A couple has been able to get a foot on the property ladder by forgoing date nights out and going for lockdown-inspired walks instead.
Olivia Gill, now 20, and Jack Eacott, now 22, realised they were saving lots of money during the height of the pandemic by not being unable to go on normal dates.
When the world reopened, the pair decided to continue going for free walks around the park instead of spending money on going on nights out together.
Olivia, who works as a commercial officer, said: ‘Having our own house has taken some getting used to, but it’s such a positive feeling to see how all the sacrifice was worth it.
‘We opened a joint bank account which was a big motivator to help save as we were able to see the savings increase at a much quicker rate.
‘We had to make some sacrifices along the way, lockdown helped us to continue to save through walks and not having the option to go out was really good for our saving strategy.
‘We got the deposit through the Government’s Help to Buy 5% scheme, which helped us to secure the house, which costs £232,000. Through saving in our joint account we were able to secure the £12,000 deposit.’
The couple were able to buy their first home, a two-bed house in Chippenham, Wiltshire, and moved in in July.
Olivia admitted that she and carpenter Jack are in a unique position for people their age.
She said: ‘None of our friends have their own home. A lot of my friends are at university, so I found it quite hard to relate to them, and now I have my own home and my friends are nowhere near a position like this.
‘Our friends and family have all been so supportive of us throughout the saving journey and now are just so happy that we have got what we have been working for.
‘To anyone with a similar goal to us, I would always say to be realistic with what you can save, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you will reach your goal.
‘Looking into the future is such a good motivator, maybe I can’t get what I want right now, but I will have it in the future.
‘We had to sacrifice a few nights out, but we still enjoyed our time, opting for cheaper restaurants and plenty of walks which started in lockdown.
‘Planning out your finances is such an important part of saving, now that we have moved into the house we use the joint account to focus on money for the bills, and we have opened a new account which we solely use for food.
‘We give ourselves £50 a week for food shopping, which allows us to see what excess we have for enjoying ourselves during the month,
‘Staying on top of our finances has helped us reach the first big stepping stone on the property ladder.
‘Hopefully, us documenting our journey on our @jacknlivv Instagram page can help motivate others in their goals to make their house a home on a budget.
‘The cost of living crisis has hit the UK hard, but I’m hoping our budget home décor can help inspire people to continue to create their dream home in an affordable way.’
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