Welcome to part 9 of the house deposit challenge where I document the journey to saving a house deposit for purchasing in London. We’re 9 months into the 24-month challenge and off the back of the big decisions made over the last couple of months, there has been some strong progress made towards the goal.

If this is the first report you’ve seen, then the previous instalments are listed below so you can get a better feel for how I’ve reached the current position.

Challenge Intro
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5
Update 6
Update 7
Update 8

Why am I Publishing this Journey?

We often only see the end-stage when someone has finally got onto the housing ladder and not the process to get to that stage. This allows me to showcase this but also stay accountable because it’s so easy to stop saving when nobodies watching. This way I can stay on course and hopefully help some people along the way.

Monthly Thoughts

This is the first full month without having my revenue-generating websites which were contributing heavily to the overall savings goal. But it felt the right time to sell and this allowed for a lump sum to be added to the total.

Luckily, affiliate commissions are paid in arrears so there will be at least another two months of earnings. So, in the meantime, I need to create another way of additional income to make reaching this goal slightly more realistic and perhaps, faster.

The first obvious solution is to get an additional part-time job with the huge surplus of vacancies, especially around Christmas. I’d much prefer to first explore other side hustle opportunities as this will be more sustainable for the future. Trading time for money eventually has a maximum as you can only work so many hours. With other income streams, the potential is limitless.

For this month, I will be brainstorming different ways to plug the income gap using my current skills and any skills I think I can learn and monetise.

Continue to Invest or Withdraw?

As I get closer to reaching the goal it’s become clearer that having money in the stock market is quite a large risk over short periods. Ideally, you should be investing with a minimum view to stay invested for at least 5 years. If this all goes to plan, I’ll need to withdraw within a year which makes my balance susceptible to volatility if there are any sudden dips.

Although the returns by keeping money in a regular savings account will be minimal because of low-interest rates it does ensure that it won’t have large swings. For this reason, I’ve been having a large think about whether it’s time to fully withdraw or at least a partial withdrawal.

This challenge is over such a short period that calculated risks will need to be taken and this might just be one of them.

Monthly Results

Investment Balance – £14,550 (+£204)

This month only saw a small investment added of £204 as more money will be added to a normal savings account while I decide whether to continue to invest heavily. I still have around £7k left in my yearly ISA tax-free allowance.

Savings Balance – £8,001 (+£3,000)

Savings balance is continuing to build momentum due to several factors:

Affiliate Commission Payment

The first is an affiliate commission payment from the sold site. This is likely to be the last one of this size which accounted for around £400. There will be some smaller checks coming through for the rest of the year but they’re likely to be under £100 each month.

Cutting Back

The second is that I’ve decided to fully cut back on going out and eating out. I’m limiting myself to two social outings a month which has massively helped towards increasing the amount I can save each month.

Autumn generally for me has fewer social events anyway but this will be different once we hit December so this presents a good opportunity to get ahead on the savings goal. Over the last month or so I’ve become much stricter with my meal planning which has cut down my food shopping bill to around £30-£40 a week.

I previously had quite a bad habit of ordering takeaway 6-7 times a month which may not sound like much but equates to around £150 per month. Also struggled with frequent trips to the local supermarket often making 2-3 per day. Now I tend to go twice a week to buy enough food for the week, which has also helped fitness-wise as the snack consumption has also decreased.

I understand this level of “cutting back” isn’t for everyone but the way I see it it’s only for a few months then everything can go back to normal. Buying a house isn’t easy and does require some sacrifice to degree and this is the limit I’m willing to go to.

LISA Savings

A LISA savings account is a government-backed scheme that allows you to receive a maximum bonus of £1,000 if you save £4,000 in a single tax year. This bonus can be used towards a house deposit and is a great way to boost your existing savings.

Total House Deposit Balance: £22,551 (+£3,204)

Closing

The savings balance has now passed the 50% mark with 37% of the time elapsed so I’m currently ahead of the curve largely helped by selling the affiliate websites. It’s clear that from now on that although nothing spectacular needs to be done the main thing is a discipline with saving each month.

This seems to be the part that we all seem to struggle with; staying consistent month after month without slipping back into bad habits.


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