SAVING to buy a house often requires giving up the things you love – as first-time buyers Meg and Ben found out when they sold their car to buy a home.
Wind turbine technician Ben Dransfield, 22, made £8,000 from giving up his car and swapping it for a cheaper one.
The sale raised almost half of the £20,000 deposit that he and building surveyor Meg Owen, 24, needed to buy their £400,000 first home.
It’s not the only thing they sold to boost their savings. Getting rid of old furniture bagged them £400 and cutting back on weekend trips saved them £400 a month.
Meg stopped shopping sprees and instead browsed Depop for clothes, saving her another £150 a month.
Like many people saving for a home, the couple were limited in the amount they could put away because they were also having to fork out £1,050 for rent every month.
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But using the government’s Help to Buy scheme meant they could secure a home with a smaller 5% a deposit – allowing them get on the ladder quicker.
The couple took out a £80,000 Help to Buy loan and put down a deposit of £20,000.
And the sacrifices were soon worth it – the couple moved into their new home on Christmas Day last year.
Meg revealed how they kept to their “tight” budget for The Sun’s My First Home series.
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Tell me about the house
It’s a three-bedroom detached house in Manningtree, Essex.
We use the third bedroom as an office, and the other as a spare room for friends and family.
It has two bathrooms and a toilet downstairs.
The lounge and kitchen are separate – it’s not open plan.
There’s a garden at the back of the house, which has grass and patio areas, and we've also got a driveway.
How did you decide on location
We live halfway between our workplaces – and as Ben sails to work, we wanted to live near the sea.
By fluke, we found the property when we were driving back from a local restaurant one afternoon.
We saw a poster for the development – which is Cala Homes’ Newlands Park Mistley scheme -and decided to book a visit. We fell in love with the house and decided to buy it.
How did you afford to furnish it
We sold a few bits of furniture we had bought when we were renting – a dining table and chairs, sofa, desk, and TV stand.
All in all, we made around £400 from this and we put the money towards buying new furniture for the house.
How much did you pay for the house?
The house was £400,000. We used the government's Help to Buy scheme so only had to put down a 5% deposit, which was £20,000.
Under the scheme, you can apply to for a loan of up to 20% of the value of your property (or 40% if you live in London).
The loan is interest-free for the first five years.
We hadn't considered Help to Buy before, but an agent at the property development explained the benefits to us – most importantly, that a smaller deposit meant we could buy sooner.
We took out an equity loan of £80,000, which meant we could take out a smaller mortgage.
We have a 35-year mortgage of £310,000, on a five-year fixed rate of 3.2%.
Our monthly repayments are £800, which is considerably less than the £1,050 we were previously paying in rent.
How did you save for it?
We worked out a budget and were quite tight with it.
We put aside £300 for food, £500 for bills and £1,050 for rent each month, and then saved £1,000.
But to stick to this, we had to cut our outgoings.
We had been going out for meals and drinks in London most weekends, costing around £600 a month – and we cut this down to around £100 a month instead.
Ben sold his Aldi S5 for £23,000 and bought a cheaper car for £15,000 instead – and put the £8,000 difference into our savings.
The new car is cheaper to run as well, so we've saved on petrol costs.
I cut down on clothes shopping, spending around £50 a month of Depop instead of my usual £200 on the high street.
And we switched to SIM only contracts – my bill dropped from £60 to £20 a month, and Ben's from £40 to £18.
What’s your advice for other first time buyers?
Stop spending money on things you don’t need. Buying lunch at work is a good example – I was previously splashing out around £40 on this, but meal prepping has reduced my spending to £10.
Don't buy new furniture when you're renting, as you'll most likely want different items when you buy a home.
We sold what we didn't want and put the money towards furniture for our new house.
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