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Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life. When you put a larger down payment on the property, this reduces the amount you owe substantially. Experts recommend a 20 percent down payment on a home, reducing mortgage payment amounts and preventing you from going into debt. While it is not necessary to put a down payment on a home, doing so will have the house paid off quicker and prevent foreclosure issues from becoming a problem.

Here are some tips for saving for a down payment on a home:

1. Figure Out How Much to Save

It’s a good first step to figure out how much you should be saving for the down payment in the first place. Let’s say that your budget for a home is $200,000. This means that in order to have a solid down payment, you’ll need to stash away $40,000 for the upcoming sale. You don’t have to save for 20 percent of the down payment, but this specific amount guarantees long-term home stability and prevents accumulating debt when having a hefty mortgage payment each month. The more you save for the down payment, the better off you’ll be when purchasing the property.

2. Avoid High-Risk Saving Investments

It might seem tempting to put your down payment account into a stock, bond or get-rich-quick scheme, but you could potentially lose all that you have saved overnight if things go sour. Putting your down payment into a savings account or certificate of deposit guarantees slow, but steady growth.

3. Make Room for a Budget

Right now, you may be living with your parents, friends or in a rented apartment. No matter what your expenditures are right now, setting up a budget can provide you with the additional funds to set aside for the upcoming down payment you hope to make. Try to eliminate unnecessary spending, such as going out to eat every other day, buying new clothes when you don’t need them or spending money on frivolous activities that can be totally avoided.

4. Establish an Automated Savings Plan

Automated savings plans are great for the lazy investor. You can connect your paycheck or other source of income directly to your savings account, avoiding the hassle of doing it manually. If you’ve had issues in the past where you had the money to save, but you forgot to do it, this is the account you’re going to need. Put as much money into the account as you can possibly afford, as a tiny amount won’t accumulate much over time.

5. Benefit from Financial Windfalls

Tax refunds, birthday gifts, wedding presents and bonuses from work are all considered windfall money. You might have heard people say that if it’s unexpected money, you should spend it on something frivolous for yourself. This is the exact opposite of what you should do with these funds. Put this extra money into your savings account to buy a home and you’ll be glad you did.

6. Don’t Be Rigid to the Point of Falling Into Debt

One of the worst things you can do is become so rigid in your down payment savings account that you neglect other bills. Life is inevitable and things can happen that require an emergency savings fund. Expensive car repairs, medical bills or even the loss of a job necessitates additional funds to prevent you from falling into debt. If you need to dip into your down payment account for one of these emergencies, don’t feel bad about it. It’s better to stay in a rental than to go into debt after buying a home because of unpaid bills.

Your experience buying a home will be both exciting and horrifying. There is a certain level of fear that comes with being locked into a mortgage with a bank. Foreclosures have hit an all-time high with more than 250,000 families experiencing the loss of their properties every three months. Because of these staggering numbers, it can be terrifying to think that it could potentially happen to you if you don’t keep up with mortgage payments. The best way to prevent foreclosure is to reduce the amount you owe on the home, making payments more reasonable and affordable. The method used to facilitate this is putting money toward a considerable down payment.