One of the most common resolutions we make every year is saving money. Often this goals is associated with the goal to purchase a new home or up size your existing one. Saving towards home ownership means saving for down payment, closing cost, appraisals, inspections and more. It’s not an easy task, especially when you are on a tight budget, but there are plenty of actionable ways you can develop a realistic savings plan. Here are 10 tips that can help you in the process.

1. Create a monthly budget and keep track of your spending. Electronic bill pay is a great tool here, because then your payments take care of themselves.

2. Make savings automatic. Open a savings account and tell your payroll department that you want a fixed amount sent there every payday via direct deposit and the balance sent to your checking account as usual.

3. Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. You will be surprised how much you can save this way.

4. Downsize before you up size. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment from a two-bedroom apartment can drop your rent by 20% to 30%. it may be a smart move to live small before you move into a bigger home and then reallocate the unused rent into your housing fund.

5. Use debit and credit cards prudently. To minimize interest charges, try to limit credit card purchases to those you can pay off in full at the end of the month.

6. Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. Check your corporate intranet or talk to your human resources representative. And don’t forget the best deal of all – investing in your 401(k).

7. Save money by buying items online, in bulk. Some companies even offer free shipping on large orders. Clearance items are sometimes available, and good savings can be found on non-perishable groceries.

8. Shop for food with a list and stick to it. You will spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could be hundreds of dollars.

9. Live relatively near your workplace. Driving 5,000 miles less a year can lower transportation costs by more than $1,000.

10. Be aware of your cell phone costs and how to reduce them. Understand peak calling periods, area coverage, roaming, and termination charges. Make sure your calling plan matches the pattern of calls you typically make.

Ask for support. Staying on a strict savings plan is much easier with the support of the people around you. Make sure your friends and family know how your behavior is changing so they can meet you halfway.

Considering the median price home in Atlanta right now is $249,900. With a 5% down payment you are going to need more than $12,000 + any closing cost that can range between 0% and 3% depending on negotiations and purchasing expenses that include inspections and appraisal which can be roughly another $1,000. You must be prepare to bring around $16,000 to closing for a typical home. If you want to buy a house in the near future it’s a good idea to build up some serious savings now. If you have questions about how much do you need to save for your house this year or have any other questions related to buying or selling a home in Atlanta give me a call. I will be glad to guide you through the process.