Skipping College & 9 Other Things We Did to Buy a House at 24
By Paula Rollo on August 25, 2014
We've been planning and preparing for this moment for years. Working hard, saving harder, and the day has finally come. We're able to move out of our third-story, two-bedroom apartment and into a home with enough rooms for each child to have one and a backyard where they can play.
The thing is, my husband and I got married when we were 18 and had two kids pretty much right away. Right now, we are only twenty-four years old, but we’re doing this. We’re buying a house with a good amount for a down payment and plans to pay it off completely as quickly as we can.
So how did we do this? Well, we did some crazy things; not all of these would work for every family, but this is what worked for us.
- We skipped college I’m not anti-college, but I also don't think it’s the right choice for every child. My husband and I both skipped it completely. This means we have no college loans to pay back, and we didn’t start our marriage already in debt. We both started in average jobs barely above minimum wage and worked up from there. Three years after we got married, I quit my job to stay home full-time with the kids, and we’ve lived entirely off of his income ever since.
- We worked hard (Like, crazy hard) This goes with the above. We worked really hard at our jobs. My husband went far above and beyond his job description, and it’s helped him to advance quicker than average at every job he’s ever had. He would put in extra hours for free to learn different aspects of the job and just to make himself more useful to the company. Though it doesn’t always pay off in the moment, hard work does pay off in the end as it has allowed it him to move ahead quickly!
- We lived beneath our means When one or both of us received a raise in pay, we did our best not to change the way we were living, at all. We continued to pinch pennies and be thrifty with our shopping, even when our income went up. This meant more money into savings each month as time went by. (We aim for a 10% of our monthly income into savings each month).
- I didn’t cut my hair This may sound silly, but it ended up saving us quite a bit! I prefer my hair to be very short, so even using a cheaper hairstylist, it was still costing too much. To maintain my short hairstyle, I have to get my hair cut every six weeks or so. I did the math and realized that was a minimum of $200 spent just on my hair every year. I made the choice to grow it out until we bought a house to save that bit of extra money.
- We carpooled We only have one car, so my husband rides to work with his mom most days. It saves us on gasoline and also means we don’t have to pay car insurance for a second car just yet. Next year, our car insurance rates will go down since we’ll finally be past that under25 mark, where they make you pay extra for insurance! Maybe we’ll get a second car then.
- We axed the TV We don’t have cable or satellite TV; in fact, we don’t own a television at all. Instead we use our laptops to watch movies and pay the $8 a month for a Hulu Plus subscription to keep up with all our favorite shows.
- We Consigned Clothes Kids grow ridiculously fast, so I made a habit of taking whatever they out grew to the consignment store. This is actually a decent bit of work, but it also meant that little bit of extra income, so I went ahead and did it. We also only purchased clothing for the kiddos from consignment stores. It’s amazing how much you can save on clothes if you simply refuse to pay full price!
- We Cloth Diapered I know this might seem extreme for some, and honestly I didn’t think I would like it. I had no choice BUT to cloth diaper when our son was born, because we simply didn’t have the money for disposable diapers. Turns out I loved cloth diapering and ended up preferring them! It saves you about $700 a year using cloth!
- We Saved Okay, I know that sounds obvious, but from the get-go we added saving into our budget. Ten percent of our income went to savings immediately after we received each paycheck. If we had leftover money at the end of the month, we put that straight into savings as well. Tax returns? Straight to savings. We pretty much avoided all “extras” and saved. I would see a cute $8 top at the store and think “do I want this more than a house?” and nine times out of 10 I’d put it back and transfer $8 to savings as if I had purchased it. Save, save, save!
- I started working from home Last year, I began to work from home as a professional blogger. I really wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to make, but since I was spending so much time on my blog anyway I figured it was worth trying. My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised at how much can be made blogging! I created a separate bank account for my blog and we put everything I earned (after taxes) towards the house. It was amazing what a difference just eight months of me working from home made! Since we were only saving about 10% of my husband’s income and saving 100% of mine (after taxes), it really pushed us over the edge and allowed us to get a house two years before we had thought we’d be able to make it work! More info on how to grow a blog to earn money check out this post!
Are you looking to buy a house (or pay one off)? What is your best tip for saving up for a big purchase like this? Have you tried any of my 10?
For more money saving tips check out How to save more money without going crazy and
Paula Rollo is a young wife, mother, author and professional blogger. Her passions include blogging, hot weather, watching her kids giggle and encouraging people. You can find more of Paula's writing on her blog Beauty Through Imperfection.com where she writes candidly about her life as a young wife/mama and strives to encourage others in their daily lives. She also runs a second site which she co-founded BloggingOnTheSide.com You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.