Tips for Chicago Home Buyers: Saving for a Down Payment

Are you ready to buy a new home in Chicago?  Perhaps you’re ready to buy your very first home, but what about saving for a down payment? 

Summertime can be filled with wayward spending.  Between the vacations, weddings, seasonal shopping sprees, spontaneous rooftop dinners in the warm air, sending kids away to summer camp, and on, and on – money can disappear pretty quickly.  So, make sure you’re not neglecting your budget this summer if your goal is to purchase a new home in the not-so-distant future. Here are some tips to help you create a fun yet budget-friendly summer:    

  • Look for freebies – In Chicago, there are all sorts of exciting summertime freebies.  From street festivals and outdoor concerts to craft fairs and cultural events, there’s always something happening around town that can help you stick to a tighter budget.  Local attractions, like zoos, botanical gardens, museums and more usually offer free days in the summer. Some state parks and camping sites also offer free admission. You just have to do a little research to find something that suits your interests.
  • Turn it off – This summer, cut the cable cord.  Instead, spend your days in this gorgeous weather, get some fresh air, explore your city, and make some memories with your loved ones away from the TV.  Cable bills can add up to a pretty good chunk of change when all is said and done. Plus, if you still want to sit back with the family and watch a movie, streaming services offer much cheaper alternatives.  
  • Plan a picnic – Instead of eating out this summer, plan picnics in the park or on the water with your friends and loved ones.  This is a great way to save on expensive outings while still getting to enjoy delicious seasonal feasts and the outdoors.
  • Go for a walk – Since the weather is so nice this time of year, make a point to ditch the car whenever possible.  Whether you walk or bike, changing up your commute and routine can really pay off in the end. You’ll save money and benefit from the exercise and fresh air.    
  • Program your thermostat – Since you’ll be running your AC more this season, you can reduce your cooling costs by programming your thermostat.  Don’t just let it run at full capacity all day when no one’s home. Set the temperature to be just a little higher during times away and cooler at night when everyone’s home.   
  • Heat up the grill – Cooking in your kitchen every day, for every meal can really heat your home quickly causing you to crank up the air conditioning, which in the summertime, we all know, can lead to some pretty steep monthly bills.  So, head outside, and grill instead. This is a great way to cut your budget, plus, you still get to enjoy great meals.
  • Budget vacations – We all know how easy it is to go overboard with spending when on vacation.  So, if you are going away this summer, make a strict spending plan, and stick to it!  And, if you haven’t already, start saving now so that you have cash on hand and can pay for your trip upfront instead of putting one more thing on your credit card.  
  • Use cash – Whether you’re on vacation or just exploring for the day, try to stick to using cash only.  Leave the cards at home! This is a great way to ensure you stick to your budget and prioritize important expenses because there’s no wiggle room to overspend.  

Making the decision to buy a home is a very exciting time.  You just have to start preparing and saving now, and with these summer budgeting tips, you can start putting away more money towards making a down payment on your dream home while still enjoying all of the wonderful things the season has to offer.  

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