How to save for a property in 3 years while living at home

In the recent census data, 43% of 20-24 year olds and 17% of 25-29 year olds are living at home. While you might be busting to move out and in with some friends, think again…this is the perfect time to save money for your own place. If your parents can put up with you for a little bit longer and you are vigilant with your savings, when you move out for the first time you might be able to move into your own apartment – now wouldn’t that be nice.

I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking it’s not possible, so to show you how this could work I want to introduce you to Cassie. Cassie is a 25 years old and works as a systems support technician earning $55,000 (excluding Superannuation). She lives at home in South Sydney with her parents and her younger brother and is lucky enough not to have pay board or contribute to living expenses. Cassie is hoping to be able to buy an apartment around the same area her parents live in for $400,000. She is focused on saving $40,000 as she knows that saving any less than that may mean she has to pay additional fees such as lenders mortgage insurance and it will affect her loan to value ratio.

Creating a financial plan

Although Cassie is nowhere near ready to borrow money, now is a good time to talk to a home loan specialist to create an achievable budget. Together they can work out how much she would be able to save and how much based on her current earnings she may be able to borrow in the future. Getting an idea is important, but keep in mind this figure is indicative only, before a lender will lend you any money they will assess your financial situation, credit history, assets and liabilities and more.

A look at Cassies’s regular expenses and where she can save

Health insurance

Cassie currently pays $38.55* a week ($6013.80 over 3 years). If Cassie changes her plan to basic cover which costs $22.85* a week she will save $2449.20 over 3 years.

Mobile phone

Cassie is on a $89 month phone plan. She is near the end of her contract so if she changes this to a $69 / month plan she will save $20 each month, which is a saving of $733 over 3 years.

Eating out

Cassie loves going out and seeing her friends and eats out 2 nights per week. Each dinner usually costs $40. This adds up to $80 per week and $12,480 over 3 years. If Cassie cuts back her dinners and only goes out once per week she will save $6240.

Morning coffee

Each morning on the way to work and on the weekend Cassie picks up a take away coffee from the local coffee shop. This costs her $3 each day which over 3 years = $3276. If Cassie decides to only have a take away coffee on the weekends and instead buys herself a reusable cup to make an instant coffee at home before she leaves for work she will save $2340 over 3 years.

Car and commute to work

Cassie’s car a Honda Jazz, was a gift from her parents after she graduated from university and she uses it each day to drive to work as there is free parking near by her office. The costs to drive from her home in South Sydney to Green Square is approximately $6894 each year according to the RACV car running costs calculator.

If she was to change her method of transport and catch a train which would cost approximately $52 each week, she would be able to reduce her car running costs and save approximately $4772.04 over 3 years on her commuting costs.

Taxi & Uber

Once a month Cassie will head to the city with her friends for a night out. This will normally cost her around $40 each way in taxi or Uber rides as she always splits it with a friend. There isn’t much she can cut here as she needs to get home safely, but she needs to make sure she always shares the ride with a friend and that they always split the bill.

Weekend nightlife

Every weekend Cassie and her friends head either to the local pub / club and at least once a month she will head into the city. On an average night she would spend $200 on cocktails and food. But if she changes her drink of choice from a cocktail to a cheaper option like beer or wine or even a standard mixed drink she could reduce her spend to $150 and over 3 years this would save her $7,800.

Clothes & Gifts

All girls love clothes and Cassie is no exception. Cassie currently spends around $120 each month on a new piece of clothing, shoes or gifts for a friend’s birthdays. Whilst she can’t cut this out altogether she could cut her monthly expenditure to $80 which would help her save $1560 over 3 years. Cassie needs to become a smarter shopper and only shop during sale times, ban herself from online shopping and even look to sell her old clothes on eBay.

Food at work

Cassie has a number of take away places near her work and will alternate between Chinese, a sandwich and Japanese through the week. This costs her on average $12 each day. If she brought her own lunch into work or ate left overs 3 times per week she would save $5184 over 3 years.


Cassie usually goes away for a big overseas trip once every 18 months. She will spend around $5000 each time. For the next 3 years if Cassie decides to change her travel plans and instead travel locally in Australia, take more driving holidays to places she can access in her Honda, uses sites like Airbnb to find reasonably priced accommodation, keeps an eye of flight sales and only travels out of peak seasons she would be able to save $2500.

By cutting back on her expenses Cassie will be able to save approximately $33,000 over 3 years which is great but not enough for the deposit she is looking for.

How can Cassie increase her savings?

Let’s see what extra money Cassie can save and how she can increase her deposit money.

Cassie’s weekly salary (net) – $858.71
Weekly expenses
Mobile phone: $16.10
Coffee, dinners, nights out and work lunches: $220
Car, fuel, car and health insurance, public transport: $256.85
Weekly allocation for clothes: $20
Weekly allocation for holidays: $16

Total expenses: $528.95

How much does Cassie have each week after expenses: $329.76

Cassie decides to save $260.00 each week and put it into a high interest savings account. Over a 3-year period, if she places $260 into her account each week she would have saved $41,649.15^– a bit over the amount she is needs for a 10% deposit on a $400,000 apartment. She is now ready to talk to a home loan specialist and discus loans, pre-approvals and begin the home hunt.

Home Buyers Texas

Why we need investors

In recent years, the term ‘investor’ became a dirty word: they were blamed as the root of the housing affordability issue, locking first home buyers out of the market by capitalising on record-low interest rates to augment their wealth portfolios.

The activity of investors – propelled by record low interest rates – prompted the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to put a 10% ceiling on the growth of lending to investors and placed a limit on interest only loans, a product which investors prefer. The thinking was that with less investors in the market, affordability would improve.

Fast forward to now, and we’ve seen a moderation in price growth in major markets such as Sydney, and there are less investors in the market, as noted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. From August to September this year, the value of new investor loans dropped 6.2 percent. It may not sound like much, but it represents a month-on-month slide of close to $300 million in new investment.

Which brings us to the point: is a prolonged strategy to curb property investing a good thing, especially with the benefits investors bring? It’s a question worth contemplating when the market, in general, is moderating (the value of owner-occupant lending reduced by 2.1% over the aforementioned period). Plus, Chinese investors – who have a long-held affinity with Australian real estate – now have much greater difficulty in getting funds out of their country as their Government tries to strengthen the Yuan.

‘Investors’ shouldn’t be a dirty word. The benefits that investors bring to the economy and marketplace include:

  • Supporting an under-supplied housing market
  • Increasing rental opportunities
  • Fostering construction activity
  • Promoting economic activity
  • Direct and indirect job creation

In recent years, Master Builders Australia has analysed the impact of the construction industry on the wider economy. It estimated that ‘$1 million of extra demand results in five direct jobs and 14 jobs in total, direct and indirect combined’. Additionally, Master Builders claims “one million dollars of extra demand for output of the construction industry results in total benefits to the economy of close to three million dollars”. On top of that, it increases tax revenue of federal and state governments. It also helps increase the revenue base of local governments through fees, charges and levies collected during the planning process and additional council rates on completion.

Outside of new property development, investors are centrepieces in indirectly employed occupations: everyone from taxation specialists whom minimise withholdings to commercial gardeners, tradespeople undertaking repairs and maintenance to even takeaway food trucks servicing worksites. The trickle-down effect of investment is long and winding.

And when there is a healthy supply of investors in the market, there is more choice and affordability for renters. Property investment is just one way – but a very effective way – of building wealth. But individuals will always take the path of least resistance in building their wealth strategies; when banks can’t help them into the property market, they’ll look at shares, bonds or other opportunities.

In capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne, where double digit price growth has become the norm in the last three years, homeowners are looking to capitalise on the equity they hold in their homes.

APRA and the Reserve Bank need to keep a close watch on the market, because if the initial retreat from the market by investors turns into a trend that gathers pace, the ramifications for people directly and indirectly employed by the property market, tenants and the wider economy will be significant.