Planning for Homeownership

Creating a Spending Plan for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Since buying a home might be the largest purchase you make in your lifetime, you might have to change how you spend your money. This course will help you understand your spending patterns and our counselors will put together a monthly spending plan.

We’ll work together to identify the key areas of your spending, such as housing, and map out how it relates to your income. And as you start to implement the spending changes over the course of the program, we will help measure your progress.

The topics we cover include:

  • Identifying spending patterns
  • Breaking bad habits
  • Making changes that stick

Sometimes it’s hard to see how we spend our money until it’s laid out clearly. From there, it will be a lot easier to identify areas to get under control.

Understanding your spending patterns

Some of our monthly expenses are easy to predict. Housing and cell phone costs are fairly stable from month to month. But some of our monthly expenses can catch us by surprise, such as changes to insurance or unexpected travel costs. Our first step is to identify all of your spending from month to month.

From there, we’ll help you focus on areas of your spending that are within your control, such as:

  • Budgets for groceries, clothing, and other supplies
  • Small spending "leaks" such as expensive coffee or alcohol
  • Smarter shopping

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their spending patterns. Our goal is to help you isolate weaknesses and develop the discipline for successful homeownership.

Developing a cash flow plan for your life

As you watch your money come in through income and go out through expenses, it’s easy to see that timing matters. Managing your cash flow is critical to avoiding late payment fees, unnecessary service charges, and other penalties. We review the principles of cash flow in detail, and we help you put together a plan for your savings and expenses. Some of the areas we cover include:

  • Enrolling in direct deposit for quicker access to your income
  • Arranging convenient billing dates with utility providers, landlords, and credit cards
  • Activities to be mindful about your spending
  • Setting aside enough to cover periodic expenses, like taxes and insurance

With a good cash flow plan, you’ll be able to realistically project how fast you can amass a down payment for a home.

Lifestyle adjustments to maximize savings

Growing your savings account quickly requires some adjustments to how you live your life. We spend some time discussing ways that you can cut out "luxuries" and put the savings in the bank. This includes things like:

  • Eating at restaurants instead of cooking at home
  • Drinking coffee at a cafe or alcohol at a bar
  • Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle
  • Quitting smoking

While not every lifestyle adjustment may apply to your situation, our goal is to highlight the areas of your life that end up costing you more than they are worth. You can cut as little or as much as you want. Our hope is to help you think it through on your own terms.