A castle of your own

Home-ownership is like the Holy Grail. Are you prepared to fight off the dragons to win?

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It’s normal to want to own a castle of your own. Slaying the various dragons to get over the moat is a whole ‘nother story. Whether you’re facing the I-Work-Hard-So-I-Deserve-It Dragon or the Having-More-Means-A-Better-Life Dragon, you’ve got to do battle to carve out the money you’ll need for a downpayment.

Step 1: Figure out how much you want to have saved.

Step 2: Decide how long it’ll be until you buy your castle.

Step 3: Beat back the Dragons of Spending to pile up your pot of gold.

If you want to buy a $375,000 house and you want to put 20% down (which you should), you’d need to save $75,000. Planning to take possession of that beautiful chateau on the hill in four years? That gives you 48 months to pile up your treasure. Divide your $75,000 goal by 48 and you come up with $1,562.50 a month.

Now it’s time to get out your sword and start cutting those dragons down to size so you have the money you’ll need. You’re going to be ruthless in your slashing. The urge to spend will rear its ugly head: dinner out with friends or a quick pizza on the way home so you don’t have to cook, along with the latest DVD, the broken iPod you have to replace and your sister’s baby shower. You must battle through the smoke and fire of consumerism to not spend the money.

Having a picture of your citadel pasted on the fridge can help keep you focused. A picture in your wallet will be your shield against pulling out your plastic. Surround yourself with reminders of why you’re not spending – what you’re working towards – to help cut those dragons down to size.

Cutting expenses is only one strategy to increasing the contents of your treasure box. You might also want to take on some side jobs so that you have more money to sock away. Failing that, you might decide to buy a smaller castle or wait a little longer to make your dream come true.

Hey, it’s your dream. You have to make it work. Just know, there are dragons in them thar hills!

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