I’m on a Mission to Save Money

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Mission to Save

Hey everyone.  I am on a mission.  A mission to save a lot of money.  Why am I on such a mission?  The answer is simple. My wife and I are buying a home. We are currently in the process of listing our current home and searching for a new one. The process is stressing me out a lot, but it is part of the game.  I am taking this home buying process very differently than I did the first one.  I know much more than I did back then and my financial picture has changed.

When we bought our first home, we were fresh out of college.  We didn’t like the renting scene, so we decided to become homeowners.  Back then, the banks were giving out money to anyone that had a job.  It was crazy, but that was also what led us into the recession.  We purchased our home back in 2006, right before the bottom dropped out.  Luckily for us, we purchased a home we could easily afford on just one income, so we weren’t stressed during such a trying time.

Our biggest mistake came in not vetting the neighborhood properly.  We were just searching for a home that we could afford and one that caught our eye.  We didn’t really think much out of the box, so to speak.  The neighborhood has turned out to be a terrible setting.  The people are rude, the HOA is a menacing joke, and the schools are terrible.  Once we had our son, we decided that we didn’t want him growing up here.  It is time to make the change.

I have been out of debt for over a year.  When I was paying off my debt, I was also saving.  After I paid off my last credit card, I went on a mission to save.  I knew back then that we wanted to move eventually, but didn’t know how soon. We didn’t make a down payment on our first home and that was a mistake.  This forced us into PMI and I want to avoid that this time around.

My Mission to Save Money

The mission I put in front of myself this time is to save enough for at least 20% down, plus having some money for any upkeep or upgrades.  This is a big mission for me, but I think I can do it.  For the past year I have been pushing myself to earn more money and save as much as I can.  I have cut expenses, made extra income, and socked away money at a good pace.  I have three to four more months left before we plan on buying our next home.  I need to kick up my savings a notch.

I am extremely close to hitting the 20% mark, but need a little more for any upgrades or fees that might come from selling and buying a home. While I am super excited to have saved so much over the past year, I am also scared to have that money disappear with one large purchase. When I was in debt, large purchases didn’t bother me much.  Now, they irritate me and they make my mind work hard to rationalize said purchase.  I am a saver now and I plan on staying that way.

After we purchase the new home, I plan on creating a new mission to save money.  I will be aiming for retirement, but also to make sure that I have an ample emergency fund, along with a nicely funded investment account.  I don’t want to stop saving and I find it easier to continue something when you have goals and milestones.

Are you currently on a mission to save money for a particular purpose?  Do you struggle with making large purchases?


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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

Latest posts by Grayson Bell (see all)


  • I know what you mean about hating to spend it all in one place- it’s like you work your tail off to save it for a year, then poof! It’s gone. Well, in your case it won’t be gone, it will be in your house, but I understand how it can feel that way.

  • Me and my husband are in the mission too. We will start saving next month because we are planning to buy a new car hopefully next year.

  • Matt Becker says:

    I can definitely relate. We saved up a lot of money to be able to buy a car, and it was at the same time both rewarding and slightly deflating to actually spend that money. I mean, you work so hard to save it up and then with one check it’s gone forever. Tough pill to swallow, but if you know you’ve made a good decision then it’s obviously worth it. Good luck!

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I am with you there Matt. Deflating is a good word. Especially for me since I was in a lot of debt and have been able to save so much. It was rewarding, but it will all be gone so quickly.

  • Liz says:

    We are living in our first home of 1.5 years.. no desire to go back and buy again. That is a very stressful process!

  • I’m saving money to pay off my student loans, build a bigger emergency fund, and ultimately pay off my mortgage or at least build more equity in my home. While debt seems to stifle people, I think it can also be used as a motivator. I used my student loans as motivation to start my blog and earn side income and I’m not sure I would have grinded it out this long if I didn’t have that motivation behind me.

  • Good for you guys, Grayson, for achieving your dreams responsibly. We bought our last house without 20% down too and are paying PMI – what a mistake! We won’t do that again.

  • We’re saving up to pay off my wife’s student loan debt. Once that is gone, I think we’re going to go for a year’s worth of expenses just in case anything ever happens. After that, who knows, maybe save more than 20% for retirement? We shall see!

  • I have the same trouble with big purchases. The rationalization process that goes on in my mind borders on crazy.

  • I totally struggle with big purchases too – even commitments like signing a lease or upgrading my phone plan to a higher bill per month have nearly made me sick to my stomach – even though I research the heck out of everything and have usually made a pretty good choice. Maybe that’s a good sign though that’s we’re so careful with our money.

    I’m currently saving up for a futon I really like – it’s no down payment on a house, but I’m trying to save it all out of “found” cash or side hustled money… so hopefully I’ll have somewhere to sit by April, but when I do, I’m not going to feel bad about making that purchase. Hopefully.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I probably over-research things. I drives my wife crazy, but I like doing it. I wrote today on my site about my failures, so I find my research now comes from the failures that I had when I didn’t.

  • I am on a mission to save money for a down payment while also paying off student loans. It’s so frustrating to not have enough to go around. Our son will reach kindergarten age next year, and we are determined to put him in the same school district for his entire education. We have our hearts set on moving to my hometown, which doesn’t have a lot of rental stock — so although we have $193k in student loans, we’re determined to save 20% by next summer while still paying off a few of the student loans.

    I hope you get there soon — paying PMI feels like such a waste!

  • I think you’re in good company with us who have changed our mindsets so much about spending that it’s hard to part ways with money, even though it’s going to something that’s an investment. Along with the usual retirement savings, I’m socking away for a new (used) car. I’m sure I’ll have trouble parting ways with that money when I find a car, but it sure beats the alternative!

  • My husband and I are saving for a few things (including our first home) while paying off debt (mostly my student loans). I’m hopeful we will have enough saved in about 2 years to start looking for a house.

  • Mark Ross says:

    I’m also on a mission to save money, for me to have more money to invest when I start investing this coming May.

  • E.M. says:

    I don’t like parting with large amounts of money either, especially when you have to work so hard to save it. I’m sure it will be worth it to get out of your current neighborhood though. My parents sold their house last year and it was really stressful. Lots of ups and downs involved.

  • That’s a great mission to be on! I’m on a similar one as the house I was going to buy this year did not work out so I’d like to save up a ton for the next one so I’m in a better position to make it happen.

  • We would love to pay off our current home and could put down a good chunk right now but haven’t been able to pull the trigger, so I get not wanting to spend your money on a big purchase. I think for this year, we’ll make extra payments every month, but concentrate on maxing out retirement accounts and see what’s left at the end of the year. I would love to have the house paid off in about 5 years, but if we have to wait 10 (which is where we are on track with current payments), that’s OK too.

  • I absolutely struggle with making a large purchase. Even if it’s something I’ve been saving up for — it can be incredibly intimidating to watch a bank account just drop drastically.

    Right now, I’m starting to kick into saver mode for the possibility of grad school. I’d like to have as much saved as possible in the instance I decide to pursue an MBA. I would likely be leaving the workforce to get one so I need some financial backing.

  • I feel your pain. We put 20% down on our home and it was so difficult to see our savings account take such a hard hit! Then we did home renovations that almost wiped the rest of our savings. It’s very smart that you’re saving extra for repairs and upgrades on your new house. Good luck with the process.

  • Depends on what the large purchase is. A 55″ TV, yes I struggle. A home that will provide shelter and safety for my family, maybe even be a good long-term investment, absolutely not.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I know that buying a home is a good thing when compared to something like a TV, but you don’t have any reservations dropping $50k out of your account for one? Do you not miss the money or feel a little deflated when you worked very hard to save the money?

  • Large purchases are always nerve-wracking. Last year, my husband and I went back-and-forth on getting a new cement slab poured to the point where we were at each other’s throats over the decision. This year, we’re looking to upgrade our floors to hardwood (and thankfully this decision is less contentious!). But our larger goal is to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible, so making these investments into our home definitely takes away from putting more into our monthly mortgage. It sounds like you are on the right track to meet your goals for your new home – kudos!

    • Grayson Bell says:

      My wife and I were trying to decide to replace the carpet or just get it cleaned. We had pulled the trigger on replacing it, but now realize we can just get it cleaned and repaired. That was a tough decision for us because of the money, so the home purchase is going to be even worse.

  • I feel your pain about the changes in the home buying market! The last time we had purchased a home was in 2006, which we sold in 2008. We purchased our most recent home two years ago and it was a complete shock! What is worse is that if you live in a “depressed” market, many banks will actually make you put 25% down instead of 20%. Good luck with your savings!

    • Grayson Bell says:

      That is pretty good you were able to sell it after two years. We don’t live in a depressed market, just a depressed neighborhood. We should be perfectly fine with 20% down.

  • I wouldn’t think of the 20% you are putting down on your new house as a purchase. Think of it as an investment in the new house that you will hopefully get back the next time you move. They usually say, don’t think of your home as an investment, and it’s true that most house values only keep up with inflation plus perhaps and extra percent. But the equity from your 20% down will still be yours, and it will save having to pay PMI, which is definitely worth some early saving.

  • Right now bf and I are saving towards either a down payment on our next place or a rental property down payment (we haven’t decided which one yet-lots of variables including if bf gets a new job somewhere else). We’re going to need some more space in the next few years if/when we have kids and city living is pretty grating on my most days. A nice a little place in the suburbs is much more my “speed.” Good luck on your mission!

  • Prudence Debtfree says:

    I’m a Ramsey follower, and he suggests not taking on a mortgage that will take more than 15 years to pay off or that will cost more than 25% of your take-home pay. We certainly didn’t follow those guidelines when we bought our second home, but I wish we had. Are you using any such guidelines?

  • Catherine says:

    Grayson, you wouldn’t be ”spending” the money. You would be INVESTING your money. Investing in real estate but more than that investing in your family and their needs. This will ease the pain when it leaves your bank account.

    We will also be moving within the next five years (probably build) and we’re not moving until we can put 20% down as well. In 5 years we’ll have over 10 years equity in the house as well as what I’m hoping will be a nice cash cushion to add.

    Good luck 🙂

  • Cat says:

    Yay! I’m so excited for yall!

  • Hey Grayson,
    Have you thought of doing a piggyback loan of a first and 2nd mortgage. You put 10% down and take out a second to avoid PMI. It’s adjustable but rates won’t go up that much and the loan amount is small. Ive bought most of my homes that way without PMI

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I used to work in mortgages and I won’t do piggybacks. I have seen way more people burned by the adjustable rate than I have seen it help. Too many variables out of my control and that is just not something that I am comfortable with.

  • jonnypean says:

    This is really great Grayson that you are out of all debt since last one year and am sure that those savings will help you a lot in buying your second home. What I feel is it is pretty challenging to buy the first home itself, and you are going to hit the second one. This is really appreciative as well as inspiring. Wish you all the luck.

  • The Frugal Flirter says:

    Great post, you’ve managed to save so much in a short time, good luck with the last hurdle! I’m just starting out in trying to save enough for a deposit on our first home, aiming for June next year so fingers crossed!

  • I’m on a mission to save money too, because we are getting married this year and going on a honeymoon and I don’t want to have to put my goals on hold to pay for those things. We want to prepay our mortgage too, so we can save a boatload on interest and, like you, have more than 20% down when we go to buy another.

  • I’m pretty much *always* saving for something big – though at the present I’d trying to decide between two priorities – a mortgage or my own business. That said, it’s going to be a good while till I have saved the kind of money I have in mind, giving me a good long time to investigate the options and decide on which one will take priority when the time finally comes.

  • Ragnar says:

    It’s a tough road to get a large enough down payment.

    Do yourself a favor before you think you’re done and get a realtor to walk through your home and be painfully honest about what could and should be updated on it to help it move quickly. The most expensive thing in the world is to have fix up an old house and buy a new one. I did that last year and we’re still a long ways from recovering financially.

  • jim says:

    Drop the $50K on the new house and don’t look back. You’re buying into an area where your kid can go to a great school until they graduate from high school. That is $ well spent. And when they hit college, you’ll be dropping $50K every year and wondering what in the world was making you so hesitant to do it ONE time back in the day.

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