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How do people afford houses?

Joel Clyne 01 March 2022

At Rhino Home Protect, we offer Home Buyers Insurance that will cover costs should the purchase of a property fall through. You can purchase our insurance on our online, easy-to-use purchase platform or by contacting a member of our team. As well as our insurance offerings, we also take an interest in all aspects of moving house which is why we've started this blog series, documenting the highs and lows of buying a UK property. If you haven't already, check out our previous blog 'what can I actually afford'. 

Figuring out how people afford houses is a complex question, but one thing that likely unites us all when looking to buy a property is saving our money. We all know that we'll have to save somehow, but working that out can be problematic. And let me state from first-hand experience, going through that process of trying to work out how much we could actually save certainly wasn't the most fun evening spent, but it was absolutely necessary

Does Deliveroo have to go?

If you ever find yourself in a situation like we did when you're flicking through last month's spending, and you see £95.62 solely on Deliveroo, you know something needs to change. The annual average spent on takeaways is £451 by the way.

You can spare us your outrage, though. We didn't always live this close to the city centre, so Deliveroo wasn't even on our radar before July 2020. Let's say we made up for lost time, but either way, our love of seeing a fella ride his bike to our door with lukewarm food in a sweaty cardboard box, needed to be knocked on the head.

The point is that there will be things like that in your life that you know you can do without. Or, if not without, then at least less of. Here are a few things like that that we came across:

Nights out

Instead of freewheeling and dealing with the bank balance the next day, we set ourselves a budget before going out and stuck to it.

Instead of an extra drink, which inevitably led to another, which led to McDonald's at 3 am, we got the tram back around midnight and left it there. And you know what, we still had a great time, and our wallets were in much better condition than they would have been.

Subscriptions

There's a reason why companies offer 30-day free trials to their products and apps, and it's not solely so that you can see how life-changing they can be!

My first port of call was to check my phone and cancel any subscriptions that weren't deemed necessary. A mobility and recovery app? Seeya. I love you, Joe Wicks, but I don't need any more of your HIIT sessions and, I've got loads of your books too - you can go! And LaLiga TV? I love my football, but seeing £7.99 a month going out purely to watch the Spanish top flight wasn't essential either.

Honestly, you can save yourself a small fortune by getting rid of those unnecessary subscriptions. With just those three mentioned there, I'd saved myself over £35 a month or £420 a year.

Utilities

After a quick shop around, it became apparent that we weren't getting the best deal for our internet. It turns out the superfast broadband we'd signed up for a while ago wasn't as super fast as what some of the competitors were offering. The price wasn't overly super either, and we ended up saving just over a fiver a month, or £60 for the year.

And then there's gas and electric bills. Prices are sky-high right now, and getting a good deal is nye on impossible, but it may be that you can get a better deal than what you're currently on.

Check out Uswitch for a simple and quick check to see whether you're on the best deal.

Supermarkets

Similar to energy bills, food prices have rocketed. And we found that looking at how we shopped as well as where we shopped made a big difference.

Re-thinking where you shop is likely near the top of your list when cutting down your costs. You don't need us to tell you that there are substantial price differences between supermarkets throughout the UK. However, we found that analysing how we shopped could also save us a small fortune

Previously we shopped most nights a week. We'd head into the supermarket on the way back from work and pick up what we needed for dinner that night. As well as being time-consuming, this can become increasingly expensive.

If you do something similar at the moment, the chances are that you pick up additional items along with what's needed that evening. And it's here where the costs really pick up.

So, I would advise looking at how you shop as much as where you shop. Plan your meals for the week and go for every mum's favourite 'The Big Shop' once a week. Honestly, you'll save yourself a fortune. 

Gym Membership

I considered getting rid of my gym membership but quickly realised that half of my evenings in the week are spent there. My fitness is important to me, which, in turn, is fundamental to my mental health.

 

Figure out what works for you

We've learned throughout this that you still need the things you enjoy. It's all about balance. The near-on £100 spent on Deliveroo was ridiculous but, takeaway food is something we enjoy. Getting rid of that completely would have saved more money, but we'd have been less happy! So instead of having a takeaway once a week, we changed that to once every two weeks. It's a win-win scenario.

You have to remember that this journey of getting a property is personal to you. There will always be a way to save more money, and if you want to do it that way, then do it. But, if you want to take more time, and by taking more time, I mean to be less frugal, then go for it. It's your life at the end of the day. Make your decisions based on what works best for you.

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