Sometimes people are emotionally ready for homeownership, but they need more time to save for closing costs or a down payment. That’s a smart decision—to wait till you’re on solid financial ground with savings in hand. Here are five easy ways to save $150 a month now so you’ll be ready for homeownership later.

Call all your providers and ask for a better deal.

That includes phone and internet companies, car and home insurance providers, and your gym.

When it comes to the first two, don’t settle for the latest advertised offer, especially if you’re a long-time customer. Politely say that you are exploring other options and you’d like to know the best deal your current provider can offer before you make a decision.

Car and home insurance can be a little more complicated, but if you’ve been claims-free you may be able to negotiate. Increasing your deductible and paying annually rather than monthly could reduce premiums by 5% – 10%.

Consider suspending your gym membership even if you’re not going on vacation.Most allow you to do this for at least a couple weeks a year, sometimes an entire month. Don’t give up on your health—take your workouts outdoors or try guest memberships at other gyms. They’re free the first time.

5-easy-ways-to-save-150
If you drive, take public transit one day a week. Just one.

Eliminate parking and gas for a day, and you should save at least $15 on a 45-minute commute.

We won’t sugar coat it: the trip could take longer and it might be less comfortable. Bring some reading—or meditate on the money you’re saving.

Shop once, cook for the week.

With everything planned, you won’t find yourself saying, “I’m too tired to cook” and dialing for delivery after work.

Make a list of all meals for the week, including office lunches and snacks. Set aside and hour a week to shop, and when you get home do some prep: make and freeze a pasta sauce, pull together a homemade salad dressing, wash and chop your greens. Try to include some meatless recipes, and make sure you’ve got coffee and a portable thermos at home. The mark up on coffee is astronomical.

App not sap.

Looking to avoid having your savings sapped? There’s an app for that. Explore the many apps available online that can help you keep track of your spending, expenses and outlay.

If you pay for parking, consider a street permit.

Yes you’ll have to walk to your car, and that might cause some grumbling in bad weather, but street permits are a fraction of the cost of rented parking spaces.

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