The path to homeownership requires discipline and diligence in planning and preparation. Most prospective buyers are not in a position to purchase their own home on a whim with cash on hand. Only after years of saving, paying off debt, and stewarding finances is it possible to begin that process.
Creating a budget for home is the most effective way to begin investing in your future. Figuring out a system of tracking income and expenditures is the first step to knowing where your money is going. From there, it is easier to decide how to utilize your money and begin saving for the future. Whether you install an app or create a spreadsheet, it is important to find a method that you are comfortable with and willing to maintain.
Figure out your net income and spending for each month. Which expenses are recurring? Which ones are not? Creating some cushion in your budget will allow for some of the unexpected expenses that come up any given month. Gathering information and putting it all in one place helps you visualize the current status of your finances and where it is all going. From there you can determine how much you have to budget and where the majority of it needs to go.
Prioritize the most import categories, such as groceries, rent, utilities, and transportation. It helps to simplify and keep the main thing the main thing. These are the things you need to live day to day, so once you budget toward those, you can move forward from there and work down the list of other expenses.
Track your progress. Once you have set up a system for taking an honest look at your finances and what they are going toward, you will be able to notice where you need to make necessary adjustments. It might even fluctuate month to month depending on the circumstances. Do not be discouraged by having to make those adjustments. The budget is merely a tool for creating healthy boundaries that will inevitably lead to more financial freedom down the road—it is not a rigid system to dictate your life.
That being said, after watching your finances, it may become necessary to curb your spending. To get ahead and reach your financial goals, sometimes you may have to go without. Once you have tracked your expenses and decided what to prioritize, it may be necessary to cut out certain spending. Consider implementing different tactics, like the envelope system or finding an accountability partner, to help regulate that spending.
Stay disciplined and begin to build up savings. It can feel like a losing battle or never-ending process at times, but consistently sticking to the plan and meeting your new budgeting goals will make all the difference over time. Using a budget as a guide for living within your means will become easier as it forms new habits of spending and saving.
Keep in mind what all of it is for—understanding where your money is going, putting more into savings, and reaching those financial goals. The reward of being able to make a down payment on a new house is worth the effort in the end.
Even after implementing a budget for buying a house and utilizing your finances, it can still be challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to trying to qualify for a mortgage or making a down payment on a home. Pathway Homes understands the reality of that struggle, and was founded to help homeowners reach this goal. Our motto is “We Create Homeowners.” Toward this end, we have created lease to own home programs to meet our customers where they are in their financial journey and help new homeowners reach their goals.