How I Saved Up to Buy a Home Before 25

How I Saved Up to Buy a Home Before 25

WERWWWW, another none fitness post (remember when I showed you guys how to paint IKEA furniture?). Sorry guys, branching out a bit here.

Recently Adam and I bought a condo together in one of Canada’s hottest real estate markets – Toronto. Since then, I’ve been asked several times to talk about how I saved up enough to buy – so in true Beverley form, I took photos and wrote a full blog post on the subject.

In no way am I an expert on this subject, not even a little. But I did pick up some interesting and helpful tips that I never would have known before buying a home.

If you are in the market for a place, here are some things you should be aware of:

1. Try to put a 10% down payment on your mortgage. Otherwise you will be stuck with a pretty hefty CMHC premium that will be added to your mortgage payments each month. I would say 20%, but in this market, that’s nearly impossible for young professionals. Nobody has $100K lying around.

2. Whatever your down payment is – be ready to add around another $10,000+ to that number. I’m talking legal fees, CMHC insurance premiums (which varies based on your down payment), land transfer tax, HST on the insurance, taxes, etc.

3. Don’t rely on an online ‘mortgage calculator’ to calculate what your monthly payments will be. There are WAY more costs involved that aren’t taken into account, including condo fees, home insurance, taxes, hydro, heating, etc.

Knowing these things (eventually) allowed Adam and I to buy our dream condo. It’s right on the waterfront with a beautiful view of the lake, we can see the CN tower, and it is quiet. For a downtown Toronto home, it is beautifully quiet.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

So, how did we do it?

I would be neglecting to tell the full story if I didn’t mention how much both our parents helped us. They contributed basically half the down payment, and I am sorry if the same would not apply to you. But if your parents are either going to pay for your wedding, or help with a down payment – I would advise down payment EVERY time.

The method of how I saved up was nothing incredible, nor was it a ‘get rich quick’ sort of scheme. Since a young age my father instilled in me the belief that I should be saving my money for my future. I honestly have been saving for my retirement since I was a 10 year old with a paper route.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

I got my first real job at the age of 14 (shelving books at the library, WHAT WHAT), and hardly spent a dime of it. At 15 years old, I got a job at Boston Pizza where they actually allowed me to serve. I would walk home with $100 in tips every night and put it away in a little box. When I had saved up $1,000 I would put it into my bank account and forget about it.

Stay organized with your money

I’ve always had a strange obsession with money and money organization. Not in the sense that I am incredibly materialistic, but just wanting to account for every single dime that I had earned. I would check my bank account every other day to ensure that no unknown charges had been made, and if I saw one, I would get on the phone with my bank immediately to sort it out. Even an accidental $20 monthly fee charge had to be reversed that MINUTE.

I had a friend who thought she had cancelled her gym membership. She was telling me that one day she checked her bank statement, and saw that they had been taking out $60/month for the past year. ALL of that money was gone and she wasn’t getting a cent of it back.

To me it was shocking, because charges like that would never have gotten past my beady eye. Being organized and meticulous about your money can save you from a similar situation.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

A side gig is key

Aside from saving like a 15 year old BOSS, I also realized the necessity of a side-gig. This could be something that you do on your free time – baby sitting, website development, fitness instructor, Uber driver, WHATEVER. A side gig is an extra source of money that you can save, and not have to spend on rent, groceries, social activities, etc.

When I graduated University, I started working full time immediately. At the same time I started offering personal training on the weekends and evenings. The money wasn’t amazing, but it still added up overtime.

I’ve also been lucky to get modelling jobs here and there, that pay quite well. I made a personal pact to myself that every single dollar I earned from a modelling job, I would stick into a savings account.

In addition to that, I am very lucky that we live in a time where influencers can now make a living off of social media and blogs. Again, every pay cheque I earn from a sponsored post goes straight into my savings account, and is half the reason I could afford our condo. This may seem like a bit of an unfair advantage, but lets not take away from the time and effort bloggers spend to get to this point. This truly is a second job for me and it took almost 2 hard years of unpaid work before I started earning money.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

Be frugal, but still have fun

My father is Chinese. There is no way I couldn’t be cheap.

I balance being frugal with being fun, and I think that is extremely important. For example, I’ll allow myself to go out and enjoy a nice dinner with Adam on the weekend, because i’ll shop at the cheaper grocery store. I go on trips to beautiful cities because I saved $1,200 on transit passes by riding my bike. Or I’ll splurge on a designer purse because I waited a month for it to go on sale.

My friends always say that even if I was extremely wealthy, I would still have the same spending habits. The amount of money you can save by waiting a couple weeks for a sale (everything goes on sale), refusing to spend $8 on a box of raspberries (are you kidding?), or walking 20 minutes to get somewhere instead of riding the bus (exercise!), is actually unbelievable.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

As I said, my methods and habits are nothing new and truly nothing to write home about. This is just the tip of the iceberg of some of the things i’ve done to save up enough money to buy a home before 25. I will never forget the financial help that our parents gave us, and am extremely grateful that we don’t have any debt to pay off. I will never generalize this subject, because I am well aware that everyone’s financial situation is completely different. But I will never dismiss what a little bit of hard work & a savings account can do for you.

Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

What About You!?

  • Are you a homeowner? In the market?
  • What is your favorite money saving tip?

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Tips and tricks! How I saved up to buy a home in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets (Toronto), by the age of 25.

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  1. I, too, am a homeowner thanks to generosity. My ex’s parents helped him buy his first home, which also benefitted me, as I was able to use the gain on the house to buy my condo when we split. (thanks former IL’s? hahah).

    My side hustle is also how I afford to travel and do fun things and my job pays for my day-to-day. It takes a LOT of work, but it’s totally worth it, IMO.

  2. julie

    14 June

    make your lunches instead of buying. I’ve saved a bunch of money this way

  3. Serena

    15 June

    A more accurate title for this would be “How I saved up enough for half of a down payment before I was 25” (if parents covered the other half plus initial costs your article title is misleading)

    • beverleyc

      15 June

      Oo got a close eye for detail I see! Actually to be frank, I had saved up enough to pay for a down payment completely. But my parents offered to help, and I wasn’t going to turn it down.

  4. This is so inspirational and I love your super practical tips too. Congrats!!!

  5. I love your non-fitness posts just as much! I think we may have a similarly frugal spending philosophy. One of my favorite money saving strategies is to always shop the sales for groceries. I buy pretty different produce and things every week depending on what’s on sale (and just have a few staples I buy regardless, like bananas or sweet potatoes). But berries, Larabars, apples, chicken, different kinds of lettuce- I just get what’s on sale and save tons on groceries each week!

    • beverleyc

      4 July

      Thanks Liv! I LOVEEE shopping sales. I pretty much base my meals on what is on sale haha. We would do well together 😉

  6. Bao

    7 July

    Such great tips! Other than buying stuff on sale or going to No Frills instead of Metro, here are a few of my tips:

    1) Buying second-hand/vintage furniture (nightstands, coffee tables, dining tables, but never mattresses or couches though!) has really helped. The quality in the materials and design is way superior to the kind of stuff that’s in stores today, and you can customize/paint it however you want!

    2) Packing lunches instead of buying. Way cheaper and usually healthier.

    3) Doing my own nails. I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve gotten a lot better at it than most salons, plus it’s fun!

    4) Trimming my own hair. A $20 pair of good scissors from a beauty supply store will totally save you money when you just want to cut off dead ends every month. Just be careful you don’t chop off all your hair!

    5) Cheap movies on Tuesdays. Imagine Cinemas in St. Lawrence Market is only $5 on Tuesdays! It’s not the best theatre, but I love it because it has a weird 90s vibe and they always have new releases.

    6) DON’T buy bottled water. It’s sooo bad for the environment. Invest in a good BPA-free refillable bottle and throw it in your bag, it’s so worth it.

    7) Clean out your closet and sell whatever clothes you don’t want. Whatever doesn’t sell, donate! There’s a lot of stores in the city that will buy your clothes from you if they’re in season/style. I’ve gotten $10 for a bag of clothes from Kind Exchange on Queen West, which isn’t much but it’s better than nothing.

    8) Don’t let food go to waste. I used to have this problem where I’d buy all these groceries/ingredients to make one meal, and then would just forget to use the rest of the produce and it’d go bad in my fridge. Throw it into a soup or incorporate it into a new dish before it expires.

    9) I’m really into smoothies every morning and I find that freezing my own fruits/vegetables makes for a larger quantity and cheaper.

    10) Make your coffee at home and put it in a travel mug. Cheaper, reduces waste and is probably faster than lining up at Starbucks in the morning.

    11) Use the Flipp app to print coupons and view sales and discounts from a million different retailers.

    That’s all I can think of now, but I’m always on the hunt for new saving tips haha! 🙂

    • beverleyc

      11 July

      Wow!!! What an awesome comment. This is so helpful and so many things I never thought of. I used to do my own nails but now it’s like my own treat to myself every month or so. Other than that, totally love making my own lunches and making sure no food goes to waste 🙂 I’ll be sure to check out Flipp!

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