I’ve wanted to own my own property since around the age of 21. Wherever I’d rent, I’d have long conversations with my sister or boyfriend about what I’d do to the flat if I owned it (“I’d knock down that wall, would move the kitchen there… etc.). I used to love going into fancy home shops in Portobello Road and Chelsea and imagine what I’d buy to fill out the rooms I owned.
So my boyfriend and I agreed to save up to make it a reality. The truth is, we weren’t earning a lot back then, so didn’t put a huge amount away, with some months – putting nothing away at all.
And then came the holidays we wanted to go on. We’d conveniently ignore the fact those were savings for a house and pay out to go on lovely trips abroad, meaning we’d have nothing left in the savings pot.
But we were cool with it. We thought we’d need around £30k for a deposit in London – and the odds of that happening were slim and would take forever anyway. And in the future, we’d probably earn loads more money and be able to save that amount in no time. A holiday was clearly the better option. (Idiots eh?)
The problem is, that behaviour and that attitude went on for years. Nearly 10 years in fact. The intention was there, we were sort of doing it but we were no closer to getting a deposit.
When we set a goal, things changed
I’d been living in a shared flat with six other people for six years and it was ok. It very much depended on who was living there at the time. This one bloke (who to be fair, looked a lot like Ryan Gosling) moved in, who would throw out our dishes instead of washing them, would bring home girls he met on a night out, go to work and leave them sunbathing in the garden all day. I started to hate it and I couldn’t watch The Notebook in the same way again!
I was reaching my 30’s and was sick of the situation I was in. At this point, we were both being paid a lot more, but instead of properly saving, our holidays became more luxurious. We blew thousands travelling. It’s not that I think holidays are a waste of money, but at some point – you have to decide what you want more.
After chatting with the boyfriend (it was more of an argument if I’m being honest) we decided to sit down and not only set a goal (buying a flat), but draw up steps to reach that within a certain amount of time.
Really looking at what you have, and what you want isn’t easy
We realised that we had to look at our bank statements and scrutinise what we were earning, and what we were spending money on. I wanted to literally put half of our earnings into savings, so we could afford a deposit within three years.
It’s not easy looking at your spending objectively, or with someone else. I know I certainly got defensive at times (I do love shopping) – and the boyfriend didn’t appreciate me adding up all the money he spends on coffee at Starbucks every day.
I knew half of my wages was a big ask – far too much for a lot of people. But I knew I could do something so extreme for a few years if it meant I would get exactly what I wanted at the end of it.
How to achieve your goal
1. Make sure you know exactly what you want to achieve
Saying you want to own a property/go on holiday/pay for your kids to go to university etc isn’t enough. The more you can get specific about it, the easier it is to aim for. How much does it cost? What about other extra costs? Where?
2. Decide when you want it by
A goal without an end date isn’t a plan – it’s just a wish. This is so important. Decide exactly WHEN you want this to happen by, and then you can see how long you have to save.
If you divide what you need by the time, not only do you know what money you have to put away – but also the money you need to make (there are lots of side hustles out there).
3. Write it down
We had a mega spreadsheet, with the monetary goal, the deadline, the amount we needed to put away monthly (which would change if we managed to put a bit more in etc).
If it’s written down, in a shared doc (if there’s more than you working on one goal), you can see exactly where you are and if you’re on track.
4. Put your money away cleverly
Don’t just stick your money in your bank account, as you won’t be doing yourself any favours.
If you’re looking to buy property like we were, your number one place to start is a Help to Buy Isa. These are for people who have never owned a home, and intend to use it for a mortgage. The Government will add 25% on top, up to a max of £3,000.
If after that 3k, or you’re generally saving – hunt for good interest rates. Some bank accounts’ in-credit rates are seriously impressive if you’re happy to switch bank accounts.
One of the most popular ways to save is in an ISA – a way to save currently up to £15,240 each year tax free (rising to £20,000 next tax year). ISAs are a great way to help you plan for the financial future you want and put your long-term life goals within reach. There are various types of ISAs, from fixed-rate to easy access (though be careful, you don’t want to be dipping into your savings), and for those looking for more risk but potentially higher returns,
a stocks and shares ISA.
Win a whopping £5,000 with Zurich
If you’ve got that goal, a £5,000 head-start isn’t too shabby.
So Zurich has launched their #shareyourgoal campaign where they are giving away 4x £5000 prizes to do whatever you want with (Ahem… saving!:)
All you have to do to win is to share a description, photo, or video of your goal using #shareyourgoal on either Zurich’s Facebook page or via public tweet by the 16th April 2017.
All four different winners will be chosen by the 17th April.
Here are all the terms and conditions.
This is such an amazing prize, and well worth giving a shot. My new goal is a bit boring to be honest (would love to say it was a cake shop or something), but I want an attic extension. Fingers crossed eh?
*This is a collaborative post*
Let me know in the comments if you’ve entered the competition. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!