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Home ownership is a dream for people across the globe. Many people save for years before buying their first homes, squirreling away every dollar they can with the hopes they can one day become homeowners.
But thanks to factors beyond their control, even the most devoted savers can sometimes feel like their dream of home ownership may never come true. According to the Pew Research Center, American workers' paychecks are larger than they were 40 years ago, but their purchasing power is essentially the same. Things aren't much different in Canada, where analysis from Statistics Canada and the Bank of Canada has shown that, since 2015, wage growth in Canada has been weaker than in the United States.
Some simple strategies can help prospective home buyers build their savings as they move closer to the day when they can call themselves "homeowners."
Determine where your money is going. If you're finding it hard to grow your savings, audit your monthly expenses to determine where your money is going. Using exclusively debit or credit cards can simplify this process, as all you need to do is log into your accounts and see how your money was spent over a given period. If you routinely use cash to pay for items, even just to buy coffee on the way to work, keep a notepad handy so you can jot down each expense. Do this for a month and then examine how you spent your money. Chances are you will see various ways to save, and you can then redirect that money into your savings account.
Become a more savvy grocery shopper. Another great way to save more money is to alter something you already do each month: grocery shopping. If you haven't already, sign up for discount clubs at your local grocer. This is a largely effortless way for shoppers, especially those buying food for families, to save considerable amounts of money. Shopping sales at competing grocery stores also can save money.
Dine in more often. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that Americans spend, on average, 6 percent of their household budgets on food. However, the USDA also notes that Americans spend 5 percent of their disposable income on dining out. If these figures mirror your spending habits, you can nearly cut your food spending in half by dining out less frequently. That might be a sacrifice for foodies, but it can get you that much closer to buying your own home.
Saving enough money to purchase your first home is a worthy effort that can be made easier by employing a few budget-friendly strategies.
Learn more about buying your first home.