Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Time To Grow Up and Save Up

I recently went to visit one of my best friends in her brand new house, a gorgeous new build 3 bed semi that they had used the Government Help To Buy scheme to get. Of course, they also saved for years meticulously and have a super hefty mortgage - but it got me thinking (as well as making me super jealous). Are there Government schemes that could help me to buy a house? And what would it entail?

We've always looked at moving to Belfast, purely because of the house prices there and of course to be closer to at least one side of our family (as we aren't really near either side at the moment). But moving over there is a long way off - we both like our jobs here, and the amount we'd need saved up to move our whole lives over there without jobs to go to would be huge. So what about an interim property, that we could sell up when the time came but we wouldn't have been wasting money on rent for several years before hand?

I'm not far off 30 now, no matter how I look at it I cannot deny that I am much closer to 30 than 20 and I think at nearly 27 years old, it's time to grow up and save up rather than living hand to mouth and spending money I could be saving and - hopefully - buying a house with.

I have always wanted to buy a house, and not a flat as I have always wanted my own front door, and a garden (so we can have numerous cats). So I looked into it, and the Help to Buy scheme just wouldn't work for us. The deposit we would need would be astronomical, and it's largely on expensive new build properties. Often with new builds they want a 20% deposit and on a 200k+ property, it would be impossible. We would be far too stretched to not only save the money for the deposit, but also when it came to paying the mortgage every month.

So I lowered my standards! I have always wanted to buy a house and I have always wanted a lot of space. But where we live, that comes with a hefty price tag. I also hadn't looked much into Shared Ownership in the UK before simply because it seemed to be all new build flats, and I didn't want a flat. Turns out it's on houses and maisonettes too, and not just new build. People selling up their Shared Ownership properties are of course only selling their share - with the prospect of us then continuing to pay rent on the other part to the housing association.

The fees involved with getting an SO property are pretty high, as they are when coming to sell it, but considering the initial cost of the share of the property, I think it seems a good deal. For example, a 50% share on a 3 bed maisonette in Camberley is £75000. So that's what we'd need the mortgage for. If we were lucky and got a good deal with a mortgage provider, we may only need 5% deposit - and that's 5% of our share, not the value of the property, and only around £5000.

So, can we save £5000?

We already have some savings from when we got married from our very generous wedding guests. Some was used for our honeymoon and more recently, my husband bought a car and insurance after learning to drive. So this is depleted somewhat... But if we cut back in all areas, I think we can easily save £2500 each over the next 12-18 months. That's what I'm aiming for - next Christmas I would like to own a property - even if it's just part of one. It's time to be a grown up and stop just doing whatever I want, spending all my money on football and trips. 

It will be very difficult to miss a huge chunk of Yeovil games this season but it's a sacrifice I have to make. I easily spend between 100-200 pounds a month following them around the country and if I saved that over the next season, I'd almost be there with my £2500 savings without saving anywhere else. I will hate every single second of it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel if it means I can DECORATE!! 

I am also now taking lunch to work with me every day, and a cup of coffee in a travel mug. My daily Costa Express at £2.40 a go is gone! Even this alone will save me around £40 a month. I did something similar for my "No Spend June" challenge last year and it's a habit I really need to get back into. £1.00 for a pack of wraps and a few quid for some soft cheese and some ham is a far cry from the £3 a day garage sandwich and packet of crisps. 

As much as I want to go places and see more of the world as well as the UK,the next year to 18 months will have no holidays, apart from our family visiting trips to Belfast. At least then, we are just paying for our flights and staying with family, and we aren't doing expensive touristy things as we would if on holiday. 

So can I do it?? I think so, if I am really strict about it. I have only been "saving" for the past 2 weeks but I have easily saved a good 30-50 pounds just by taking lunch and coffee, oh and not buying any clothes from Everything5Pounds!! That website is lethal, I un-followed them on Facebook because seeing the clothes on my news feed was just too tempting :)

The only problem will be convincing my husband that he needs to cut back on buying video games ;) 

Do you have any money saving tips I could use? Or any thoughts and do's and don'ts with Shared Ownership? 

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