carpet and dress to the nines because it’s time to cancel a streaming service. 

Chances are, there’s a subscription you haven’t used in ages. We like niche British baking shows as much as the next mortgage lender blog, but come on. Is the extra line on your billing statement really worth it? 

That’s up to you to decide, but canceling streaming services you don’t (and won’t) use is a quick and easy way to save a few bucks each month. Those extra dollars saved will start to pile up in the long run.  

April: Cut Down on Disposable Items 

April’s showers aren’t very fun, but you know what is? Saving money each month by cutting back on the purchase of disposable items. Well, fun once you’re handed the keys to your new castle. 

Embrace the eco-friendly lifestyle in small ways, like using cotton towels and ceramic dishes instead of paper towels and plates. Buy a water-purifying filter pitcher to eliminate plastic water bottles. The savings will be gradual but apparent. Plus, you’ll be doing a solid for Mother Nature, so it’s a win-win.  

May: Set Aside Your Tax Refund 

May’s flowers are blooming, and so might your bank account with the deposit of a tax refund. Putting the refund toward a shopping spree or trip to Bora Bora might seem tempting, but it could also be the exact nest egg you need right now.  

A tax refund can immediately go into your down payment savings fund or – if you’re a current homeowner – staging your home for a quick sale.  

Expert Tip

Feeling inspired to use your tax refund on a new home this year? We hope so! There are so many ways your refund can accelerate your homebuying process.

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June: Try Cooking at Home 

June marks the long-awaited return of grilling season. It’s time, once again, to put on your “Grill Sergeant” apron, throw some shrimp on the barbie, and save money. 

If you have the means to grill, smoke, fry, or simply bake meals at home instead of dining out, try it for a few weeks. Like canceling one streaming service, choosing a homemade meal over a trip to the local diner once a week will snowball into more savings for your upcoming home purchase.   

July: Meet with a Lender 

Funnily enough, July may not be the best time to embrace independence when you’re saving for your dream home. Meet with your local lender to evaluate your finances (credit, income, assets, etc.) and discuss your homebuying options. At Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group®, consultations are free and encouraged.

And if this is your first rodeo, we’ll look at first-time buyer programs that could help you make your first down payment with ease. Our doors are open before, during, after the loan process, so don’t be a stranger! 

August: Invest in a Coffee Maker 

Did you know that August is National Coffee Month? The coffee fanatics amongst us probably do. This month's saving tip is all about embracing the DIY coffee experience. Swap those pricey coffee shop runs for the comfort of your kitchen and invest in an at-home coffee maker. Not only will you wake up to the tantalizing scent of freshly brewed coffee every morning, but you'll also be saving a latte money in the process (we’ll see ourselves out now).  

September: Buy in Bulk  

Colder weather is coming. We’re not going to say, "winter is coming,” but... 

Overused dad jokes aside, store up this September and buy in bulk. That way, you won’t have to make weekly trips to the grocery or convenience store. 

Picture this: a pantry stocked with essentials that not only guarantees you won't run out of your favorite snacks, but also helps you cut down on those weekly grocery bills (and gas money). 

October: Set Up Automatic Saving 

At this point, your homebuying plans are pretty serious. Don’t get spooked now! Set up an automatic saving plan with your bank. 

Most banks offer a pain-free feature to assign a fixed amount from your paycheck to go directly into your savings with no additional action required. You can take your saving a step further by putting your down payment funds into a high-yield savings or money market account to earn extra interest if you’re making deposits for a long time. Remember to read the terms and conditions of your new account before applying. 

November: Cut Down Your Utility Bills 

Save money by saving energy. Cutting down your utility bills is one of, if not the, hardest things to accomplish when budgeting. But this November, you’ll be thankful you did. 

First things first, you don’t have to power through the winter months without heating your current place. Fortunately, there are other ways to save. 

For example, you could switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs or LED lighting that use 90% less energy than standard bulbs to help reduce your electric bill. Or you could install a programmable thermostat to control a room’s temperature when it’s not occupied.  

December: Get Creative with Gift Giving 

Happy holidays! That new home is within reach. Close out your year of saving by getting a little creative with your gift-giving. You don’t always have to break the bank to show someone you care. A self-care bag filled with bath salts, essential oils, and candles is something anyone would appreciate. Or, for a more sentimental option, fill up a scrapbook or collage with family photos of all the unforgettable memories you’ve shared with your loved ones over the years.  

Feeling adventurous this giving season? You could try your hand at DIY gifts like baked goods or a special ornament.

Time to Buy? 

Phew. That was a lot of ways to save, huh? Well, now the fun starts. Test out these different techniques throughout the year to get yourself mortgage-ready. And remember, our team will always be here for you! When you’re all set to buy your first or next home, Atlantic Bay will “save” you stress when financing that new home!