Raising your kids alone is tough enough – but it’s even harder if you’re also saving up to buy a home.
Single dad-of-one Gregory Tiamao finds ways to reduce childcare costs for his three-year-old son, Lucius, to help him raise enough cash to buy his £257,000 first home.
Gregory, a 34-year-old gas engineer, switched gyms to take advantage of childcare benefits — halving the amount he spends on kids’ activities per month.
Lucius’s grandparents are also able to help take care of her – which meant that Gregory could work overtime on Saturdays, having to receive an additional £100 a month to deposit the £9,000 needed for his flat.
doing free activities Camping in Grandma’s garden, like Lucius, and swapping out the cinema for fun nature walks helped save even more.
But saving as a single parent is often much more difficult than saving as part of a couple.
Not only do you rely on a salary to save for a deposit, but people who buy homes on their own can’t borrow as much for a mortgage.
according to which?
Gregory had to spend more than half his salary on his £1,050-a-month rent bill, meaning he had little to spare.
That’s one reason they used it shared ownership scheme So that he can make it economical to get his own house.
Shared ownership plans allow buyers to purchase a portion of the equity in the property if they cannot take out a mortgage for the total value of the home.
You then pay rent on the remaining portion of the house which is owned by the housing association that runs the plan.
Gregory received no financial help for deposits from friends or family, and returned to his home in February after years of savings.
Surya chose his brain how he saved a house for him and his little boy for us my first home Chain.
what is your home like?
This is a two bed flat in a four storey development – I’m on the first floor.
There is an open plan living room, kitchen and dining room.
I have a bathroom, and a lovely Juliet balcony – I open the large doors to cool the living room.
I found my home through Rightmove.
How did you decide about the location?
I needed to be in Stevenage to be close to both of Lucius’s great-grandmothers, who live 10 minutes away.
They help with childcare as I am raising Lucius myself.
I also needed to be close to the A1 and M1 for work – I am a self employed gas engineer and travel in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
how much did you pay for it?
The house was worth £257,000, and I used a shared ownership scheme to buy 35% of it for £90,000.
You only need to make a deposit – a minimum of 5% – on the portion of the house you wish to buy.
I decided to make a 10% deposit of £9,000, which means my mortgage payments are lower.
My mortgage is £81,000 for five years at a fixed interest rate of 4%.
Each month I pay £313 in mortgage repayment and £364 in rent to my housing association, the Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association.
At first, I was reluctant to buy a property using the shared ownership scheme.
I’ve heard it’s hard to sell when you want to move, because you have to find a buyer who is eligible for this plan.
I also wanted to be the owner of my entire house.
But talking to friends who had bought their house through this scheme five years ago changed my mind.
I’m looking forward to the ladder (where you buy more equity in the property) and eventually buy all the houses.
How did you save for this?
It was difficult to put money aside, because I was renting while I was saving.
Every month I paid £1,050 in rent, which meant I had only a little money left over after paying all the bills and food.
My earnings were around £1,500 to £1,900 a month.
I made it a rule to keep something different in my savings account every week—even if it’s just one term—to get into the habit of saving.
As a self-employed employee, I do not have a set salary – which has made budgeting a firm savings budget difficult.
One of the main ways I saved money was to cut childcare costs.
Lucius’s grandparents take care of him two days a week, which really helps me while I work.
This meant I could do some extra work on Saturdays, and I was earning an extra £100 a month from it.
I also left my gym and joined another gym which had a lot of kids activities.
So instead of paying £120 a month on days like trampolining with Lucius, I’ll take her to activities at the local gym.
At £53 a month, my new gym membership actually cost more than my old one, which was £30, but it actually halved my spending because I got so much more value from the extracurricular activities on offer.
It offered free kids classes such as Lego building and swimming lessons. There was also a nursery, which helped me a lot with the care of the children.
Replacing expensive activities for free helped me save.
And luckily, Lucius always opted to go to Grandma’s house and go to the cinema to play with the bugs in the garden.
We even camped in his garden – he talked about it for months.
Planning meals before I went shopping helped me cut down on the cost of going to the supermarket.
I was spending more than I needed because I hadn’t been on an inventory before – so I saved a total of £40 per week, reducing my bill from £100 to £60.
Have you had any trouble buying a house?
I’m self-employed, which makes it hard to get a mortgage.
I was struggling to find a deal with a high street lender and ended up taking out a loan with a specialist mortgage provider.
I may have to pay a higher interest rate than many other borrowers.
The process was incredibly frustrating – there was a problem with my paperwork in particular that delayed my exchange for a few months.
My mortgage lender put the wrong address on my forms and that meant I had to live with my mother in her spare bedroom because I had already handed over my notice on the flat I was renting.
Advice for other first time buyers?
It takes a long time to save if you are a single parent.
But even if you set aside a little every week or month, it all helps.
My biggest motivation was something my little boy left behind.
Make sure you have your own goals to keep you going.
Here’s How One Buyer Got Used The First Time simple savings challenge To help him save for his £270,000 home.
Another buyer worked Another job at McDonald’s To help pay for her first house £252,000.
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