Budgeting Before You Buy a New Home

For those of us dwelling in the fall out of the economic crises exacerbated by our modern societal customs of living beyond our means with large amounts of debts over our heads, it has never been a better time to take a good hard look at our spending habits. For many people it is a fabulous time to buy a home; interest rates are low and real estate prices all across the country are still dropping, however it is always a good idea to take a look at your spending before you make a major purchase like a home.

Many people across the country don’t use a budget to guide their spending and worse yet, don’t really even keep track of where their money goes every month. But when you commit to a large purchase like a home, particularly your first home, it is a good idea to track where your money goes so that you can see what you can actually afford and where you might need to cut back.

There are a lot of different budgeting plans out there and many guides that offer an opinion of what percentage of your income should go to each type of spending. However, the problem with a great many of these guides is that they give you a guideline that doesn’t take into account your particular family’s needs. Make sure that if you use a budget guide to plan your spending that you take into account that some things—like food or healthcare costs—will depend on the number of people in your family and their individual needs.

There are many pieces of budgeting software on the market currently that help to make budgeting easier by working with your bank to keep track of your purchases. If you use online banking, you can download a file every month that your software can use to track every purchase that you’ve made that month. This type of system is particularly useful if you use your debt card instead of paying cash for items.

Whichever type of budget you decide to use, whether it is written in a ledger book or uses some fancy software, it is important to keep track of everything that you buy. This way you know exactly where every dollar that you earn is going and you can adjust your spending habits accordingly; it’s hard to curb your spending if you don’t know where those extra dollars are ending up every month. Once you have your finances under control then it’s much easier to see how much money you can afford to spend on a mortgage!