How we saved $7,000 in 2 months

by Erika Torres

make it rainAt the end of March, Eric and I made a pact that we were going to start saving up for a house down payment. We have no real timeline right now about when we plan to buy a house–we just know that we want to be financially ready for whenever the opportunity arises.

Considering three-bedroom home prices in our area go for at least $500,000, we know we’re going to need a sizable down payment.

Fact: a two-bedroom townhome in our neighborhood sold for $450,000 two weeks ago.

I don’t think we’ll ever be able to save the standard 20% down payment, but we can at least make some progress.

On April 1, we had $3,000 in our down payment fund. Today, we have more than $10,400.

How did we do it?

  • May was a three-paycheck month for the both of us. A portion of my check is automatically deposited into our >online savings account so we never see that money in our checking. Rather than enjoy the extra checks, I doubled our regular savings throughout the month.
  • We contributed $2,000 from our tax refund.
  • We put all of our overtime money into the fund. I rarely get overtime, but I had two full days of overtime in the past two months. And Eric usually has about 1 or 2 days of overtime a month.
  • We put every penny of “extra” money into our house down payment fund. This includes:  money made from biking to work, and random checks received (like $12 commission from books Eric sold).

At the beginning of the year, we set out to save $5,000 and I thought that was ambitious. I cannot believe that we have more than doubled our goal and the year is only halfway over.

I think it’s because we made a joint decision to start saving for a down payment and we really put our minds in to it. And it’s great to feel like we’re actually making progress.

I would also like to add that during this time that we saved $7,000, we also:

So all this goes to show is that you can still have fun, live your life, save for your goals, AND pay off debt.

I am really quite proud of us, and am just going to take some time to pat myself on the back right now…

What financial goals have you accomplished lately?



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Rich Uncle EL June 14, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Great job on the savings. I believe nothing fuels people more than getting a house. On another note November is another 3 paycheck month so I will be looking for another 7 grand month from you. Good luck.

SavvyFinancialLatina June 6, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Congrats! That’s awesome! Crazy what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it!

Pretired Nick June 6, 2013 - 11:09 am

Wow, $7,000 is really good. Houses are expensive out here, too. You might think about buying some sort of plex for your first home or not buying and just renting for longer. In some areas (where I live as well, unfortunately), the ROI isn’t always there for buying right now.

Poor fat chick June 6, 2013 - 9:46 am

Congrats.. this is awesome news.
I tried to explain to people that is it quite possible to save money for your goal AND still have a life. My boyfriend and I recently paid off a $10,000.00 loan in exactly one year. And in that time we managed to go to Cuba (5 star) for a week and to Portland, saved for Christmas and pay little over $2000.00 off our other debt. It does become easy to do once you have a goal and the mindset. Once again congrats

JW_Umbrella Treasury June 6, 2013 - 3:34 am

Great job saving towards your down-payment goal! $7,000 is quite impressive — and even if you didn’t have the tax refund and third paycheck, saving $3,500 in two months is a great accomplishment!

Anne @ Unique Gifter June 5, 2013 - 1:22 pm

Congrats! Lifecommaetc had the same experience with the united goal last week. They decided they wanted a $1K emergency fund and were able to make one in a bit more than a week.
I hear you on the housing costs. That’s a bit more than where I live, but about the same as both of our home cities.

Ana June 5, 2013 - 8:51 am

Amazing! That’s definitely an inspiration!

Megan June 5, 2013 - 8:27 am

You should definitely be patting yourself on the back! Way to go, you guys! We just opened a medic school savings account. It’s time to get our behinds in gear and start saving! Thanks for the inspiration!

Megan June 5, 2013 - 8:27 am

You should definitely be patting yourself on the back! Way to go, you guys! We just opened a medic school savings account. It’s time to get our behinds in gear and start saving!

Budget and the Beach June 5, 2013 - 8:02 am

Great job Erika!

Rob June 5, 2013 - 7:21 am

Wow. My wife and I just started the process of buying a 3 bedroom home for about $90k…at the same time $7k is more than we make in 2 months, so I’m guessing that the earning potential where you live is similarly as high as the home prices.

As we were applying we found that different loan programs required different downpayment amounts, ranging from 0% to 3.5%. However, if you can’t put down at least 20%, then you’ll be stuck with PMI.

Jordann @ My Alternate Life June 5, 2013 - 6:30 am

Wow 7k in two months is pretty amazing! My biggest financial accomplishment lately has definitely been paying off my student loans (last payment today!), next, on to the car loan!

Mysti June 5, 2013 - 4:57 am

Good job, but without an extra paycheck and a tax return (which are not something your get on a regular basis), where would you be?

I commend you guys for having the discipline to do it, but it is much harder to do it when you are just living your day to day lives.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2013 - 8:53 am

The extra paycheck and tax return accounted for $3,500. So if we hadn’t had those, we still would have saved $3,500 in the same time period. Not a bad chunk of change in my opinion and it would have been part of our “everyday” lives.

kelly June 5, 2013 - 4:36 am

Great job! That would be a lot of house in my neck of the woods. But $7K is a lot saved up in a short period of time…you can do it!

The Norwegian Girl June 5, 2013 - 4:14 am

wow, that is great! I can´t believe you managed to save so much money, while also paying down student debt AND taking a trip. Now that´s a major accomplishment! $500K apartments/small houses are quite common over here too, so I feel for yah! We´re saving too, I´m guessing we´re around $30k right now, but we still far from having a 15% downpayment.

Alexis Marlons June 5, 2013 - 12:06 am

That was quite a wonderful job for both of you to save that much without compromising fun. it won’t be long enough before you can really have that down payment for a new house.

Emily June 4, 2013 - 9:19 pm

Amazing!!! It will feel so good to finally buy a house and achieve such a huge goal!

Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) June 4, 2013 - 7:10 pm

Amazing job!!!!

Ceci Bean June 4, 2013 - 6:48 pm

Another Bay Area girl here. We thought 20% down sounded impossible when we were first looking at houses too. And we ended up doing an FHA loan with 3.5% down which worked well for us at the time.

But paying mortgage insurance every month SUCKS! I’m kind of obsessed with paying down our mortgage enough to stop paying that. If you can keep up the savings trend (amazing job, btw!) maybe the 20% is not so out of reach!

Christine June 4, 2013 - 6:43 pm

YIKES to those housing costs! We’re in the Midwest along with Michelle and our 3BR was less than $150K. Great job saving though! We are wanting to replace my car at some point and even though we don’t have a specific goal date in mind, my husband and I have started throwing lots of money towards savings for that moment when we find the perfect deal.

Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies June 4, 2013 - 5:18 pm

Congrats on the progress! That’s some awesome saving and I bet it feels so awesome to both be on the same page with it together. =) We’ve had a pretty good month with savings, but next month is looking rough… ugh!

But… I second Michelle on the crazy high housing costs. Have you guys ever considered moving to a different place or even neighborhood to get a better deal? FL beaches are pretty darned nice and our tax structure is way better than CA’s =)

ND Chic June 4, 2013 - 5:06 pm

That’s awesome! Great work. We were able to save 20% for our first house and it really ended up helping out. Anything that you can put down will better your financial position.

Remy @MLISunderstanding June 4, 2013 - 5:02 pm

Wow, good job on saving while also meeting other goals!

I understand about high home prices. We live in the San Francisco area, and many houses go for that much (and much, much more!). We’re looking at eventually purchasing an older fixer in the East Bay, and those are coming in at $300k – 350k right now.

CeCe @Frugalista Married June 4, 2013 - 5:00 pm

I WISH we had a 3 paycheck month! We both get paid on exact dates (me once a month). I always have so I always get screwed out of the extra pay check thing. Great job on the savings! You will have a sizeable down payment before long if you keep it up. The housing market in our state is sooo expensive. It makes it so hard.

Michelle June 4, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Great job! And that’s so crazy about housing costs. $500K here can buy you a HUGE house with a lot of land.

Budget and the Beach June 5, 2013 - 8:03 am

And that’s a relatively inexpensive house around here Michelle. There are some shacks that sell in the beach areas for 1 million.


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