How I saved enough to buy a flat

Don’t worry, it’s not one of those ‘I stayed with my parents and didn’t pay rent for three years’ posts. Saving up realness coming your way…

I bought a flat when I was 30, which is a few years ago now. It took near enough 10 years to save up for it, and at times it felt like the Impossible Dream. However, I’ve now been here for a few years and am enjoying the process of renovating it from the wood-chip and magnolia wall horror story it was into something that one day might be Instagram acceptable, if not quite Instagram goals.

How to save for a flat (when you really don’t want to stop living)…

However, as everyone knows it’s in no way easy to save for a flat these days. I hate the argument that avocado on toast is stopping millennials from getting on the property ladder (yawn) but I admit that there so many fun things to spend money on – clothes, nights out, dinner with friends, holidays abroad, more clothes. I could go on. So how did I do it?

I earn an average salary. I’m not someone that became CEO of a company at 26. I don’t have mega rich parents who have bought me a car or a flat or summer of travelling in South East Asia when I was 22. It would be great if I was, but nope, sorry. So, what that meant was waving goodbye to some of my salary each month (insert crying face emoji) and waiting and waiting for the numbers to grow big enough for a deposit onto a flat.

Here’s how you can start squirrelling some of your income away each month…

  • I lived in flatshares throughout the entirely of my twenties to save money. Some of my friends ranted alone, and I would had loved to have done that, but I could never justify the expense. It was shit in a lot of ways. I think you reach an age when having your food nicked out the fridge or getting woken up by drunk flatmates gets boring. Like it was ever cool, really. But I sucked it up and longterm it meant that I had a much higher disposable income each month.
  • Be consistent. I put money away each month. This was even when I was basically earning the minimum wage. And no shit, I was on a minimum wage salary for a long time. Sometimes I had to transfer my savings back into my current account, but for the most part I saved at least £100 per month, sometimes more. It wasn’t loads, but it added up over the weeks, months and years. I continue to save every month now, with a standing order coming out each pay day.
  • I took cheap holidays. I didn’t do the big life-changing holidays that everyone else in the world seemed to be having. You know the ones I mean; the two-week jaunt to Australia or the quick dash across the Atlantic to New York. It sounds boring, but I lived within my means and I took holidays to cheap city breaks in Europe that I could pretty much pay for with one month’s salary. They were still great holidays! They just didn’t cripple me financially for months afterwards. If you don’t follow Holiday Pirates, you’re missing out.
  • Sell clothes on Depop and Vinted. I tell a lie, I actually did this after I bought this place, but it was a great way to add an extra income stream to my salary when there were renovations screaming to be fixed each month. Every little helps and all that. I also bought a few pieces, such as a leopard print French Connection coat, which was an absolute steal.
  • I decided what I didn’t need. One thing I didn’t need was a car, and I still don’t. I’m lucky in the sense that the city I live in has good transport links, so I’ve never felt the need for a car, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever feel that I earn enough money to justify the costs. The monthly payments, petrol, paying for parking at work… it all adds up and I always thought it made sense to save for the bigger things first (ie a flat). Maybe one day, eh?

So those are my tips. I’m not saying I never went out a blew half my wages on a night out or simply had to buy that way-too-expensive coat, because I absolutely did. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. However, it was the consistency over time that got me over the finish line and into my own place.

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