- Last summer, my husband and I bought a $200,000 home after five years of saving for a down payment.
- We’ve never had a household income above $40,000 a year and saving money felt difficult at times.
- I had to let go of old hangups about money to focus on the future, which was totally worth it.
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In July 2021, shortly after our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband and I closed on a $200,000 four-bedroom home in Central Kansas. We put 20% down and still had plenty of money for closing costs, furnishing our new home, and an emergency fund. We achieved this even though as a family, we’ve never earned more than $40,000 per year combined — earning sometimes as little as $25,000 per year.
My husband and I began with next to nothing. We had some cash from painting houses, which we used to road trip across America early in our marriage. Our “first home” was our Ford Focus wagon, the back seats laid flat with a futon mattress on top as our bed.
When we disembarked from our extremely fun hippie lifestyle, we decided to prioritize saving so we could buy a house one day. We had low-wage, hourly jobs, but we were resourceful, frugal, and used to living without a lot of luxuries.
I hope my story inspires people to spend a few years living below their means to achieve a big goal. However, the backdrop of our story is a bleak picture.
It can’t be ignored how truly difficult the housing market is for first-time home buyers, most of whom are downwardly mobile millennials saddled with other debts who are already in their 30s and 40s. Skyrocketing property values are putting homeownership further and further out of reach for the young and working class.
But for us, a few years of sacrifices and almost-obsessive saving were worth it to have a place of our own.
1. We put our monthly savings away first and reduced our expenses as much as we could
If you want to buy a home, it has to be the thing you are doing. Everything we did revolved around putting a minimum of $500 per month into a high-yield savings account, which we opened to help our money keep up with inflation.
We treated it like a bill we had to pay to ourselves, similar to rent or utilities. My husband worked multiple part-time jobs and I nannied from our home so I could earn money while still being with our toddler. We also lived in a dated apartment with cheaper rent.
We cut our …….