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5 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home

Saving for a home is no easy task when you're already stretched thin, but it is possible if you apply a few simple strategies all at once.

How long it takes you to amass enough for the down payment will depend on how aggressively you save and how much you need, but you can creep ever-so-closer to your goal the sooner you follow these steps:

1. Reduce your bills. Are you really using all of those $10 - $20 per month streaming subscriptions that are automatically deducted from your bank account? Cut some out and save. Also on the to-do list: Call and haggle with insurance carriers and cable providers to try to lower your bills. And in your daily life, be more mindful about grocery spending, learn energy-saving habits to trim utilities, and carpool to save on transportation.

2. Track spending to plug the income drain holes. Many people don't even know where their hard-earned dollars end up, so when you start tracking, you might be surprised at where you're spending money. Eating out, entertainment, and clothes/gear shopping are all areas you can likely cut back on. Take a close look at your expenditures to explore potential saving options.

3. Automate savings. If you pay yourself just as like you pay your electric bill, you won't use the money on other things. Have an automatic withdrawal taken from every paycheck into a separate savings account. Bonus tip: Don't link this account with your checking or ATM card, that way you're not tempted to draw from it.

4. Funnel anything extra into your house fund. Whether you pick up a side gig, sell old stuff, get a monetary gift for your birthday, earn cash back from credit card purchases, score a tax refund, or earn a work bonus, make it a rule to keep just a small percentage of windfalls for yourself and put the rest into your savings.

5. Commit all the way. Post up a photo of your dream home to keep you motivated along the way. You might have to skip a big vacation or other extras this year, but keep your eye on the prize.

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