Owning a home is a milestone in a person’s life. However, it has not always been easy to accomplish. By learning some of the basics of homeownership and how to save for a downpayment, you will be able to make wiser decisions about owning a home. That’s why we asked experts from Miami, FL to Seattle, WA to share their tips for the most effective ways to save for a downpayment.

1. Withhold extra taxes through your employer

Depending on how much you want to save, “force” yourself to save “on accident” by withholding extra on your taxes through your employer. This way, at the end of the year, you have a chunk of cash to place toward your new home. –Dimov Tax Specialists.

2. Cut down on costs
You would be amazed how much money you can save by cutting down the following costs: car insurance, internet service, cell service, credit card interest rates, refinance vehicles, gym memberships, and online subscriptions, just to name a few. -Robby Allen, Credit Restoration Of Texas.

3. Setup a downpayment savings timeline
Saving effectively for a down payment requires precise planning, and that starts with understanding your budget. First, ask yourself a few questions:

• How much “house” are you looking to buy (what price range are you interested in)?
• Do you qualify for an insured mortgage, which requires only 5-10% down? Or will you need the minimum 20% down uninsured mortgages require?
• How long will it take to save your down payment?
• Based on your income, how large a mortgage do you qualify for?

Answering these questions will help you set up a down payment savings timeline, and put you several steps closer to moving into your dream home. But without outlining and sticking to a budget, you’ll never get there. -Michael Goldenberg, DebtCare Canada.

4. Cut out your vices
If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day ( avg $6.65) comes out to be $2427/ year. Switch from premium gas to regular gas and save $.60 per gallon. This will save you on average $500 a year. –Chapwood Investments.

5. Create a separate high yield savings account
Open a separate high-yield savings account and rename it “down payment.” You are less likely to borrow from this account when you rename the account. Plus, you’ll see exactly how much is saved which can incentivize you to contribute to the account regularly. -Justine Nelson, Debt Free Millennials.

6. Feed your separate account 10-20% of each paycheck
• Create a separate personal checking/savings bank account that is exclusively designed to protect and grow your money.
• Via automation (payroll deduction or auto-withdrawal), feed this account with 10 – 20 percent of your income every pay period; then, live off the remaining income from your checking account that is for personal/family expenses. –Greene Finance & Insurance.

7. Refinance any existing debt
One way to help save for a home down payment would be to refinance any existing debt. This includes restructuring school loans, consolidating any credit card debt, or trying to refinance an auto loan. –Claro Advisors.

8. Understand what type of loan you’re eligible for
The first thing to do when saving for a downpayment is to look at how much you will need to save and what type of loan you may be eligible for. Sitting down with a mortgage lender can give you a hand in understanding how much you could afford and how much they may be willing to lend you. As interest rates continue to remain near historic lows, this makes purchasing property much more appealing. If you’d calculate the amount you pay in rent vs. paying yourself by making mortgage payments and building equity, you’d likely be motivated to take the plunge and make that home purchase. –Goldstone Financial Group.

9. Determine how much you can afford to pay on a mortgage each month
Before you even think about buying a home or how much to save for a down payment, you must determine how much you can afford to pay on a home each month. Ask yourself these three questions.

• How much of a monthly payment can you afford? The rule of thumb for monthly payments is that they shouldn’t exceed 30% of your monthly gross income.
• What savings do you have available for a down payment? Down payments range from nothing to 20%, with most buyers falling in between.
• How do I plan to cover other expenses such as the closing costs? Have you saved up money for them?
It is a good idea to start saving up for them as soon as you can. Set aside a special account at a financial institution and start adding to it regularly. Make sure this amount is a part of your budget if you decide you want to buy a home. –Financial Fitness Group.

10. Look into downpayment assistance programs
Look into any programs out there for down payment assistance. You’d be surprised how many administrations out there will assist you if you qualify like, Veterans Administration and Federal Housing Administration. –Financial Helpers.com

11. Review, repurpose & redirect, revisit, reach-out
• Review your prior 24 months of financial transactions (debit card, credit card, savings, and retirement).
• Repurpose wasteful spending (unused memberships, subscriptions, etc.) into savings by redirecting the money flow to build up your down payment savings account.
• Revisit this process to check your progress and manage your household cash flow.
• Reach out for help if you’re not seeing the results you need. -B. Brandon Mackie, CFP, Felton & Peel

Originally Published on Redfin