It doesn’t sound like much, but cutting down on ‘luxuries’ like these meant the couple made huge saving. Skipping a daily $5 coffee before work means you could save around $1300 a year.
The couple each spent $15-$20 daily on buying a coffee and lunch, Redhu says, and they realised the costs were quickly adding up.
So, they started bringing coffee from home, making their own work lunches, and entertaining friends at home, rather than heading out to expensive eateries.
“One doesn’t realise the amount of money you spend on these things … $15-$20 we just frittered away, and you don’t even realise where it’s gone. It was shocking,” Redhu says.
The couple were serious about buying and, after years of renting and moving houses, wanted a place to call their own.
Speaking at AMP’s Life Hacks to Buying Your First Home event last week, as part of the AMP Graduate Programme, Redhu says thinking about buying a house was daunting, especially when they looked at Auckland house prices and the large deposits they’d need.
“But we started breaking it down to what we could afford, and then working backwards.”
Fortunately, once the couple decided they wanted to enter the housing market, they already had a decent amount of money saved from KiwiSaver.
They’d both put in 8 per cent for three years. They also made fortnightly automatic payments into a savings account – and there was no so-called Bank of Mum and Dad.
“We were saving first, then spending the rest,” Redhu says.
“Our savings were really well planned for about a year. We were really disciplined around where we were spending our money,” Redhu, a learning and development consultant at AMP, says.
The savings was the longest part of the house-buying process, but the hardest part was finding the right house in their price range.
The couple suffered open-home ‘fatigue’ from weeks of looking, and made three failed offers. It was important they tried to stay positive.
“There’s a house for everyone – a million dollars isn’t for us, but something less,” he explained.
The couple stumbled across a viewing for their newly purchased home, a three-bedroom townhouse in Takanini, while they had 15 minutes’ gap between two other open homes. They went inside and fell in love.
Fast forward, and the couple were able to secure the home – fourth time lucky.
“Owning your own home is one of the best feelings ever – when you have that roof over your head that you can call your own! It’s definitely worth it,” Redhu says.
Himanshu Redhu’s Top Tips
Be focused and realistic
Redhu says the couple were really focused on their goal that, after three years in KiwiSaver, they would need to get into the housing market.
“That was a big motivation – just getting into the house.”
He says they were realistic about how much they could save – to ensure they still had money to enjoy life in the lead-up to the house purchase and beyond that, with a mortgage.
Be smart with spending
At the end of the day, it’s all the savings you have that really add up.
“It doesn’t mean you don’t have a life, but just be careful. If you’re spending that money on coffees, is it worth the value?”
Break it down
Redhu suggests breaking down the lump sum required into smaller chunks.
“If it’s a $100,000 deposit, how much can you save in a year? Can you save $20,000? Start with that,” he says.
Or, is there something cheaper you can buy that might need a smaller deposit?
Enlist other people’s knowledge
Get your team ready, Redhu says.
“Have the right mortgage adviser, agents, and the right lawyer. These people really help you.”
Prioritise what you want in a house
Write down the non-negotiable things you require in your first home. For Redhu, this was living near a train line in Auckland, because he works in the city.
Resist temptation: only look at houses in your price range.
By Claire Connell
First published 5 March 2018
JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate.