FROM TENANT TO HOMEOWNER: Can you really save a home deposit while renting?

Saving for a house: it seems an impossible task in an era that’s seeing property prices in Greater Sydney outrun inflation rates, leave the income ratio for dead, and buyer demand completely off the charts.

Add to that renting, keeping on top of bills and getting a handle on post-pandemic life (aka, returning to coffee catch-ups, Opal fares and spending on petrol after a complete lifestyle lockdown…), and suddenly those deposit savings seem to dwindle.

Sure, lockdown showed us how to save on those little luxuries… for those of us who had this option in the first place. But, let’s face it, life became pretty miserable.

So how on earth can renters get a foot on the property ladder, while still living?

Rule number 1: It’s going to take time. There is no magic bullet to quickly saving a deposit (unless of course, winning the lottery…). But, there are ways to get you there quicker…. and no, it’s not just about forfeiting that smashed avo on toast.


Back in 2016, it was the Barefoot Investor movement that saw thousands of Aussies ‘domino their debts’ by setting up savings and spendings buckets to get ahead. And, the reason why it’s worked for so many since boils down to one simple principle (among others): put your savings away first

Adopting a new payday ritual of putting aside a percentage of your pay into an account means that you’re more likely to keep that money and forget about it, than to spend it. A step better is to make this a high interest account, which most banks offer – so it’s worth asking yours.

Get (seriously) thrifty.

After the past two years, we can all agree it’s important to ‘treat yo self’. But are you actually spending on things that aren’t a treat, deducting from your bank account without you really noticing?

All of those streaming services and online subscriptions depend on their customers to sign up and simply forget about them, to make their dollars – and they can certainly stack up. Create a list of all of your streaming services and subscriptions, and detox the ones you haven’t used in a while. It might be worth pausing them for a few months and restarting them later, when there’s an influx of new content… yep, it may actually be cheaper to binge.

The same rule can apply for unused everyday items such as clothing, which might be gathering dust in your wardrobe. Can you turn them into cash? Facebook marketplace is great for one-off sales, but there’s just as many platforms that allow you to rent your goods for a constant income stream; Outdress, The Volte and Glamcorner are just a few examples. As for buying for that next event… is brand new really worth the money?

Consider where – and how – you’re renting.

A guaranteed way to make your weekly budget go further is to look at how much you’re paying for rent. While it may be tempting to stay put if you’ve found a great rental, it could be the difference between achieving your goal of buying, or not. 

To ‘trim’ your rental budget may require thinking:

  • Can I move to a cheaper suburb nearby? 
  • Can I work/study remotely for a period of time to move to a cheaper place further out?
  • Do I need the space I have? Can I downsize?
  • Can I get a roommate or go in with friends or family to reduce my rent?

Moving to a cheaper rent setup could land a few extra hundred dollars in your pocket each month, potentially stacking up to the earnings of an additional job.

Have a chat with someone who knows.

A quick Google of budgeting assistance will show you endless income specialists, financial planners and even ‘financial counselling’. Some good, some not-so good, but it’s worth doing your research. 

Find out what fees they charge (to know what you’ll be up for upfront), and what they can assist with. Having professional advice may help you not only to create a solid plan, but to stick to it, by setting realistic goals and boundaries. 

For a good start, see MoneySmart’s article on how to choose a good financial advisor here.

Remember, the market won’t always be like this.

In the face of buyer chaos, it can seem like an uphill battle (and perhaps a neverending nightmare for some!) to step into the real estate market – whether for the first time, or as a seller re-entering the market to upgrade while prices continue to climb.

But, the important thing to remember is that the real estate market is a cycle. Following every boom is a downturn and stabilisation… and while it’s near impossible to predict when this will happen, the fact is that it will

The current market boom in Greater Sydney is largely driven by buyer panic, fear of missing out and concern about rising interest rates, but this won’t be the case forever. And for some hopeful homeseekers, the thought of that might be enough to keep the saving momentum going, knowing that there’s every chance of a property slump in the future – and at that point, it’ll be time to apply for a home loan, hit the opens and secure that dream home with those hard-earned dollars.

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 |

Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 |

Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields |  (02) 9605 5333 |
Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 |