Ugh. They want so much money down on a house these days. After you’ve employed all the traditional savings methods for padding your down payment, like reducing your debt, automating your funds transfer to a different account, and working overtime, you might find you’re still a little frustrated at how long it can take to save such a huge chunk of money.It can seem like a house of your own is just too far out of reach...
Don’t lose hope!
We’ve got you covered with a few unusual ways people are finding extra change for their down. Check out these out-of-the-box ideas for finding a few extra dollars to throw in the future house fund, and get you home faster.
1. Get Cheap(er)
Stop paying for things you don’t need...like fancy cable packages and $5 coffee. There are way cheaper alternatives that will help you put more money in your savings account.
Good ways to cut corners start in entertainment budget and clothing expenses, but can extend to simple household things, such as making your house more efficient, and riding your bike to work a few times a week.
Try these first:
• Replace brand name items with generic and use coupons at the store
• make coffee at home and take it to go...or better yet, convince the boss to spring for a fancy new machine at the office and get your fix on the job
• Turn your thermostat down a couple degrees in the winter
• Lower the temp on your water heater
• Go exercise outside and cancel your gym membership
• Get rid of cable extras and watch the game at a friend’s house...or better yet. Get rid of cable altogether and stream everything on Amazon and Netflix.
• Start clipping coupons. Seriously!
We’ve had clients turn this into a game, and start competing with their spouse to see who could save the most each week, above and beyond what they planned. Winner gets out of dish duty for the whole next week!
2. Turn Your Craft Into Cash
Do something you enjoy, and get paid for it. There are a dozen ways you could turn one of your hobbies into a paying gig, whether you think you’ve got talent or not.
Hobbies that translate nicely into sales:
- Handmade clothing
- Knit items
- Hand painted coffee mugs
- Hand painted shirts
- Reclaimed lighting or decor
Check out this link for a list of 20 places online where you can sell your handmade crafts online.
If you can do it, and enjoy it, you can probably sell it with little to no pain. Who knows, you might even end up creating a whole new career for yourself...after you’ve closed on your new home, of course.
3. Give Life to Your Old Junk, and Sell it to Someone Who Will Appreciate it.
You wouldn’t believe how many dollars you have hidden away in your home. Go through your closet, garage, and attic, and make a big pile of things you haven’t used or touched in the last 6 months.
Anything that doesn’t bring you absolute joy, or is unnecessary in the business of life, goes in the ‘get rid of pile.”
Items that sell well online:
- Small kitchen appliances
- Trinkets and collectables
- Old video games and consoles
- Old phones
- Sports Equipment
- Toys and games
Just find a bunch of items, google where to sell them online, and go to town. You could probably even do all the work while you relax or watch the game on the weekend. Plus, you’ll feel so much less cluttered at home, and have less junk to move when you finally do get to move into your new house.
And who knows, you might even save the environment a little along the way, if someone can use your old junk instead of buying new junk.
4. Become a Paid Problem Solver
You might not realize it, but while you’re puttering around, enjoying your Saturday morning and cursing the mortgage industry for making you save so much danged money, just to buy a silly house, people all over your community are struggling with problems of their own.
Let’s meet some of your neighbors...
...there’s Joe—your retired neighbor from two blocks away, who is wishing the pain in his bad hip would ease up, so he could get his gutters cleaned out before the storm comes through.
...or Maggie—the exhausted single mom down the street who is crying in her car on the way to work because she has a full-time job, three kids to take care of, and is somehow still supposed to get a healthy dinner on the table for the family each evening.
...or Theo—the 15 year old boy next door, who is about to fail math, but is afraid to tell his parents, because when they try to summon their decades old high school math chops to help him, they struggle too, and everyone ends up fighting.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Joe knew a young pain-free individual, who might offer to clean his gutters out for him, and clean up around the yard so he didn’t have to suffer?
Wouldn’t it be priceless if Maggie could get a budding culinary enthusiast to do a little grocery shopping and meal prep for her during the week, so she could spend more time with her kids, and less time stressing out over cooking?
And it would be fantastic if Theo’s knew someone who aced high-school algebra more recently than the 90’s, and could remember the basics enough to help their son understand his homework?
I bet they’d even pay for it...
Problems that can be solved if you only had more time, or were younger, or had a particular skill set are great places to start thinking about how you could make money selling your time.
Consider some of things you could earn extra money doing for others:
- Dog walking or sitting
- Start a class teaching your favorite hobby
- Shovel snow for neighbors
- Mow lawns
- Wash windows
- Clean houses
- Wash cars
- Writing or freelance design
- Computer help for the tech challenged
- Cooking, or meal prep services
- Personal shopping
Get back to your roots and pretend your a desperate pre-teen with no money, and you just want to get paid to do something—anything!
Newspaper routes might be tough to come by in this modern digital era, but there are plenty of frustrated people in your immediate area who would be willing to pay for a little help.
5. Recycle to Turn Trash Into Cash
You can recycle just about anything. Some items will even net you a little extra cash. And don’t just stop at the soda cans and beer bottles. There are a ton of things you can recycle, probably just laying around your house, or in your garage
Get green and recycle these items for cash:
- Gold jewelry
- Scrap metal
- Bottles and cans
- Car batteries
- Ink cartridges
- Copper pipe
- Hair for wigs and hair extensions
- Junk cars
Even if there isn’t a specific service that claims to ‘recycle’ whatever you’ve got lying around, don’t give up. Think in terms of what others’ might be able to think up, and list it all as abstract art supplies on Etsy.
Put your head down and get creative with your money making, house-fund saving strategies, and you’ll be surprised how fast the pennies will pile up.