Copy

How I Bought My Own Home

Recently, Janet nominated me for one of those "11 Things" memes and... well... I haven't got around to it, largely because a lot of the questions were about my blog and most of my blog has been archived.

One of those questions was about my favourite ever blog post and that got me thinking about this one (down below).

Now, honestly, this wasn't one of my best written blog posts but it was one which got a big positive reaction at the time. It's also a topic which has been coming up in both my online and offline lives recently.

So here it is: how I went from a minimum wage job to being a homeowner in the UK's second most expensive city without a huge inheritance.

**********************************************

When I was twenty-seven, I was working a minimum wage shop job.

I had moved twenty-seven times by that point; I was single; I had no clear career goals; the only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to own my own home. I wanted an anchor. I wanted somewhere which was mine.

Unlike most of the homeowners I knew and know, I didn't have a large inheritance or wealthy parents to cover my 10% deposit. Between the deposit, legal fees and general costs of making a new flat a home, I estimated I needed about £15,000. I also needed a higher salary. And I was going to have to do it all myself.

This isn't a how-to post. If you're saving for a deposit, a wedding, a round the world trip, to start a business or you're trying to clamber out of debt, you will find the way which works for you. But, when it seems like an insurmountable task, I think it helps to know that other people have managed it.

It took me three years and this is what I did:

I got in the habit of saving

Working for minimum wage (at that point: £5.35 per hour), it was often a challenge to make ends meet, but I set myself a goal of having something left in my bank account at the end of every month, and of putting that spare money aside. Every single month I managed to save a bit.

I lived within my means

I lived in a cheap flat in a less desirable part of town. I relied on my feet and on public transport. I did without satellite TV or foreign holidays or endless racks of new dresses. I didn't live without luxuries entirely - I stuck to some brand name products and I bought the odd album here and there - but my priority was to save, not to own sparkly shoes.

I changed my job but not my budget

I realised I was never going to save much whilst working on minimum wage; I also wasn't earning a high enough salary to get approved for a mortgage. I switched to temping in offices which gave me the equivalent of a 50% pay rise right away; within a few months, I had been offered a permanent job at an even higher rate. Rather than adjusting my spending to my new salary, I continued living as though I was on a low income and I put the difference straight into savings.

I had a second source of income

For the first year, I continued working in the shop part-time. It gave me a safety net whilst temping and a financial boost thereafter. When the store closed, I started doing freelance writing - it was never a great earner for me, but some money was better than none.

In the interests of full disclosure

For six months, I had a boyfriend living with me. I wouldn't suggest moving in with somebody just to reduce your bills, but it did let me put more money aside.


Living on a budget and increasing your earnings are not revolutionary new ideas. I'm sure you could come up with them yourself. But that's how I went from minimum wage to home ownership in the space of just three years.

2 comments

  1. I really admire your ability to budget. As I said in my post today, I'm so rubbish with money and I really struggle to keep the big picture in mind when I'm faced with temptation. I only managed to buy my house because it was very, very cheap and my mum had some savings she lent me. It's incredible that you were able to do it on your own and starting from such a low wage too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aw, thanks! I was just so set on what I wanted it was easy; saving's much harder now when I don't have a clear goal in mind.

    ReplyDelete

Please play nice.