Saving for a house is hard. And if you’re a first-time buyer, it can feel like a never-ending uphill struggle. There are, of course, a number of conventional ways to save for a deposit. But sometimes, saving just that little bit more needs some outside-the-box thinking. So, don’t despair over your deposit; here are a few extra ideas to help boost your bank balance.
1. Ditch the rent and house sit
You don’t need to pay rent to live in a nice place. And no – that doesn’t mean squatting. In most cases, house sitting means looking after someone else’s home while they’re on holiday which may also involve looking after pets.
If you’re thinking this is only a one-off once in a blue moon type of gig, then think again. Testimonials on some sites show that serial sitters can be fully booked for 11 months of the year – slashing their own rent costs. One couple even managed to save a staggering £12,000 simply by house sitting over two years.
You can specify the areas in which you want to stay too, so it shouldn’t interfere with work commitments. If you fancy saving for a house by house sitting someone else’s, take a look at: Trusted Housesitters, House Sitters UK, and Mind a Home. Bear in mind that it’s highly likely you’ll have to undergo a background check before you start.
2. Become a property guardian
If you don’t like the idea of staying in other people’s houses, property guardianship is another rent saving option worth considering. In exchange for up to 60% off typical accommodation costs, you’ll be expected to live in an empty property with the primary aim of keeping it secure.
To be a property guardian, you’ll usually be expected to be in full-time employment. You should also expect there to be some element of communal living. Flexibility is important too, as landlords are only required to give you 28 days notice to leave, although this can vary on a property to property basis.
It’s worth knowing that while some properties will be flats or houses, some will be offices or public buildings. If you’d like to find out more, try exploring sites like Global Guardians and VPS Guardians.
It’s important to point out that while property guardianship is completely legit, it’s not a scheme that the government endorses. You can find a fact sheet about what to consider, the risks and your rights at GOV.UK.
3. Move back home
Moving back home with mum or dad might feel like you’re taking a step back from adulthood. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it can help you slash costs and save fast.
Not only can you save on full rent rates, you could also reduce what you spend on other typical living expenses, like food and utilities. And if you’re worried about being treated like a kid again, why not set a few ground rules so you all feel comfortable with being under the same roof again for a while?
4. Downsize your current home
If it’s not practical or you simply can’t bear the thought of moving back home, consider downsizing instead. If you’re a couple renting a two or three-bed house, do you really need the extra bedrooms? While it’s always nice to have somewhere for friends to stay, it’s also a luxury and a drain on your finances. Simply making the move to a smaller place could help you make significant savings.
Alternatively, if you live alone, a flat share might be worth considering. Doing so for even12 months could help you stash the cash and give you the push you need to realise your dreams of home ownership.
5. Earn more with a side job
OK – so taking a second job to save for a house isn’t necessarily that unconventional. But, modern moonlighting doesn’t have to mean taking on anything regular or mundane. Thanks to sites like Task Rabbit, you can find local odd jobs that you’re good at and want to do. For instance, you could be paid to assemble flat pack furniture, move some heavy boxes or even plant flowers.
The site essentially matches the person advertising work to local Taskers in their area. You can sign up for ad hoc jobs and discuss terms with the advertiser, so the work can fit around existing commitments. All communication and payment is done online. If you do want to set yourself up as a Tasker, you should expect to be background and ID checked.
Make your savings work
Saving for a house doesn’t happen overnight. And while these unconventional ways to save and earn will help you put more aside, your efforts don’t have to end there. To make your money earn its keep, check out the best savings accounts of 2020 or these best fixed rate cash ISAs.
If you’re looking for more ways to make your money work for you, why not sign up for MyWalletHero’s email newsletter? You’ll receive our team’s top money-saving tips, lifestyle hacks and handy personal finance ‘must-knows’ – delivered straight to your inbox…
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