A young British couple has shared the extraordinary money-saving journey that culminated in buying a house together after just six months. Best of all, they didn’t borrow a cent from family or friends.
Aged just 19 and 20, deputy manager Wiktoria Zaucha and customer service employee Joshua Shaw, both from Birmingham in England, set their sights on buying a home together. In January 2020, they signed the papers on their West Midlands home, making it official.
“In total, it took about 6 to 12 months to find the perfect place,” said Shaw, as per The Mirror, adding, “It came with sacrifices.”
The impetus to buy a home was fueled by learning that rental costs in their local area far surpassed what they would be expected to pay in monthly mortgage repayments. “When you look at the cost of renting, it just made sense to invest in our own place, rather than someone else’s,” Shaw explained.
Both Zaucha and Shaw were earning a salary of 18,000 pounds (US$23,066) at the time of applying for their mortgage.
The thrifty couple decided to add to their existing savings by eliminating luxuries, nights out, restaurant meals, and holidays. The couple made the most of the hospitality of their friends by sofa-surfing, and Shaw even sold his car.
“We’d both been saving for a while, just not necessarily to buy a house,” Shaw explained to the Daily Mail. “If you go into employment after school, like we did, and are willing to sacrifice things like nights out, holidays, and takeaways for a little while, then it’s definitely possible.”
The industrious couple worked 16-hour days back to back, which was “exhausting, but worth it,” Shaw said.
As per the Daily Mail, prior to saving, the couple’s combined outgoings totaled roughly 800 pounds (US$1,025) per month. Their cutbacks reaped immense financial rewards.
Shaw advised to sock away 40 to 50 percent of all wages that are put into the bank and to forget about that liquidity as soon as possible.
In just six months, the couple had saved over 6,000 pounds (US$7,689) each, totaling almost 13,000 pounds (US$16,659) to be used for a 5 percent down payment on their dream house with assistance from the U.K. government’s “Help to Buy” program.
“We happened to visit a countryside development, ‘Wards Keep,’ one evening and as soon as we did we knew that was the one,” Shaw explained to the Daily Mail. Zaucha and Shaw’s chosen three-story home has a master bedroom with skylights and an en suite, and a fully open-plan ground floor.
“We were confident that a new build house was what we wanted,” Shaw continued, “mainly because they are lower maintenance than older homes. Neither of us have a lot of experience with DIY, so a new build just felt like the right fit for first time buyers like us.”
The U.K. government’s “Help to Buy” requires potential homeowners to come up with a 5 percent deposit, in return offering a 20 percent loan, interest-free for five years, to cover the cost of the home down payment.
“[I]t’s great to see younger couples like Joshua and Wiktoria break the rental cycle by taking advantage of the scheme,” said Adam Daniels, a real estate agent at West Midlands Countryside Properties, as per The Mirror.
Zaucha and Shaw, enjoying the environs of their brand-new three-bedroom abode, advised others that it is perfectly realistic to save for a house at such a young age.
“Some people may think that buying at our age is unrealistic,” Shaw reflected. “[B]ut my honest opinion is that buying at 19 and 20 is completely achievable, if that’s genuinely what you want.”