30+ Creative Ways to Save for a Down Payment

by Courtney Christensen

Are you ready to buy a house, but are lacking the upfront funds? Saving for a down payment can be rough, but there are plenty of creative ways to save money. Here are 30+ ways you can put aside extra cash for your new house.

  1. Cancel your cable. With so many subscription services, paying for cable on top of that is just unnecessary.
  2. Get a cheaper haircut. Students who are learning to cut and style hair will usually offer haircuts at a big discount.
  3. Barter or trade. Are you good at something? Use it! Offer your freelance services in exchange for something you want.
  4. Be thrifty. Thrift stores are everywhere – and there’s always a great deal (and a cute outfit) to find.
  5. Use coupons. Couponing can save you a bunch of money. You can even plan your meals around the coupons you have!
  6. Wait for sales. Check online, store apps, and the local newspaper for upcoming sales on the things you want or need.
  7. Automate savings through your paycheck. If you have direct deposit through work, siphon off a bit of money from your paycheck into a separate savings every month. You won’t even notice it’s gone.
  8. Use an app to pocket extra cash. There are a few apps that will allow you to use a “round up” tool, like Acorns. You pay $35.80 for gas? Acorns rounds it up to $36 and puts the extra $.20 into savings.
  9. Use a reward credit card. Credit cards don’t have to be scary. Find one that offers cash back, and pay it off every month.
  10. Make your own coffee at home. While it’s a great idea to support your local coffee cafes when you can, switch to making your own coffee at home most mornings. You’ll be surprised at how much you save.
  11. Carpool. Not only is carpooling much better for the environment, but you’ll be saving money on gas and vehicle upkeep.
  12. Use public transportation. Most public transportation options are very affordable, especially for students!
  13. Declutter. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and find everything in your house you can live without. Many thrift stores will exchange your items for cash!
  14. Have a garage sale. Everything that the thrift store won’t take? Put it up for sale in your front yard. Many neighborhoods coordinate entire weekends for garage sales.
  15. Do some meal prep. By preparing meals for the week, you are cutting out the hard part of cooking and deciding what to eat. You’ll order-out far less if you’ve got delicious meals primed and ready.
  16. Buy reusable towels. Paper towels are a huge contributor to waste, and they can’t always be recycled. Instead, invest in microfiber towels (or tear up old t-shirts) to clean up spills instead.
  17. Buy frozen foods and freeze your own food. Do you find yourself throwing out food a lot? Freeze your meals instead. This way, you won’t ever have to waste fresh food.
  18. Cut out the meat, it’s expensive. Meat is pricy, especially beef. Do yourself a favor and try going meatless for a meal or two every week.
  19. Go to free local events. Find Facebook groups, Instagram or Twitter accounts for your city and follow them for updates on free or cheap events in your area. You don’t have to be bored to save money!
  20. Buy LED bulbs. While costly upfront, LED bulbs can last 7-10 years. Years! Most standard light bulbs are lucky to last a few months. Not only will you save on buying new lightbulbs, but also on your electricity bill.
  21. Turn off electronics before leaving. Did you know your appliances and devices still take energy even though they aren’t on? Unplug your stuff before you leave your home to save a few extras pennies.
  22. Quit smoking. Seriously, smoking is terrible for your health, but also for your wallet. Depending on how much you smoke, you could save hundreds every month by ditching the cigarettes.
  23. Repair your own clothes. There are thousands of tutorials on YouTube on how to mend clothing. Learn a new skill and keep yourself from having to replace clothes all the time.
  24. Stick to a shopping list. Make a list before you leave your home and don’t stray. Grocery stores are designed to entice us into adding more and more items to our carts. A list will help keep you focused!
  25. Cancel your subscriptions. Are there any subscription services you have but don’t really use? Check the app subscription section on your phone. Plus, think about ditching other subscriptions, too, like the gym, Uber, or magazines.
  26. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, but it’s only good if you can use the item up before it expires. For instance, don’t buy a bucket of peanut butter if you only use it for toast on Sundays.
  27. Create a budget. Sticking to a budget isn’t easy, but it’s the best way to save money. You won’t realize how much money you waste every month until it’s staring you in the face.
  28. Refinance a loan. While refinancing a house is a good way to get some immediate cash, this is not something you’ll want to do if you’re looking to purchase a new home. Instead, refinance your student or car loans for a cheaper monthly payment.
  29. Use cash. Carrying cash is becoming less and less popular these days, but if you want to save money, it’s a good idea. If you strictly use cash to pay for things, you can literally watch it disappear. It’s a visual reminder that you’re trying to save.
  30. Get a programmable thermostat. You don’t have to buy a smart thermostat to find one that is programmable. You only need to find one you can add a schedule to – reduce the amount of air or heat you use during the day when you’re out of your home.
  31. Take the No Spend Challenge. How many days in a row can you go without spending any money at all? 2? 10? 30? More? Adjust the rules how you need to, but typically “no spend” means “no spending money on unnecessities”. So, bills don’t count!
  32. Make your cleaning supplies at home. Cleaning supplies are expensive and filled with chemicals. You can make something similar at home using natural ingredients you’ve already got on hand.
  33. Use cold water when washing clothes. Unless you’re washing musty towels or extremely smelly workout clothes, you don’t need to use steaming hot water. Save money on heat by doing a cold rinse through your washing machine.
  34. Save all your change. Anytime you get change, dump it into a jar or bucket. Eventually, you’ll have saved hundreds.



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