If you’re hoping to buy your first home, then one thing that you could be worried about is scrapping together the money for a down payment. Even though you might be financially stable and secure enough to easily afford a monthly mortgage payment, saving up money to put down on a home can seem like a daunting task. You should not let this step get in the way of buying the home of your dreams; instead, try these tips for saving money to put toward your goal of home ownership!

1.Set Aside Gifts and Windfalls.

Cash is the gift of choice for college graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays and more. Instead of spending any gift money that you receive right away, consider putting it away in a savings account to put toward buying a home. Any other windfalls that you get, such as bonuses from work or income tax refunds, can also go toward the fund.

2.Start Eating (and Drinking) at Home.

Sure, going out to dinner or having a few drinks at your favorite restaurant can be a great way to enjoy yourself after a long week. However, dining out is expensive, and drinks at coffee shops and bars often cost much more than what you could have at home. Get in the habit of cooking and dining, having cocktails and coffee at home. Even if you spring for premium ingredients, you’ll generally still save when compared to the cost of going out. Put this extra money aside for your new home.

3.Find Fun and Free Entertainment.

Going to the movies and concerts can be a ton of fun, but these things can also cost a ton of cash. Consider looking for fun and free — or almost free — entertainment in your area so that you can slash your entertainment budget and put more money aside for your new home. Streaming a movie and popping a bag of popcorn at home is a much more affordable choice than going out to the movies, and you can pause the movie when you need to! Additionally, look for free concerts, festivals and other events that might be going on in your local community. This can help you get out of the house but can save you a lot of money at the same time.

4.Sell Your Stuff.

If you’re like many people, you might have “stuff” lying around the house that you just don’t need or use. Have a yard sale, or advertise used items on Craigslist or other similar sites. This can help you gather up some extra cash, and it can help you declutter your home so that you don’t have to worry about packing and moving items that you don’t need when you do finally buy your new home. 

Check out Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix if you need a little inspo.

5.Cash in Your Savings Bonds.

Did relatives purchase you savings bonds when you were a child? If so, they probably did so to help you get a head start in the future. Now just might be the right time to cash in your savings bonds and put that cash to use.

6.Get a Second Job.

Sure, the idea of getting a second job might not sound too appealing when you might feel as if you don’t have enough free time as it is, but if you get a second job and put your entire second paycheck in savings, you can watch your down payment savings grow much more quickly. Consider looking for online gigs, seasonal jobs or fun jobs to make some extra cash.

7.Start Couponing.

If your only experience with couponing is watching the extreme shows on TV, then you might not be able to picture yourself using coupons to purchase groceries, toiletries and household cleaning items. However, couponing can be a great way to save money on products that you already buy anyway. There are tons of websites out there that can help you get started, and not only can you save money, but you might find that it’s a fun hobby for your spare time, too.

8.DIY’s.

If you currently hire people to help you with things like cutting your grass and changing your car’s oil, consider learning how to do these things yourself. There are a ton of resources online that can help you learn how to do all types of things, and you can learn a new skill and gain a sense of accomplishment, all while saving quite a bit of money at the same time. 

9.Slash Your Bills.

Many people just pay their household bills each month without putting much thought into whether or not they can reduce costs. However, you might find that making some small changes can help you save quite a bit of money each month. Try reducing your data plan on your cell phone if your phone is usually connected to WiFi when you’re at home and work, or call your cable company and cancel some of the premium channels that you might never watch. Taking steps to conserve water and energy can help you slash these bills and can help the environment, too. Along with saving money toward your down payment, doing these things can help you get in the habit of maintaining cheaper household bills later on, when you have a mortgage payment to pay.

10.Look for a Lower Down Payment Option.

Even though the industry standard for mortgage down payments might be 20 percent, not all lenders require this. For example, if you buy a new construction home — which has other benefits, too — you can often work with the builder’s preferred lenders and secure financing with a lower down payment. This can help you own a home that much more quickly.

As you can see, it isn’t impossible to save up a down payment for a home, no matter how daunting the task might be. If you try these unique ideas, you might be able to buy the home of your dreams more quickly than you think. Already put these practices into play? Check out these 9 out-of-the-box ways you can save even more dough for that down payment!