By Megan Kuhn, Master Financial Education Volunteer
When I decided to buy my first home*, I discovered what is now my favorite savings technique.
My goal was to increase the funds for my down payment. Every time I went shopping, I would ask myself, “Would I rather buy this $85 handbag, or would I rather put more money toward my housing fund?” If I didn’t purchase the $85 handbag, I would move $85 from my checking account to my savings account. I labeled the transaction something like “victory for the house.” I did this for big and small items, even the iced coffees I resisted.
Spending money is more than splurging on a handbag or snapping up a clearance deal. It is about opportunity cost. If I buy the $85 handbag or the $3.50 iced coffee, I miss the opportunity to save (or spend) that money for something else.
*Something else I found is the fabulous first-time residence buying class that Arlington Public Schools offers through its Adult Education Program. The one-time class meets for a couple hours, and is well worth the registration fee. After the class, I felt prepared to tackle the home buying process.