Nobody really likes to rent, but unfortunately everyone has to pay their dues, which means biting the bullet and handing over a tidy sum of cash to a landlord once a month whilst also somehow saving money for a deposit on a home that you eventually want to move in.
Unless you’re paid a handsome sum of money, or are particularly good at sticking within a low living budget it can be difficult to get this deposit saved up, which is why so many people find themselves stuck renting for years on end.
I was lucky enough to not get stuck saving for years on end as I moved to the North of England for University. Although it was a bit of a challenge for me to get used to the bitterly cold winters as a student, the bonus of settling in the North was that rent and house prices were significantly cheaper than down South. When I graduated and found myself a half-decent job, I was able to start focusing on saving money, although this proved to be a little more tricky than I’d thought it would be.
The problem with living as a young professional in a bustling city is that there is temptation absolutely everywhere. There are pubs and bars open throughout the week, offering tempting sojourns for men and women looking to blow off steam. A string of concerts and gigs are always on offer to music lovers, and then there’s the cinema for those looking to lose themselves in film for an evening. When you’re working full-time in a stressful environment, it’s only natural to want to be able to enjoy yourself in your spare time, but the most common ways of doing this inevitably involve spending money.
My first major step towards saving the money that I needed to put my deposit down was to fundamentally change the way that I spent my spare time. Since moving away from the South I had unknowingly developed a string of habits that were not only bad for my health, but also cost me a fortune. I had never considered that my weekly pack of cigarettes, or my regular visits to the pub would be costing me so much, they were so ingrained into my day-to-day routine that they were automatic spends – a self-imposed tax that I had come to accept.
Saying ‘no’ to pub trips and resisting the temptation to pick up a pack of fags on a Friday were my first real challenges, which were made twice as difficult when I had to deal with the biological withdrawal from these substances. I was crabby for weeks, easily distracted and sorely tempted to ditch in all of my efforts and head to the pub. However, after a month, something incredible happened: I saved money! When I spotted an extra £250 in my bank account at the end of the month, I realised that by making a few more changes to my lifestyle I could save even more money and be that much closer to buying my very first home…