If you want to avoid falling into the rent trap and get on track towards buying your own property, there are several ways you can speed up your saving. Here is a look at how to save for a house deposit:
It is likely that renting your own place is leaving you with very little spare money to save for a deposit. Think about whether you could survive without your own space for a short time, even 6 - 12 months, and when you are ready, consider the following options:
Moving home to live with family for a little while will be much cheaper than renting your own place and should give you the chance to boost the amount you are saving.
If you live near your childhood home, get along well with your parents and they have the space to put you up, it is worth discussing with them.
Talk about how long you will stay, how much rent you will pay in, what you will do to help with house chores and how you will divide household bills up front so everyone is happy from the word go.
Find a cheaper room
If you have friends that have a spare room to let, whether they own their property or are renting, it is worth looking at living with them for a little while. If not, then explore the following websites to find a cheap room to rent:
Moving into a shared house will most likely be cheaper than renting alone, giving you the chance to save up for a place of your own, you just need to make sure that you do not spend all the money you are saving on socialising.
Get a lodger
If you live alone and have the space, taking in a lodger can be a great way to help subsidise the cost of renting and give you extra money to save for a deposit.
Before you begin your search for a new flatmate you will need to check that your landlord is happy for you to share your property and sub-let a room.
They may decide to advertise the room directly and do one of the following:
Lower your rent in return
Agree to let you find a tenant in exchange for a higher combined rent from you and your new lodger
Either way it will save you money you can put towards your house deposit (you will be able to split the cost of your household bills as well as the rent).
The easiest way to find a lodger you can trust is by asking friends, family, or your partner to move in, there are plenty of websites which allow you to advertise for free or a small charge for a tenant, including those named above.
Cut the cost of your rent
Paying less rent is a great way to free up more cash for your deposit fund - here are some achievable ways to reduce your rent.
Weigh up how many bedrooms you can manage with and if there is a cheaper area closer to work so you can save on commuting costs.
Downsizing could also mean you save money on heating, council tax and other household bills, meaning you can put even more money in your deposit fund.
Become a property guardian
An alternative to renting while you save for a deposit is to become a live-in Property Guardian at one of the UK's many listed buildings - you could even find yourself living in a Castle or Stately Home.
As a live-in-Guardian you would be responsible for keeping an eye on a listed property to ensure it does not fall into disrepair. However, the responsibility can be worthwhile as rent for most Property Guardians is very cheap or even free, so you could save a packet on your living costs.
Visit the Camelot website for more information on becoming a live-in Property Guardian and to look for properties in your area.
Get a helping hand with your deposit
Getting a little help with your deposit can make buying a property more realistic. There are a number of ways to do this:
Take advantage of government schemes
You might be able to take advantage of one of the government 'affordable housing' schemes to get a foot on the property ladder.
First Buy: First Buy is a government backed scheme that loans first time buyers up to 20% of the price of a new home, so you would only need to find a 5% deposit before you could buy. Most First Buy loans are only available on new build properties, but as they are only repayable when you sell your home. Visit the First Buy website for more information and details of how to apply.
Help to Buy: Help to Buy is a government scheme offered by lenders in England on both new and existing properties, offering mortgages for buyers only with a 5-10% deposit. You can also use the new Help to Buy ISA to help save up a deposit for your first home, our guide has all the details.
Two versions of the scheme are available: one provides an equity loan from the government of up to 20%, and the mortgage guarantee scheme helps to make mortgages with just a 5% deposit more widely available.
Borrow from the bank of mum and dad
If your parents are willing and able, borrowing some money to help with a deposit could help you to buy your own home months or even years earlier than you would otherwise be able to.
You would need to sit down with your parents to discuss how much you would pay back each month and if they would charge any interest to cover the cost of the loan. Try not to overstretch your budget though, as you and your parents could stand to lose out.
If your parents are willing, make sure they read our guide on how they can help you, including cash gifts, loans, equity release and more.
Find a guarantor
If borrowing from your parents is an unfeasible option, there are a number of mortgages on the market that allow parents (or anyone else willing) to help you buy a property without having to stump up a cash lump sum.
Getting someone to become a guarantor is a big ask as it usually involves using their home as security for your mortgage or placing a hefty amount of savings in an account that is associated with your mortgage for a set period.
Buy part of a property
If finding money for a deposit is holding you back from buying a property you may find a shared ownership home is a more affordable alternative.
Shared ownership and shared equity schemes involve purchasing part of a property and renting the rest, and although you would not own 100% of your home right away, you will have one foot on the coveted property ladder.
You will still need a deposit to get a mortgage for a part buy property - but as you would only need to borrow 25%, 50% or 75% of the property value, the amount you will need to save will also be much smaller.
For example: to get a 90% mortgage on a 50% share of a £150,000 property you would only need to find a £7,500 deposit, rather than the £15,000 you'd need to buy it outright.
Read our guide for more information on purchasing a part-buy property.
Taking the time to set out clearly what you earn and the cost of all your regular outgoings could help you find areas to cut back and save more money towards a deposit.
The key to a healthy budget is to be sensible in you estimates and to factor in a certain amount of leeway to cover unexpected costs, for example car repairs or having to replace household items. Read our guide to find out the best way to write up a budget.
Make your savings work harder
Saving for a deposit will be a lot easier if you get a helping hand from your savings account, getting a good interest rate could go a big way to helping you reach your goal faster.
Picking the best account will depend on how you plan to save. If you want to set aside a regular amount each month, a regular savings account could be the best option; equally, if you need greater flexibility, you might need to plump for an instant access savings account.
You can also benefit from paying less tax on your savings by maximising your full ISA allowance each year. Check out our ISA guide to find out how easy it is to set one up.
Chances are, you would pay a whole lot more on your mortgage and debt interest than you can generate in savings interest, even if you transfer to the best rate available.
If you have worked out your money will be better off being used to pay off your mortgage think carefully how much of your savings you should use. You will have plenty of outgoings when you move so do not leave yourself short.