Buying a home is a major milestone towards adulthood for most people. However gone are the days when you could just turn up to the bank and score a 100% loan. Today banks want to see evidence of some genuine savings before they hand over the cash to fund your first home.

If you want to have your own little place to call home you will need to save up at least a 10% deposit.  Now with the soaring prices of property and rapid increase of general living expenses, many people have a tough time saving up enough money for a home deposit – actually it feels near impossible. However with strategic planning and budgeting you can turn your dream into a reality. Here are four ways you can save more money and build your balance faster.

1. Get Other Debt Out of the Way First

It is hard to focus on saving the money you need for a home deposit when you are overwhelmed with trying to pay off all your other debts. If you have debts with high interest rates, such as credit cards or personal loans, you are better off putting all your money towards paying these debts off first. By paying these debts off first you are saving yourself a lot of money on interest, money which can be better put towards a home deposit. Once all your debts are paid off, open up a new savings account and put any money that you would have put on your old debts into your new savings account – watch how fast your deposit grows.

2. Take a Close Look at Your Earning and Spending

Yes this is an obvious one – however it is one that many wannabe homeowners take very lightly. The truth is that saving is an easy concept – you simply have to spend less than you earn, and put the difference in a high interest savings account. However knowing how much money you spend and what it is going towards is the more difficult part. Keeping track of your spending and creating a budget to help you stay on track will help get you closer to your goal of buying a home. Start by taking a look at your expenses from the past month. Use your bank and credit card statements to give you an idea, and don’t forget to add in any cash purchases to your list. It is far too easy to spend all of your money without having a sense of what you are spending it on. Set limits for yourself and keep track of where your money is going.

3. Make a Big Difference with Little Changes

It is incredible how much money you can save just by making a few small changes to your daily routine. Finding a way to save a few dollars several times a day will equal thousands of dollars toward your home loan deposit over the course of an entire year. Pick and choose little changes that work for you. Maybe you can make your coffee at home or at work instead of picking up a cup to go along the way. Or if you are someone who likes to eat out for lunch regularly, start packing a healthy and homemade lunch a few times a week. Cutting out an unhealthy habit like smoking or drinking alcohol or soda can make you healthier and save you a significant amount of money each month. The trick with these small changes is to make sure that you actually put the money saved towards your home deposit, rather than using it to splurge on a new TV or on some other spontaneous purchase.

4. Find Ways to Earn More

When trying to save money, some people only think about ways that they can cut their spending. Reducing the amount of money you spend each month is only one half of the process. Depending on the amount of free time you have, you may be better off looking for ways to earn more money. This could mean investing in your education so you can get a better paying job. Or if you have too much free time on your hands you could get an extra job or sell some things you no longer use. If you really want to save money towards a home, focus on finding a way to increase your income as well as saving more of the money you already do earn.