I’m trying to save money for a down payment on a house, but literally I feel like I’m not saving anything. And I don’t really want to dip into my 401k because I’m younger (26) and I want that compounding interest for years to come. I am putting away 12%, I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

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You start with your salary. You take home that less taxes, insurance, 401k, etc. You have expenses like food, rent, etc. whatever is left put into savings. If that is not enough, you have to change a variable. Either increase your income or reduce a payroll deduction like 401k or reduce expenses. The other possibility is that you are saving as much as you can and it will take longer to hit your savings goal

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Have you sat down to break down where the other 88% is going?
Do you know that Down payments can be as low as 5%?

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You can’t have it all, give and take, compromise to achieve what is most important.

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I’d recommend know how much house you want to buy, map out a ~2 year plan of how much you’d have to put away each month to have that down payment. Then write down monthly expenses and see where you could cut costs and other ways you can make more money.

Also, don’t get in the mindset of, “I want that $575,000 4/3 as my first home for my future family.” You can use your first home as a stepping stone and upgrade after living in it for 5 or so years.

If you’ve done all the above and still aren’t making progress, look at a job that’d pay more or contract work to bring in more income.

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