Over the years budgeting and living frugally has been very important to our success. Whether it was in our early days when we were paying for my Masters program in cash, or later on, when we were saving up for and buying our empire.
While we have done the little things like using coupons and learning to portion out meals for one, the biggest savings we’ve had was the savings we made on our houses. Those were the ones that added up the fastest over time! Here are the five ways we have learned to save money on housing over the years.
How to Save Money on Housing Expenses
1. Get Roommates.
When we were newly married, we shared a house with one of my husband’s single buddies. Instead of renting a three bedroom 1,400 square foot apartment for $1,050 (1350+ with utilities), we rented a three bedroom 1,800 square foot house for $850 (our part was $710 with utilities).
We also split food with our roommate which saved a lot of money. Even better was that we were able to meet and make a lot of new friends through our roommate. It wasn’t always easy, but it was a great way to save money on housing expenses!
2. Buy More Homes.
We bought our first house two years into our marriage. At the time it was much cheaper than rent and it started to build equity. It was such as great process that we decided to buy a house at every duty station since. So far we have purchased four homes to live in. Remember: It is important to make sure it makes sense to rent, not every area or house makes sense. These building blocks were and still are key for us.
3. Buy Distressed Homes.
We have bought lots short sales and foreclosures over the years. While this type of investment has a large amount of “red tape” and paperwork involved, we have also saved a tremendous amount of money. The sweat equity gained has been through repairing the home and it has been amazing!
Our first house we did a kitchen face lift, put in a new closet, installed a garage door, put in two new bathrooms, new carpet, and painted the entire house. We put $12,000 into the house and lots of labor, but the house was worth $50,000 more when we finished. That’s just one example. Recently, we bought a foreclosure for $170,000. We put approximately $8,000 into it and now it’s worth over $205,000.
4. Buy a Cheaper House.
We typically buy way under budget. For example: while our BAH is $1,560 the first house we bought here in California was $945 and our most recent house was $1,415 (which was a little too high for us). By buying under budget we have been able to save a lot of money per month. For our first four years of marriage we always made sure our BAH covered both rent or mortgage AND our utilities.
5. Save Money by Downsizing.
During my husband’s last deployment, I moved into a friend’s house for $650 per month. This allowed us to rent out all of our homes and save money for our newest house. By downsizing during this time, we saved $10,000.
What about you? How have you learned to save money on housing expenses?0