Australian real estate developer Tim Gurner has recently become the source of global scorn and derision after he told “60 Minutes” that he wasn’t buying $19 avocado toasts and several $4 coffees a day when he was in the process of buying his first home. Anger at his statements stems from the fact that it will take skipping an awful lot of avocado toasts to save up the down payment for a home.
His claim also glosses over the fact that several other factors, from a lack of savings to a lack of financial literacy, are what’s standing in the way of younger people and homeownership. If it’s your goal to buy a home someday, forget the avocado toast. Here’s what you need to focus on instead.
Making a Budget and Saving Money
While blaming avocado toast for people not buying homes is a bit like not being able to see the forest for the trees, Gurner does have a point. The Herald Sun reported that one-third of Australian millennials don’t have a budget and about 10 percent aren’t saving any money at all. A survey from BT Financial found that one-third of all Australians live paycheck-to-paycheck.
If younger Australians are saving money, it’s usually to fund things such as vacations or large lifestyle purchases, not for major goals such as buying a home or saving for retirement. If you do hope to purchase a home in the future, you want to start budgeting today. Keep track of your spending and income for a few months, so that you can see where your money is going. If you’re spending more than you earn and your savings rate is near zero, look at where you can trim costs, so that you can save more.
Checking Your Credit
Your credit is another big factor when it comes to buying a home. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year or within 90 days of being turned down for a loan. Checking your credit lets you see if there are any mistakes and gives you an idea of where you stand and whether a lender is likely to offer you a loan.
Setting Your Goal
You usually need a deposit of at least 5 percent to buy a home. Look at the standard home prices in your city, look at what you can afford, then commit to saving up 5 percent or more. If you give yourself a timeline, you’ll see how much you need to save each month.
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