Easy money saving trick helped us save up £10,000 deposit to buy our first home – how you can do it too | The Sun

SQUIRRELING money away in a jar helped first time buyers Elly and Callum Tully to save hundreds towards their £194,000 first home.

Elly and Callum decided to cut these costs by withdrawing the cash they would have spent on these luxuries, and stashing it away.

Back in November 2020, Elly and Callum, both 28, tried to figure out how to ramp up their savings and get on the property ladder quicker.

They dug deep into their spending habits to see what their outgoings were and how they could increase their savings.

After crunching the numbers, maths teacher Elly worked out they needed to save around £1,000 a month to reach their savings goal if they wanted to buy a house within eight months.

The race was on to reach their goal – and they worked out a strict budget to keep on track.


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Elly and Callum, who works in IT, would write down all of their essential outgoings, such as household bills, in a diary on the last day of every month.

After paying all their bills including rent, they then transferred £200 each into their Help To Buy Isas and £500 into a joint savings account.

The couple then withdrew whatever money was left over in cash – which would go towards groceries, petrol and the occasional treat like a meal out.

Elly said this helped the couple to see where they were spending their money.

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If they didn't spend all their cash, they popped it in a savings jar and took it to the bank at the end of each month to be added to their savings account.

On average, they were putting £100 a month into their savings jar.

Elly says they managed to reach their £1,000 goal every month by using this method.

The pair also had around £2,000 left over from their wedding fund to put towards their deposit.

Plus, they also got a £1,150 cash bonus from the government for using the Help To Buy saving scheme.

The Sun sat down with Elly and Callum to find out how they managed to become homeowners for The Sun's My First Home series.

Tell me about your house

It's a four-bedroom dethatched house in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire.

It has a big kitchen-diner and utility room, which is very handy for our Shih Tzu Tilly.

We also have a big back garden, which we can access through patio doors, and a big double garage.

We love the house because it's a new build and we felt like we could really put out own stamp on the property.

How did you decide on the location?

We grew up in Cleethorpes, which isn't too far away, so we know the area really well.

It's close to family, and it's also near the duel carriageway so it means we can get around really easily.

We had seen a new build estate being built in Grimsby by a developer called Gleeson.

The houses on the development looked perfect but they had all been snapped up really quickly.

So when we heard they had another development in the area, we jumped at the chance and that's how we found our home.

How much did you pay for it?

The house was £193,995 and we put a 5% deposit down for it at £9,700.

We took out a £184,295 mortgage for the house over a 30-year term with a 2.07% fixed interest rate for five years.

Our monthly mortgage payments are £540.

We also got £1,150 in free cash from the government after opening a Help To Buy Isa.

We both opened one just before the scheme closed in November 2019.

We both put in £500 when we first opened them, but it wasn't until November 2020 started adding to it more often.

In the end, we had £4,600 in the Isas between us from contributing £200 a month for eight months.

For every £200 we saved, the government paid a £50 bonus towards the purchase price of the house.

We also had around £2,000 left from our wedding fund that we put towards the deposit.

How did you save for it?

We were already in a good routine with saving from managing our wedding fund.

Our wedding took place in July 2019, and after just over a year off from budgeting, we decided to start seriously saving again in November 2020.

Before we moved into our house, we were paying around £450 in rent for a three-bedroom house in Grimsby.

This was much lower than the average price for the area because we were renting from family.

To get our finances back on track, we bought ourselves a budgeting diary, calculating every penny we needed to spend on household bills that month.

We would then transfer £200 each into our Help To Buy Isas and £500 into a joint savings account.

This allowed us to see what we needed to spend our money on, and how much we had left to ourselves.

We would then withdraw the remaining amount from a cash machine, and whatever we didn't spend, would go into a money jar.

Once the money was in the jar, it was as if it was locked away and couldn't be touched.

At the end of each month, we would take the money to the bank to be added to our savings account.

This method helped us to save around £100 a month and reach our £1,000 a month saving goal.

Having cash meant we could physically see our savings building up and helped us to keep track.

We also saved around £240 a month by cutting back on meals out – saving us around £1,000.

I also put myself on a new clothes ban for eight months, saving around £100 a month.

Selling unwanted furniture on eBay also helped us to raise around £200 towards the deposit.

How did you afford to furnish it?

We needed to buy everything for our new house because it was so different from the home we were previously renting.

To save money, I bought a lot of stuff second-hand – I'm very good at finding a bargain on eBay and in vintage stores.

My best bargains were a set of six vintage dining chairs that I bought for £50, which would have cost me hundreds of pounds to buy brand new.

They were very old and needed doing up, but after a bit of DIY they look great and I know they'll last a long time.

When shopping online, I used a Google extension called Honey, which scans the web for codes that will get you money off your order.

I used it to find two coffee tables on eBay for just £70.

I got an alert from Honey to say there was a flash sale, and I managed to save 15% on the original price of the tables.

Advice for other first time buyers?

Buying a house can be stressful, so ask for help and advice where you can.

We had a free mortgage advisor through our developer Gleesons and they helped to answer all of our questions and put our minds at ease.

Don't worry about being embarrassed to ask questions – buying a house is complicated and there are lots of different elements.

You should also think about saving more than your actual deposit amount.

This is because you can be caught out by additional costs like legal fees.

You need to work together with your partner or family to meet your savings goal, so come up with a plan to make it work.

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