7 Things I Won’t Cut From Our Budget To Save For a Down Payment

As most of you know, we are in the very beginning stages of buying a house and possibly moving to Colorado. However, that’s not planned to happen for at least 1.5 years from now. Some of you have asked why we’re waiting to buy a house and why we’re not moving right away. Well, we still have to…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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As most of you know, we are in the very beginning stages of buying a house and possibly moving to Colorado. However, that’s not planned to happen for at least 1.5 years from now.

Some of you have asked why we’re waiting to buy a house and why we’re not moving right away.

Well, we still have to save for our down payment.

We would like to put around $100,000 on our next home (GAH that is scary to even think about), and that means we really need to buckle down and start saving since we still need to save for retirement as well.

We need to save money so that we can go to Colorado a decent amount and find our dream home. I don’t want to buy a home or live in a brand new town that I haven’t researched or visited at least a few times. 

We’ll also have some big expenses come up and we need to start paying for and saving for those too. I’m assuming that selling our current home will be a disaster, and we will either break even or owe a few thousand dollars. we’ve had some odd disasters happen at our home and we need to replace some things (for example: our garage door needs to be replaced after our truck flung into reverse, all by itself when no one was in it, and slammed into our garage).

So, because of all of the above, we need to save a decent amount of money over the next two years. However, we are not freaking out. We know that we have some time to save and that we have fairly low budgets already.

There are many ways we are currently saving money. These include: lowering our food budget, switching to a more fuel efficient car (we are saving hundreds each month now!), finding frugal entertainment, cutting our cable bill, switching to a cheaper cell phone plan (read here to find out how you can save $2,000 a year on your cell phone), and more. Most of these are lifestyle changes and we have been extremely happy with the changes we’ve made since they’ve allowed us to enjoy life more and save money as well.

Here are some of your responses to my question “What would you NOT cut from your budget (i.e. what do you value) in order to reach a current savings goal?”

 

Even though we are saving money in many different ways, there are certain things we will not cut out of our budget unless we absolutely need to. The “old” Michelle would have probably freaked out and cut everything in sight (except for number 2 below, of course) just because I used to let money control my life.

1. I won’t downsize my home.

I won’t sell our current home right at this moment (and move into a cheaper place) in order to save money more quickly. Our home is relatively cheap and to me it’s not worth it to move into a cheaper place in order to save a tiny bit of money

Also, moving twice seems like a nightmare. we moved many times before we moved into our current home so I will do anything to limit the amount of times I have to move all the stuff into my future home.

2. I won’t get rid of my dogs.

Some people don’t understand why dogs are so awesome, and that is fine. However, I am an insane dog person. I remember when someone once asked me why I spend money to have dogs. It’s because I LOVE them.

I will not get rid of my dogs to put more money towards my down payment.

3. I won’t stop traveling.

We love to travel, so I don’t see us completely eliminating vacations from our lives in order to save for a home down payment. Our trips are usually fairly cheap, and I just signed up for a new credit card in order to gain some fast rewards points again. I will be talking about this soon.

4. I won’t jeopardize my health.

We recently received a letter stating that our health insurance will be going up a little over 64% each MONTH. Even though this is happening, it does not mean that I’m just going to completely eliminate health insurance from my life.

I’m also still going to go to any and all annual preventative appointments I have as well.

5. I won’t drain my emergency fund.

We have a large emergency fund, and we could put it towards our house down payment fund. It would definitely help us reach our goal more quickly, but this isn’t something I want to do.

My emergency fund is there to help me in case something bad happens. Also, you just never know if something bad will happen with the future move, so keeping my emergency fund intact is very important to us.

6. I won’t stop having fun.

We have relatively cheap fun. We go for bike rides, walk on trails, go hiking, and more. However, even though it is a cheap hobby and all we really have to do is pay for the gas to get places, I won’t cut that out of my budget.

Too many people think that you can’t have fun when you are on a budget. That is just not true!

7. I won’t get rid of internet.

Nope, nope, nope. This is something I could never get rid of. Keep in mind that in order to work, I need internet. Yes, I could go to the library and get it for free, but I’ll pay my very minimal internet costs so that I can work in my home.

What are you currently saving for?  Are you cutting everything out of your lives in order to save for it? Why or why not?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Kasia

    We’re saving for an investment property deposit and an overseas trip to visit family.

    I’m limiting my visits to the local shopping centre to avoid temptation as I have a habit of always finding something either for me or my baby and it’s so hard to resist. Safer just to avoid the place altogether unless absolutely necessary. I’m also cutting back on how much I spend on gifts throughout the year as I’m good at going over budget. Otherwise there’s not much to cut out as we don’t have or need cable, we don’t smoke, and we don’t eat out too often. We eat healthy and manage to keep our weekly grocery bill at a reasonable level.

    Our aim is to start earning more once I return to work from maternity leave rather than spending less in order to reach our goals faster. I think it’s easier to find an extra source of income than to keep on cutting things in the budget. Better for the sanity too!

    Saving $100,000 or a home is a great goal and I’m sure you’ll reach it faster than you think. All the best.

    1. Thank you! Good luck with your goals as well πŸ™‚

  2. So glad to hear about your dogs! That was the one thing we were not willing to compromise on. We moved them with us to Malta, and now to Spain. It’s been trying and costly, but we just can’t part with these pretty beagles πŸ™‚ . Good luck with the savings and all.

    1. Thank you! Getting rid of my dogs isn’t even an option πŸ™‚

  3. I agree with you… I won’t get rid of the Internet but I can give up my cable. Actually, I have given up the TV cable for half a year. It was hard to adjust but knowing that I can save as much as $45 a month is really worth it.

    1. Good job on giving up cable Jayson!

  4. When we were saving for our downpayment, we didn’t cut out any of those things either. And, now that we’re saving for financial independence, we’re also not cutting these things! We’re pretty frugal about everything, but, we still enjoy life and prioritize healthy options. One thing we’ve cut entirely is eating out. It saves us a ton every month!

    1. Good job! I wish we could cut out eating out. It’s been so difficult for us for some reason.

  5. Hey thanks for the shout out!!!
    Obviously internet! But like you I would never get rid of my pets. They are just too important and basically members of the family!

    1. Yes, my dogs are my family members!

  6. These all sound reasonable, Michelle! I hope you get your 100K down payment saved up! =)

  7. Robin

    You still have to enjoy your life when you are saving, so I don’t blame you for all of these. I think that people who don’t own dogs just don’t get it. We currently have two and are actually thinking about getting a third. They become little extensions of your family.
    And that is so freaky about your truck!

    1. Haha yes non-dog people just don’t get it!

      Yes, the truck thing really stunk. That happened like the first week we bought our home!

  8. Love this post!! What a great goal of $100K down!! Our goal is to put about $50K down when we go to buy (we just moved to NC from AZ so we probably won’t buy for a few years). I agree with your entire list! As “cheap” as I try to be, there are just some things I’m not willing to give up. Plus, we work hard for our money!! We should be able to enjoy it a little, too πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yes, we should be able to enjoy our money πŸ™‚

  9. It seems like this post could be summed up by saying that you’re happy to delay the move to a new house in order to keep balance in your life. I would do exactly the same in your shoes. It’s not worth sacrificing things that are important to us just to rush something else through a bit quicker. A smart play IMO.

  10. lara r

    Right now we are focusing on building up retirement funds. We don’t want to end up being a burden to our kids or have to work until old age.

    1. Good job Lara! What are you not cutting from your budget?

      1. lara r

        We don’t want to cut our gym membership. It is good for us and also it has a pool and playplace that the kids adore!

        1. Sounds like a good deal! Thanks Lara πŸ™‚

  11. Good job! What are you not giving up? πŸ™‚

  12. I like that you’re not cutting into your emergency fund. I think that’s a financially smart move. And way to go on the $100k down goal – that’s awesome!

  13. Thank you! Yes, people can definitely enjoy life when they are trying to save for something.

  14. Hawkeye is my spoiled little baby! She gets the best food and treats. She even has a water bed. I love her too much and only get such a short time with her to not spend $ on her. It’s worth every penny.

    1. Awww I love this! Always nice to hear about another crazy pet momma πŸ™‚ I’m one too.

  15. A great point. It never makes sense to stop living life because you want to enjoy something else down the road. Kudos to you to have the courage to say as much

    1. Thanks Mario! I was a little nervous to write this post. I’m glad everyone seems to understand!

  16. I love that you find ways to save for something that will make you happy in the future without cutting out the things that make you happy now. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Brittany!

  17. I’m really not cutting down everything I can to save money, but there’s a TON we are saving for. Besides a second car (mine has seen better days) we also are constantly saving for home improvements. This would be a lot easier without student loans, but it’s something that we’ve factored into our budget. My wife is in grad school, too, so while we are taking loans for that we realize that we’ll eventually have a higher monthly student loan payment. I’m 100% focused on increasing income right now, though, so that’s why I’m not really cutting any costs.

    1. Yes, I’m all about increasing income as well! It makes life easier instead of cutting everything possible out.

  18. In an effort to meet our budget better every month, my wife and I have not been going to the mall nearly as much as we would have in the years past. It should come as no surprise that a lot of things around the house that need fixed are getting fixed way, way faster now that we’re around more often!

    1. Yeah, we hardly ever go to the mall. It’s such a money and time suck!

  19. I don’t think any of those are unreasonable! It’s really important to make a list of what you’re not willing to compromise on when you establish a goal for saving or paying off debt. I’ve cut almost everything I can out of our budget, so the things that remain are truly important. I would never give up our cats, having a little fun by going out to eat once in a while, or decrease our gas budget to the point of becoming hermits.

    1. Sounds like we are very similar! Do you mind if I ask what you are currently saving for?

      1. In our case, it’s more or less about making room in our budget to keep up with saving along with paying off our student loans. Since I transitioned to freelancing, I’m not making what I used to at my day job, so we’re mostly living off of savings and my boyfriend’s income. Hopefully that will change in a few months!

        1. I hope that changes! I think you two will be fine πŸ™‚

  20. We’re saving for a down payment ourselves, albeit not in an extra determined fashion, and there are a lot of things we’ve not yet cut out because we also need at least 200K so slow and steady makes more sense than trying to burn ourselves out to save.
    We will, but because of the new arrival rather than for the down payment at this point. But we’re doing more and more cooking at home (we were getting much better at this anyway), rather than eating out and really searching out bargains/sales/etc to get the house in order for the baby. I guess it’s NOT economical to not have a baby shower but we’re so far away from family and friends we’re economizing for them, saving them time, money and travel. πŸ™‚
    We’ll travel a little less, but we won’t cut back on actual veterinary care for Seamus or healthcare for ourselves. Nor will we forego home comforts like taking on a roommate for now; it’s always felt like it’d make sense but I really don’t want to give up the luxury of having our own space when our living quarters are currently so small. It does feel rather luxurious to be able to pick and choose what not to cut back on πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes, it does feel luxurious to pick and choose what to cut back on. I debated for awhile whether or not I would publish this post. I was very afraid that I would come across the wrong way.

      1. Funny, it didn’t really occur to me that it’d come across that way! You work plenty hard AND earn a decent amount so it’d be weird to see you go completely austere when the need isn’t dire.

        1. Thank you so much! Glad to hear πŸ™‚

  21. It’s easy to suggest where someone can cut expenses, but some sacrifices aren’t worth making. There’s a lot to be said for quality of life and living for today. There are things I want in the future, but nothing that I want so badly that I’d give up my cat or stop all travel. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

    1. Yes, exactly. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so if I can afford something I enjoy, I am going to do it.

  22. One thing that I won’t give up is travel. I love going to different places and talking about life with strangers. Traveling also allows me to get out my comfort zone and experience new things.

    1. Yes, travel is something I will always want to do. With credit card rewards, it’s also very easy to travel for cheap.

  23. olla

    never give up cable and travel

    1. πŸ™‚ Thanks Olla.

  24. I guess I have not been following up since I had no idea you were moving to Colorado. Congrats!! Will you have a lot of money left over when you sell your current house? I would never scrimp on a few things including my gym membership since I use it a lot and it helps my health.

    1. We most likely will not have a lot leftover from our current home. We have maintenance and repairs we need to do, sadly.

  25. Oh my goodness! If someone ever implied that I should give up my dog, I’m not sure what I would do! Probably ask them if they would give up their kids (if they had kids)! I’ve been cutting back on my budget to save in my E-fund and for travel. I’ve cut back on Starbucks, going out drinking with friends, and shopping. I was never a big spender in those categories anyway, but cutting back on the few dollars I would spend as definitely added up! Plus, I’ve grown my side hustles! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! It’s such an odd thing to ask someone. I love my dogs so much!

  26. Good job Dan!

    Housing in Colorado varies from what we’ve seen. We’re not really sure where we want to live in the state. We are probably looking to spend around $400K on our home.

  27. Michelle Li

    Downpayments are a challenge for anybody Michelle..

    1. I agree. What are you currently saving for?

  28. Michelle Li

    I don’t have a high income and many many many expenses(single income). I’d love to set some a big renos-for an 80 yr old house) and travel and retirement.

    1. Sounds great Michelle! I hope you are able to do all of that πŸ™‚

  29. Paula

    I totally agree with the items on your list except for #3. We have given up travelling for some time. We have not changed the way we eat and continue to buy good food but we never eat out; I cook all the meals and both my daughter and I take our lunches from home – this has been a big saving.

    1. Good job Paula! Thank you for sharing.

  30. That is CRAZY about the truck!!!! Colorado is so beautiful, Michelle – you’ve picked an awesome place to move. πŸ™‚ The one thing we’re committed to spending on throughout our debt payoff is our pets. They bring so much joy – especially to the kids – so it’s well worth the expense. And dogs are AWESOME! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I love our dogs and I would do anything for them! πŸ™‚

  31. Good list…although there are some I’d cut back on to save up a down payment. I wouldn’t get rid of my pets either, but I (personally) would consider cutting back on travel to increase my savings rate. But, everybody’s different with different priorities.

    1. Yeah, we could cut back on travel, but our “travel” will mainly consist of us trying to decide what town we want to live in. I don’t want to buy a house without visiting the area a few times.

  32. I like that you’ve set your priorities and won’t budge on them. Some people go overboard and cut out everything, including the things that give them joy. But when you do that you take a lot of enjoyment out of your life, so what’s the point?

  33. As a pro blogger, you’d probably lose more money by getting rid of your internet than you would save. I wouldn’t sacrifice that, food, or travel.

  34. I am all about good food, travel, and fun. I just want to do it as inexpensively as possible. You are a super focused person so I have no doubt that you will get this done quickly.

  35. Right now we are saving up for my sons’ college fund. We eat out less often and have cut down on our travels .

    1. Thanks for sharing! Gonna check them out now.

  36. Marilyn A.

    some of the things I won’t give up are like you said, having fun and changing homes, even though my husband and I just finished this one:) But things like going out as much, cable TV, etc went!!

    1. Good job Marilyn! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  37. Eliza

    I am now saving to get an apartment with my fiancΓ©. When it’s something that I really want, it’s easier to buck up and save more.

    1. Good luck Eliza with saving πŸ™‚

  38. I think all those are excellent things not to cut. I think almost all of the money we spend currently is for things we really value. At one time, I would have said saving $100K was impossible, but I know that isn’t the case. Good luck with your saving. I can’t wait to see where you land.

    1. Thank you Kim! Maybe we’ll land near you! πŸ™‚

  39. Good job Lance! Sounds like you are doing well.

  40. We are also hoping to buy a place soon, but realistically, it’s still at least a year away. We got into a bit of debt over the summer (me being unemployed and my fiance being under-employed) so we gotta tackle that first, but then saving for a down-payment is next πŸ™‚
    Thankfully, housing here isn’t too pricey, and would could get everything we want for somewhere in the $200,000 – so we won’t need to save quite as much as you do!

    1. Hope you found the perfect house Amanda πŸ™‚

  41. These all seem like reasonable things to keep in your budget. Most of them are things I wouldn’t give up either. πŸ™‚ Good luck with your savings goal! Can’t wait to see how you progress in reaching it!

  42. anna pry

    i agree with most of those although we would be fine with a smaller house to save money but we’re already in a tiny duplex! and we dont have any travel funds now so we wouldn’t have that to cut out. if we did, i’d be alright with temporarily not traveling to reach our goals sooner

    1. We wouldn’t save much money by moving to a smaller place for just one year, plus the costs and hassle of moving for just one year would be too stressful. I hate moving! πŸ™‚

  43. Squirrelers

    Each of us has our “must have’s”, and there is no point in making day-to-day life miserable (or taking away happiness) if these expenses can be afforded. The downpayment isn’t worth sacrificing everything for!

    In particular, the ones that really jumped out at me from your list were the ones on sacrificing health and giving up the internet.

    1. Sadly, a lot of people sacrifice their health, so that was an important one for me to point out.

  44. Haha I agree! I’m not going to switch to cloth toilet paper to save money. AHHHH!

  45. I want out of debt!! I won’t give up the Internet.

  46. Thanks for the nice read, Michelle,

    I would never get rid of the Internet. I wouldn’t downsize even the package that I have. I’ve gotten rid of my Cable Television as it was distracting me from the things I truly love in life and costing me a fortune at the same time.

    I wouldn’t downsize my Chevy Silverado even though there are much cheaper options for me to drive. The truck gets me safely around wherever I need to go and ploughs through tough Canadian Winters.

    I enjoy quality food and wouldn’t really want to skimp on that because health is the most important resource of all.

    Other than those, pretty much anything is expendable.

    – Ryan from GRB

  47. One way that we are saving money right now is being more energy efficient with our home. It makes a big difference financially every month.