Most people will get to a point in their lives where the thought of saving for a house deposit crops up. Many will ignore it and carry on going about their crazy lives, others will do what James Taylor did and have a 'spur of the moment conversation', knuckle down and watch the pennies roll in.
The 26-year-old, who was previously renting in Manchester city centre, hadn't actually thought about buying until one day when he 'finally had enough' and decided to get serious about a place of his own.
The marketing director, who was earning £24,000 ($31k) at the time, said after that conversation he and his girlfriend drew up a savings plan to help reach their £18,000 ($23,400) target.
This, they hoped, would help them buy a new build in Greater Manchester with enough money spare to do up their property.
He explained: "It took six months in total to save up for the house deposit - including enough left over money for furniture and the other bits we would need to buy.
"The biggest sacrifice was my time as over the six month period I was also doing freelance work and growing my business over the weekends."
In terms of savings, James said he opened a Help to Buy ISA and took up work seven days a week to help boost his income.
He went on: "Prior to my job now, I worked for a digital marketing agency for three and a half years. From the start, I always dabbled in little bits of freelance work.
"It wasn't until I decided to get serious about saving for the house deposit that I really ramped-up the level of work, to the point where I was working weekends for the purpose of saving not only the deposit, but to also have enough money left over to buy things like a couch, white goods, etc.
"The sacrifices for me were the time in building up the freelance side of work, as it had to be done after work and on weekends."
Despite their desperation to make it on the ladder, the couple said they received no help from the bank of mum and dad - instead introducing a strict savings plan to raise the funds on their own.
James added: "In total, I managed to save just under £18,000 in six months. This was between my freelance work and my part time job at an agency.
"I had a salary of £24,000, and was also earning around £3,000 more each month thanks to the freelance work.
"The part time job covered the essentials like rent, and the freelance money went straight into the house savings. The best savings tip I can give is to find remote work or some side jobs and really give it your all.
"What started as a side business for me in order to save up for my deposit turned into what is now my full time job of running a remote digital marketing agency, so you never know where that initial effort can take you."
Once they'd raised enough for their deposit the couple started house hunting.
James said: "My girlfriend spent countless hours searching for a perfect location that would still be close enough to Manchester city centre, and within a few weeks we'd reserved the plot.
"Now, we're seeing people camping out at the sales office to reserve a plot on our estate, so we've been really lucky to say the least!"
James and his partner now own a three bedroom semi detached house in Failsworth, Manchester.
James explained: "We purchased it for £195,000, our deposit was £9,000 and the rest went on decorating the place and making it our own."
Speaking about the one thing they wished they were warned about in hindsight, the couple said solicitor fees.
James said: "Our Help to Buy ISAs covered all of our solicitor fees. I'd highly advise any first time buyers to get one set up as soon as possible."
Unfortunately for anyone thinking of opening a Help to Buy ISA, the deadline for the scheme was 30 November 2019. The premise of the plan is that the government match any contributions you make towards the H2B ISA by 25 percent, up to the limit of £12,000 ($14,800).
Featured Image Credit: James Taylor
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