Husband and I have lived together for eons, renting various houses around our city. We had mixed feelings about renting, there are some definite positives, but there are also horror stories – we just happened to get lucky.

keys in the door

With our last couple of job changes we were making good money and so we decided to start saving for a deposit. In 2021, an Independent article indicated that around 49% of first time buyers were getting help from their parents to purchase their first home, we were not in that 49%. Much as our parents would have liked to help us out it just wasn’t possible. So, we started saving.

One of our first jobs was to look at how much we needed, and how much of a mortgage we could afford. We found a mortgage calculator and started plugging in the numbers to help us estimate our monthly payments as well as our target savings amount. We came to a couple of really important conclusions fairly early on:

  • We didn’t want to cut all of the fun out of our budget, we needed to be in this for the long haul
  • We didn’t want to underestimate our mortgage payments (gone are the days of mortgages being cheaper than renting), we needed to make sure we could afford them on one salary
  • We needed a spreadsheet!

Husband created a spreadsheet, we set up savings pots (I love a savings pot) and set about trying to save our deposit and watched our pennies grow. Each month we religiously sat down and looked at where we were, and what size house we could afford until we were in a position to start looking. The waiting part was really hard!

When the pandemic hit in 2020 we were probably a year or two away from being able to afford a deposit, after the initial panic of whether we were going to keep our jobs (thankfully we did) because we weren’t doing anything (who was?!) we found that there was more money left at the end of the month, and we were able to save a little more than we expected. Suddenly our pot was starting to grow a bit quicker and our time to wait was getting shorter.

We spoke with a financial adviser who gave us our options and kindly talked us through the process – no-one tells you what is involved and what order you do everything in! I’ve never felt like such a novice (well, until I became a parent!).

Of course, to begin with we couldn’t see houses, so trying to do anything about it was tough, but as soon as things opened up we were able to make some appointments and view some property! We did not enjoy this process. I’ve since spoken to lots of people who claim to love this, but I found it difficult to visualise living in a lot of the houses, and husband and I couldn’t seem to agree on anything.

Fast forward to early 2021 and we found *the house*. It was actually the 3rd or 4th house that we put an offer in on, but it was meant to be and we were able to move in during the summer. We love our house and are slowly starting to put our own stamp on things (I’ve not yet been brave enough to put colour on the wall!).


One of the things that I am keen to do is make overpayments to our mortgage so that we can bring down the term. Back to our trusty mortgage calculator which lets us know how much we need to pay to bring the loan length down. We have started a separate savings pot (see I told you, love a pot!) and are building up a month’s overpayment at a time. I am attempting to side-hustle a lot of it. I use the Emma Drew 1% at a time principle to help me think about it in small amounts, rather than getting overwhelmed by the whole amount.

It’s been a whole journey, but overall, I love that we had our own home to bring our baby into and I’m proud of us for getting on the property ladder by ourselves.

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