How about some helpful investigative reporting from the media this time? The New York Times article Every Penny Counts profiles six New-Yorks who managed to buy their home without the benefit of rich relatives or Wall Street bonuses. While the stories weren’t surprising, I still found them to be very reassuring and even inspiring. In addition, I tried to pick out a few useful themes:
Make The Home A Priority
There’s saying you want a home, and then there’s taking action to get that home. One of the new homeowners put it bluntly:
?If you want to own a place, you have to do everything to own a place and everything else comes second.?
Along those lines, every single person profiled changed their lifestyles to make saving up over $20,000-$100,000 a reality. While it wasn’t easy, each person did it their own way. Take Pablo Ag?ero and wife Janey Lee:
They gave up smoking to cut costs, they stopped meeting friends after work for beers, they didn?t buy new clothes, and they stashed away tax refunds and as much of their earnings as possible. Whenever they wanted to buy drinks, gadgets or cookware, they asked each other: ?Do I want an iPod or a house? Do I want a latte or a house??
Or Amy Wegenaar:
So she went into savings overdrive: she went grocery shopping only with a list and cut out luxuries like expensive juices. When she went out with friends, she ordered the happy-hour drink specials and often chose Mexican food so they could munch on free chips and split a cheap entree. She shopped the sales racks at Urban Outfitters and sewed dresses from discounted fabric she bought on the Lower East Side.
Getting Support From Your Family and Friends
Obi Onyejekwe actually made friends with co-workers who also wanted apartments of their own:
They chose to eat out at places with entrees that never cost more than $15 and went to events like the Warm Up dance parties at P.S. 1, where the only thing they bought was beer. ?A lot of pressure to spend and splurge wasn?t around because everybody was saving to buy real estate,? he said.
It worked: He and 8 friends now own homes that cost $320,000 to $550,000.
On top of this, I say share your goals with your friends. Tell them why you’d rather watch the game at home, or why you can’t fly out to Vegas. They should understand, and might even share the same dreams or at least wouldn’t mind saving a few bucks themselves.
Don’t forget your family either, all I ever hear is “Did you find a house yet?” I think being in this together with my wife has made the process a hundred times easier than if it was just me.
By Jonathan Ping | Real Estate | 8/2/07, 2:53am