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I’m passionate about helping people become home owners. There are few things as exciting and financially rewarding as owning your own place, but as the real estate market has heated up here big time in London, it has become increasingly challenging to get into the market.

Once your foot is in the door, though, you’re going to be so proud of all the efforts that you’ve made to get there. That’s why I’ve compiled a few tips to help make the process easier—and faster—to save for that down payment, and get into the home of your dreams sooner.

1. Take Your Gym Outdoors

I’m all about making time to go to the gym, so I know this isn’t going to work for everyone, but the sad truth is that a gym membership can cost a pretty penny. If you can trade the gym for hikes outside, free tennis courts, and a couple of workout DVDs during the winter, this will save you at least $500/year if you’re at one of the more expensive gyms around town.

If you just can’t give up the gym, I totally get it, but downgrading your membership or going with a $10/month gym might still be doable for some serious savings…at least until you get into that new home!

2. Postpone that Vacation or Big Adventure

We all need a bit of R&R, but finding a way to do it on the cheap—or postpone your vacation until you get the keys to your new home—will provide you with a large chunk of change to add to your down payment. If you really need to get away, try AirBnb or driving to a more local destination or going camping for a more cost-friendly alternative.

3. Get Serious about Those Monthly Costs

Comb through your credit card bill for those seemingly-small monthly charges, which add up big. Sure Spotify might only cost you, like, $10 a month, but over a year, that’s a whopping $120.

Multiply your monthly cost by 12 and ask yourself if that service is really worth it. See what you can do without and what monthly memberships you can downgrade.

4. Use the Library

It’s so easy to buy music or show or your favourite show on itunes or a book on amazon, but truth be told, you can have access to most of that for free from your local library. Bonus: the library also holds a number of talks, workshops, movie nights, and concerts for free!

5. Gifts for Holidays & Birthdays & Baby Showers & Weddings & the list goes on…

Having a social network is really important, but it can come with a big price tag. If you’re the type of person who loves to show how much you care about your friends & family by providing them with nice gifts, this might be the time to rethink that…just for the time being.

Think about how many gifts you will have to buy over the next year and set a strict limit for each present, adding up the entire cost for the year for gifts. This way, you know in advance what you can spend and it will prevent you from going over. Look for ways to save on each present—shopping at a discount location or purchasing only one gift rather than a few—and consider gifting experiences or making something for them instead. Most people are really understanding if you say that you are saving up for a down payment and will recognize that your friendship is much more valuable than an expensive present.

6. Say No

That trip to Canada's Wonderland? Or that weekend away with your girlfriends? That sports event or great concert? Right now, it’s got to be all about priorities. Thing about it: would you rather one night of fun or a lifetime of financial security and a roof over your head that you can call your own. Say no now, and watch the savings roll in. Good friends will recognize that this is only for the time being, and will be happy watching a movie at your place or doing a free outing instead, for the time being.

7. Make a Bit of Extra Money

Do you have a special skill that can bring in a bit of cash? Have you always wanted to start a little side business? Now is the time! Whether you choose to walk a few dogs after work, babysit on weekends, take photos of your friends’ kids or teach musical lessons or skiing or sell your homemade baking, adding an extra source of income, however small, will make your savings grow a lot faster.

There you go! Hopefully these will help you reach your goals even faster! The effort will pay off big time in the long run, I promise.

Feel free to check out more savings tips here and feel free to contact me anytime you have any questions. I can refer you to great mortgage brokers and I’m here to help you make your dreams a reality!

Thanks for reading!

Melanie Pearce

Your London, Ontario Real Estate Agent

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