There was an article reprinted in the National Post recently about an Australian millionaire’s opinion on millennials not being able to afford a home because they’re wasting money on avocado toast, at $22 per plate. The article was quickly mocked but it was an interesting article on two fronts: 1) the irresistible urge for avocado toast and 2) the importance of budgeting.
In no way is this a critique on millennials themselves, but a reminder for all to understand how spending money today, may prevent us from saving for tomorrow.
The comments arose from a TIME interview with the millionaire about how he did not spend his money on avocado toast and $4 coffee, multiple times a day, when he was young. Surely times have changed since said Australian millionaire was young and he had other priorities at the time – which may not have included avocado toast. However, what he is trying to drive home, is the importance of budgeting.
For those that are trying to save money for a down payment on their first home, it is important to think about living within your means. Perhaps those trips to the coffee shop and Sunday brunches could be fewer per month to help save a few hundred dollars a month.
If you are spending an average of $4 per coffee at your local café on your lunch hour or coffee break at work, that could add up to approximately $80 per month. For many, those coffees are added to their credit cards where only the minimum payment is made at the end of the month. As such, those $80 per month have increased to more than 99$ at a 24% interest rate (and continues to compound over the months you carry your balance). For those few who pay off their credit card before the end of the month, even saving an extra $80 per month can add up to a pretty solid down payment on a home over months and years.
Today, we are more prone to instant gratification and those coffees and avocado toasts may seem like harmless frivolities that don’t amount to much. However, every little bit counts when planning for your future. I often tell people that today’s non-essential purchase is a hindrance to their future home which helps puts things into perspective for them – and serves as a catalyst to saving.
Budgeting is essential when looking to buy your first home. This includes looking for a home and mortgage solution that work best within your monthly budget. For example, if you are earning $4,000 per month, it would be ill-advised to have mortgage payments that nears $2,000. Perhaps a starter home is all you need which will allow you to invest in your home, grow your equity and then use that for your next home in a few more years. Do you need that 2,500sq foot home right away, or can you live in a 800sq foot home for a few years before moving into a bigger place?
Making the right financial decisions can be difficult for many families. As a mortgage broker I have seen many people struggle trying to buy their first home and invest for their future. Luckily, though, I have also been able to work with them to find mortgage solutions that make sense for their very personal financial situations.
Should you need help securing a mortgage for your first home, please be sure to contact me. In the meantime, ease up on the avocado toasts and $4 coffees. Make them at home for you and your friends instead, I’ve even included a link to a video for nine different types of avocado toast here!