We all love sassy Friday night takeout and travel, but Tracy Boateng put these luxuries on hold as she saved up for her first home.
Self-confessed Chinese takeaway fan saved £350 a month by resisting the urge to order her favorite food to help her buy £420,000 first home.
She loved her annual holidays abroad, but stopped booking trips for two years to save £2,000.
In the end, the sacrifice paid off, as clinic worker Tracy, 27, moved into her dream home in June of last year.
Not only did she change her lifestyle, she also changed jobs to earn a higher salary so she could save more to become a homeowner.
She originally worked in the NHS but went private to increase her salary package.
He helped her raise enough cash for the £37,000 deposit needed to secure her house, which she bought with her partner Yanick Leon, 34, who works in delivery operations at a major company.
They would never have been able to buy their first home without using the help to buy scheme.
The government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your property, or 40% if you live in London, depending on the plan, and the loan is interest-free for the first five years.
tell me about your house
It’s a three-bedroom house in Chatham, Kent.
It is new construction and has solar panels installed, which helps cut my energy bills a bit, which will come in handy this winter.
There are two bathrooms and a toilet.
The house feels open, because you can open the doors to open up the rooms below.
We have a garden that has a patio at the back of the house.
There is also a balcony.
How much was it?
The house was £420,000 but we used the Help to Buy scheme to make it more affordable to buy.
We couldn’t have afforded to buy without him – we took out an £84,000 equity loan.
We chose to use Help to Buy instead of another scheme like Shared Ownership because we wanted to fully own our home.
We obtained a 35-year term mortgage of £299,000 at a five-year fixed rate interest period of 1.95%.
I’m so relieved that we fixed it for so long… experts predict rates could skyrocket to 6% next year, which could add thousands to mortgage bills.
our monthly mortgage refunds are £994.
We made a deposit of £37,000, about 9%.
How did you afford to furnish it?
Every month, we bought furniture to spread the cost of remodeling the property.
I made sure to buy items on sale to keep costs down.
I myself tried a little DIY to put a stamp on our house for less.
I wanted to put in a dressing room but was quoted £10,000 for it.
So I went to the Ikea website to buy my own cabinets and customized them to fit the space, saving myself £8,500.
How did you manage to save for it?
I quit my NHS job as a nurse and decided to go private in 2018 because I wanted to save more money for a house.
My starting salary was £26,000 in the NHS, and when I changed jobs it initially went up to £35,000; now it’s £40,000.
I also set up my own beauty business and worked over the weekend which helped me raise thousands of pounds for the deposit.
While I was saving, I had to make sacrifices, so I also cut back on takeout, lunches, and vacations to save a lot of money.
I cut back on vacation for two years to save £2,000; per year, I normally spend around £1,000 on travel.
I’m a huge Chinese food addict, but cut back on takeout to save money.
I would spend £400 a month to order food and pay for lunches, but cut this down to £50 a month for an occasional treat.
I also cut back on clothing purchases, saving myself £100 a month by sticking to a rule that I would only buy essentials.
When I was due to upgrade my phone I switched to a SIM only deal which saved me £35 a month as my contract dropped from £50 to £15.
What is your advice to other first-time buyers?
Make sure to bring your credit score really.
One of the first things our mortgage broker did was check our scores.
Luckily they were fine, but I didn’t realize how important they are – banks may not be ready for lend you if yours is low.
Although you’ll likely make sacrifices while saving for a house, it’s worth it when you get your own house in the end.
Establish a plan – and a budget – that will help you stay on track.
Research schemes like Help to Buy – it’s a great way to get help.
A couple got £4,500 in gifts for your first home.
Another couple took a second job drawing pints to help pay for your first home.