Preparing to purchase a house is a daunting task.  But the biggest hurdle to cross early on is to save enough money for a down payment, which will include budgeting to get your monthly overhead down.

So let’s talk about budgeting and how to save money. I’m going to offer a few suggestions that I’ve found to be helpful.

Suggestion #1.  This is not at the top of my list for any other reason than budgeting, but you should quit smoking if you do.  Did you know smoking a pack a day costs an average of $2000 per year?  More in some places, or if you like Cloves.  But that means that in three months, you can save as much $500.

#2, Install CFLs or LED lights where you can around your home.  This one is a penny pincher, and yes I know they’re more expensive up front.  But in the long run, it’ll save you $40 to 50 a year.

#3, “Wait, you are still paying for that subscription to Netflix even though we’re using my account?”  I know you haven’t received a printed bank statement in 3 years because you’re equally as “green” as I am.  So after you watch this video, log into your account and go through your monthly withdrawals to see what subscriptions you’re still paying for, that you’re not using and cancel them.  You clearly don’t need it.  You’ll be happy you did.  It’s a quick and easy way to raise your contributions to your Acorns account.

#4, Full disclosure, my wife will be watching this and she’s laughing the whole way through.  And this may put my marriage in jeopardy, but you need to buy in bulk, and you need a grocery list.  Don’t just go to the store and buy willy nilly whatever looks good that you think will fill the pantry until next Tuesday.  Buying in bulk is obvious.

Also, pro tip; if you really want to save on groceries – you should eat everything in the pantry before you go buy more of the things you think you’ll need.  It’ll help to make sure that you only have the things that are being consumed in the pantry.  Same for the fridge and the garage fridge and the deep freezer – as much as is reasonable.

#5, Tax deductions.  Talk to your accountant, whoever is doing your taxes, make sure they’re deducting the interest rate on your mortgage, your property taxes, and find out about energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home to get tax incentives.  For that matter, you might even look at going Solar to help save on your electricity bill.  Uncle Sam has some serious incentives for that.

#6, And this is really where I’m gonna end up in the dog house…  Stop buying expensive coffee.  We all love Starbucks lattes and frappes and cappuccinos, but the reality is that it’s costing you $5 or more per drink.  If it’s caffeine you need, get the Kirkland brand coffee at Costco.  If it’s the flavor you’re looking for, buy the Starbucks brand creamer.  You’ll spend $30 on two months worth of coffee that’s costing $100 a month right now.

Again these are just some suggestions.  I love my coffee shops.  I go there for meetings all the time.  I drink coffee all day everyday, so I have to think about how I’m budgeting for that habit.  There are certainly other things you can do to save money, but I hope that these tips may jog your creativity and help you along your way.

Signing off, your YouTube REALTOR friend. I’ll see you next week.