My simple budgeting rules saved me a down payment on my first home of £262,000

It’s really easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to saving money – but first-time buyer Annie Baker has fallen for a few simple rules that keep her on track.

Account analyst Annie, 26, keeps a £50-a-week budget for expenses as part of her financial regime while saving for a deposit on her first home worth £262,000.

Annie bought her first house in Buckinghamshire after saving for a year and a half


Annie bought her first house in Buckinghamshire after saving for a year and a half
She bought almost everything used, saving her over £5,000


She bought almost everything used, saving her over £5,000
She sold her car and bought an old dynamo to spend thousands of pounds on her home


She sold her car and bought an old dynamo to spend thousands of pounds on her home

She also plans to spend £50 a week on herself food bill by buying cheaper brands and making boxed lunches and putting cash in her savings account immediately when she gets paid.

The frugal approach has saved her £20,000 over a year and a half to buy her first £262,000 home in Buckinghamshire – but it has meant making a lot of sacrifices along the way.

She doubled her shifts almost every week for six months, sometimes working grueling 80 hours a week to add £1,200 to her savings each month.

Annie also sold her car for £4,000 and bought a second hand dynamo for £900 to shell out over £3,000 for the £28,000 down payment needed for her house.

She stops shopping for clothes and rarely goes out to dinner or to take out, helping her save faster.

She received £6,000 in inheritance from her nan, which she spent on buying the property.

The “ridiculous” rent is also motivating her to buy a home sooner, as she is paying £1,200 a month in rent with her boyfriend before moving in.

Annie bought the house herself but her boyfriend lives in it with her.

She brought it out in Used furniture to save her a whopping £5,000.

We sat down with the savvy saver to see how she went from a saver to a host for The Sun’s My first house series.

Tell me about your house

It’s a two-bed terraced cottage built in the 1900s.

The previous owners did some work on the home five years ago, expanding the bedroom and making the kitchen, living room and dining area open-plan downstairs.

There is a bathroom upstairs, and there is a small garden outside with a small shed below.

My two rabbits live under the stairs on the bed I’ve put there for them.

I’m planning on renovating the house and putting my own stamp on it – but self-funding this is very difficult.

Buying the house took me a long time to save and it drained me financially – so I’ll update the house when I have the money to do so.

Carpets are worn and there are scratches on the walls – so all needs to be changed.

How did you decide on the location?

I chose this location because it was within easy commuting distance from work.

House prices are also a bit more affordable around this area.

I found the house on Rightmove.

How much did you pay for it?

The house is £262,000, and I put down a deposit of about 11% at £28,000 on it.

I took out a 35-year £229,000 mortgage on it, with a five-year fixed rate.

My mortgage repayment is £849 a month.

This home would be completely out of my price range if I hadn’t been doing double shifts to increase my income – and getting a bigger mortgage.

I needed to increase my base salary because what the lender was prepared to offer me did not include the type of home I was looking for in the area I wanted.

So I worked the shift twice almost every week for six months to increase my income and give me more mortgage options.

I work an average of 80 hours a week, and sometimes there are no days off.

On average, I get an extra £1,200 a month.

It’s exhausting and hard work makes me a little uncomfortable, but I’m looking forward to enjoying life in my new home right now and it’s worth it.

How did you save for it?

In addition to having to work overtime at work, I did several things to save £20,000 over a year and a half on my first home.

I will make sure to have a budget ready for my trips.

For example, my boyfriend and I aim to spend around £50 on food each week between us.

I also spend around £50 a week on junk food or unnecessary shopping.

It’s not a strict budget – I just think about how much I should spend on certain outings, and I’ve made sure to deposit money into my savings account when it’s paid off.

I sold my car for £4,000 and bought a second hand dynamo for £900, giving me just over £3,000 to get into the house.

I also make sure to cook my own packed lunches and use cheaper brands.

For example, I will use Tesco’s brand bread instead of Warburton’s, to make my sandwiches.

You can easily spend £6 a day on lunch out, up to £30 a week – but mine only costs £1 per lunch, which is a week.

We rarely go out to dinner or buy takeout while saving – and I don’t spend a lot on clothes or makeup to save cash.

I also have £6,000 inherited from my nan, which I keep at home.

How can you afford to deliver it?

I love my old house – it’s filled with quality, old furniture that I bought on Facebook Marketplace.

Everything was bought second hand apart from my mattress and cost just £1,000 to furnish.

If I bought everything new it would cost me over £6,000 – saving me at least £5,000.

One of my biggest bargains was my £200 Laura Ashley sofa – which cost around £2,000 brand new when I checked online.

I also got a free spare bedroom mattress – the lady down the street gave away her old one so I took it.

The wardrobe I bought was only £100 whereas it would cost £700 if I bought it from the shops.

I could never have bought all this furniture if I had bought it brand new – it saved me a lot of money.

Buying a house is complicated?

There was nothing complicated about buying this place – but I withdrew from an offer I had previously placed for another home because of unexpected work to be done with it.

I received an offer for a £258,000 house earlier this year.

I paid for a home building survey, to see what condition the house was in, I had to pay £700.

The survey showed the house needed a lot of remodeling work – more money than I could afford or wanted to take on.

The entire floor needed to be redone as all the floorboards were rotting, costing up to £15,000 to sort out.

The survey found asbestos in the loft conversion, which would cost thousands of dollars to repair.

In total, the works can cost me up to £40,000.

I’m pulling out of buying a home – I’m so relieved I’ve completed the survey, otherwise I would never have known how much it cost to build this place.

What is your advice for other first time buyers?

You need to prioritize your goals – I had to sacrifice buying new clothes instead of saving for my house.

Now I have a fortune of my own – it’s totally worth it.

It’s hard to save for a home, and working double shifts without proper breaks can be a challenge.

But if you keep reaching your goal, then you will get there.

Here’s how one couple saved almost all of their necessary down payment on their £255k first home by sell their used cars and stuff.

The excitement didn’t stop two first-time buyers from shopping for their first home – this is how they did it.

This is how a pair bargain £11,000 on asking price for their first home to save them from losing it.

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Bobby Allyn

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