9 Quick Ways to Save Up for a Down-Payment


Sometimes life happens quicker than you expect it to.

One minute you’re enjoying living with your parents or with a friend, and the next thing you know you need to buy a house.

One problem though, you don’t have enough cash saved up to make a down-payment. You need to come up with some money and you need to do it fast (and legally of course).

You don’t have three years to save a percentage of your income for a down-payment in the future, you need to speed up this process by 5 or 10 times

If this situation describes the circumstances you find yourself in, keep reading – as this article will go over 9 ways you can quickly save up money for a down-payment.

Sell Your Most Valuable Possessions

Painful I know. But one of the quickest ways to save up money for a down-payment is to sell your most valuable possessions.

Think about what you own, do you own a car? Any expensive jewellery? Maybe a small boat?  Expensive furniture or art?

Or what about any financial investments you already own? Do you own any stock or bond? ETFs or Mutual Funds? Gold or Silver?

Whatever assets you own, think about selling them in order to make quick money for a down-payment.

Now I’m not suggesting that you sell your grandfather’s ring that he wore in World War 2, as some things are more valuable than money, but most people who need to buy a house have at least a few thousand dollars worth of valuables to their name that they can liquidate for cash.

If you’re struggling to sell something that means a lot to you, just think about what will matter more to you. A house in a few months, or these valuable possessions in a few years. Only you can be the judge of that.

I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think car manufacturers are going out of business any time soon, and as long as we keep paying outrageous prices for jewelry, there will always be more jewellery to buy. 

So keep this in mind when trying to weigh the pros and cons of this option. If you can commit to selling some of your most expensive things, keep reading and see if one of our other options works for you!

Get a Second Job

If you want to save up money quickly for a down payment, I’m talking a 4-6 month time frame, think about getting a second job and using that income specifically for your down-payment.

But here’s the thing, try and find a job that pays an over minimum wage. It could help you reach your savings goal a lot quicker.

Finding a job on a whim that has flexible hours and great pay isn’t easy, but consider a job that offers tips such as a bartender, waiter/waitress or a taxi driver, just to name a few.

Other great ways to earn a solid side-income is to become a driver for ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.  

Similarly, if you’d rather have a Mcdonalds burger in your back seat as opposed to a person, consider delivering food on apps like SkiptheDishes or DoorDash.

Apps that work under a sharing economy business model, like the ones listed above, give their workers complete flexibility on when they want to work and for how long they want to work for.

So consider something like this and then GRIND for 4-6 months. Work as many hours as you possibly can until you meet your savings goals.

It might not be the most glamorous 6-month period of your life, but hey, fast tracking anything takes sacrifice.

Start Budgeting

If you want to speed up your process in saving money for a down-payment, you need to start budgeting.

I can’t stress this enough, budgeting is key when setting saving goals of any kind.

Why? Because you need to know where your money is going. 

Have you ever looked at your bank balance and wondered, “WTF? Where did I spend my money?” Yeah, me too.

Step #1

First, look back at your last 6 months of bank statements. Where can you be saving a few hundreds each month?

Maybe you need to cut your cable, give up restaurants, unsubscribe from Netflix and Crave and HBO, and Hulu and Amazon Prime and… should I go on? 

Point being, I guarantee you’ll find saving opportunities in your bank statements. 

You probably won’t save four figures a month from doing this (unless you live a really extravagant lifestyle), but you can certainly save a few hundred each month, and over the course of a few months, those savings really add up.

And hey, these cutbacks don’t have to be permanent, god knows how easy it is these days to resubscribe to cancelled subscriptions.

Step #2

Now that you’ve made some cutbacks and you have some extra cash flow, make sure you allocate those extra funds to your savings account.

There’s no point in saving money on one thing if you’re just going to spend it on something else that doesn’t bring you closer to your saving goals.

Give every dollar you earn a job,$1200 on down-payment savings, $500 on rent, $300 on groceries, $150 on transportation, $100 entertainment (you still got to live a little) and so on.

Obviously I am just using arbitrary numbers here, but you get the point I’m trying to market.

Every dollar you earn should have a specific purpose, and then make sure you stick to your plan and track your progress throughout each month.

I use the Mint App for all my budgeting needs and I love it. I talk about all the great features it offers and why I use it in my review post here.

This tip for quickly saving money for a down-payment is one that should be used regardless of what other options you choose here. 

Not only that, but even if you’re not saving money for a house, budgeting is just a life skill that everyone should learn how to do.

Withdraw Money from Your Emergency Fund

Okay, if you don’t have an emergency fund, you can probably skip the option, but if you do, withdrawing from it to speed up your down-payment savings plan could be a great option for you. 

I personally don’t love the idea of withdrawing money from my emergency fund for any other reason than an emergency, but maybe your need to buy a house quickly is an emergency? 

If you don’t know what an emergency fund is, that’s okay too, check out our article Emergency Fund Amount | How Much Should I Have Saved? to learn all about them.

For those of you who do have 3-6 month worth of expenses saved up in case of emergency but struggle with the idea of cashing some or all of it out for a down-payment, I feel your pain.

I often think my leg could be falling off and all I need to do is withdraw $1,000 from my emergency fund and I still wouldn’t do it. 

Having an emergency fund in place will give you such peace of mind, from a financial perspective, that they become hard to withdraw from. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But with that said, remember, when you buy a house you are investing in an asset, so you’re net worth won’t be diminished by withdrawing funds from an emergency fund and putting it into a down payment. 

Your asset allocation will change from cash to real estate, but your net worth will remain the same. So maybe that will help you loosen the grips on your emergency fund? 

Something to think about! Next.

Go on a 90-Day Saving Blitz

Okay, so a 90-day saving blitz might not be something you find anywhere else on the internet, because well, I basically made this up. But trust me, I’ve done this myself and it works.

Take 3 months, or 90 days, and commit to spending barely any money. I mean basically no money at all. 

Obviously you are going to have to spend some money on the absolute necessities like food and shelter, but even on those things, think of creative ways you can avoid those expenses.

Move home, freeload of a friend, drink only water and buy cheap boxed up food, avoid bars and restaurants, disconnect your cable, unsubscribe from Netflix, steal toilet paper from public washrooms if you have too!

Okay, maybe not the last one. But seriously, going on a 90-day saving blitz is a CHALLENGE, but it can be a lot of fun.

You’ll have to commit to it, so it might be a good idea to tell your family and close friends that you basically plan on being a hermit for the next 90 days, but there is nothing wrong with that.

You don’t have to lock yourself in doors for the rest of your life, but just avoid all unnecessary spending and cut back on even the necessities for 90 days. 

You won’t be perfect, you might slip up here and there, but give it a real shot and you’ll find yourself way ahead of where you would have been if you opted not to challenge yourself.

I did this a few years ago when I was flat out broke, and yeah, it had its moments where it sucked, but looking back at it, it was actually kind of an eye opening experience and it made me realize how much money I spend on crap that doesn’t add much value to my life anyway.

Do it, do it, do it (chanting voice).

Start a Side Hustle

In order to quickly save up money for a down payment, consider starting up a little side business or as many people like to call them – a side hustle.

What’s the difference? I don’t really know, but there are plenty of ways you can make money today without working as an employee for a company.

And it goes without saying, you don’t have to make millions of dollars from this side hustle, you just have to make enough money to fund your down-payment.

Similar to the “Get a Second Job” option we discussed above, make sure you save all the income you earn from this side hustle and put it towards your down payment. 

It makes no sense to earn extra money running a side-hustle if you just end up spending it on something other than your down-payment. Why bother at all then?

Now you might be wondering, what kind of side-hustle should I start? 

Well the options are really endless, I wrote an article titled 9 Easy Ways to Make Money Without Owning a Business where I talk about nine side hustles you can start without having to fully commit yourself to starting a business.

Additionally, anyone who has read my articles before knows how much I believe in Instagram as a platform to generate an income with, so here is another article I wrote about how you can go about doing this. 

But these are just a few of my ideas, there are plenty of other side hustle opportunities that you can pursue. Just pick something that makes sense for you and work your ass off for 4-6 months.

My favourite method of making money on the side is through blogging, while I don’t get rich from it, it’s a great way to make extra money every month while doing something that is personally rewarding.

For a step by step guide on how to start a blog, check out my article Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps | Step by Step Guide (2022) This article will give you a detailed, step by step guide on how to about getting a blog setup. It’s the exact same method I use for setting up the current blog you are reading, and again – it’s really inexpensive. The web-hosting platform I recommend is less than $5 per month.

Looking To Start Your Own Website or Blog?

Try Bluehost Today (Less than 5$/Month)

  • 70% Off with Sign up Through the Financial Geek
  • 1-Click WordPress Install
  • Free Domain Name with Sign Up
  • 300+ Design Templates
  • 24/7 Expert Support

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a career or a full time thing for you, enjoy it or not, you just need to make a few thousand dollars until you can afford the cost of your down payment.

Sell Things on Second-Hand Marketplaces

Have you ever considered selling ordinary things you own as a way to save up for a down-payment a little quicker?

Earlier in this article I talked about how a good way to speed up your down-payment savings process was to sell some valuable assets you own, but for most of us, we only have a few large, expensive items to our name that we are willing to part with.

So this option is all about quantity over quality. Instead of selling a few large items, sell a lot of small items.

Think about everything you own but never use – clothes, gaming systems, sports equipment, books, whatever it is, everyone owns stuff they don’t use anymore.

Make use of your unused items and put them on second hand marketplaces like Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace, just to name a few.

You’ll be surprised how quickly it sells on these marketplaces –  As the famous saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

If you sell off all your unused items but you still haven’t met your down-payment savings goal, start looking for undervalued items on these marketplaces and flip them.

I used to do this with iPhones around Christmas time and I made a killing.

Again, to do anything quicker than normal, you have to think outside the box.

Driving across town to sell an iPhone 6s on a raining night in mid-December might not be the funnest thing in the world to do, but hey, whatever it takes to get the job done.

Take Advantage of the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan

If you’re not Canadian or you don’t have an RRSP, you can skip to the next option.

If you are a Canadian but don’t have an RRSP setup yet, I’d recommend you get one setup! (Top 9 Benefits of an RRSP)

Open up an RRSP Today with Wealthsimple and Earn a $25 Bonus with your Sign-up.

For those of you who have money saved up in their RRSP for retirement, consider taking advantage of the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan.

Put simply, the Canadian Government allows Canadians to withdraw up to $35,000 (as of 2020) from their RRSP in order to purchase their first house.

Now you might be wondering, what’s the big deal with this? 

Well typically, any RRSP withdrawals you make before retirement are subject to withholding and income taxes. So the amount you actually get from your RRSP withdrawal is usually much less than the amount you actually withdraw.

In other words, you’ll lose money.

But not with the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan, as long as your withdrawal is put towards buying or building a home, you can enjoy a tax-free withdrawal up to $35,000.

Not bad, hey?

Related Financial Geek Article: How to Open an RRSP with Wealthsimple | Step-by-Step Guide

And while this program by the Canadian government is very beneficial to some first time home buyers, there are some disadvantages of doing this.

The most notable one being that you must pay back your withdrawal to your RRSP within 15 years, and the repayment process is a little strict.

I wrote an article called 4 Disadvantages of the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan that goes more into detail about the disadvantages of this plan.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider this option just because it has some disadvantages, but I just want to make sure you know the pros and cons of doing so before making a decision on it.

Ask Your Family or Friends for a Loan

Last but not the least, if all else fails, you can always ask your friends or family members for a short term loan.

This way, you won’t have to worry about any of the things we talked about above -except budgeting, it’s always good to budget.

You can keep your valuables, avoid getting a second-job, keep your emergency fund intact and just get a lump sum loan from someone close to you. 

And while there are many pros to this option, there are some obvious downsides to it as well.

Business arrangements amongst people you care about is always a risk – family feuds, damaged friendships, awkward relationships, all out family brawls (wait what!?)

If things go south, you have to be prepared for those consequences.

With a simple short-term loan though, there shouldn’t be much issue – pay the money back and move on.

But where things could go wrong is if you run into a money shortage once you move into your new house and you’re unable to make the repayments. 

I’d suggest making a formal, written agreement with the lender with the repayment terms laid out in a simple manner.

Money should be repaid by this date, in these increments, with this much interest, or whatever you guys decide on.  

By having an agreement in place like this, you’ll avoid any awkwardness or tension during the time-frame where you are making your repayments.

If things do go bad, and a family brawl breaks out, please get someone to video tape it and send it to noel@thefinancialgeek.com, I would love to watch.

Jokes aside, send it to my personal email.

Conclusion

Okay, so there you have it. 9 quick ways to save up for a down-payment.

To recap, here they are again:

  1. Sell Your Most Valuable Possessions
  2. Get a Second Job
  3. Start Budgeting
  4. Withdraw Money from Your Emergency Fund
  5. Go on a 90-Day Saving Blitz
  6. Start a Side Hustle
  7. Take Advantage of the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan
  8. Sell Things on Second-Hand Marketplaces
  9. Ask Your Family or Friends for a Loan

Buying a house is a big decision in one’s life, buy something you love, but stay within your budget. 

Hey that’s another way to quickly save up money for your down-payment, just buy a cheaper house! God damn, why didn’t I think of that earlier. That might be the best one yet.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this article and with any luck, you learned a thing or two. Take two or three of these suggestions and put them to work and watch what happens.

Geek, out.

Noel Moffatt

Noel Moffatt is the founder and main contributor for his blog - The Financial Geek. Based in Canada, Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 300k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

Recent Posts

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]