From Help to Buy ISAs and working three jobs to avoiding rented accommodation, first time buyers are taking drastic measures in order to place their feet firmly on that first rung of the property ladder. There’s so much to consider when purchasing your first home, from deciding which lender is offering the best mortgage product to which home survey to choose. But ultimately, none of this can take place unless you have enough funds saved to put that offer in and exchange contracts.

Here, three first time buyers talk about what they did (or are doing) to save up for their mortgage and the setbacks and triumphs along the way.

Charlie Nicholas, age 25, Brighton – The prospective home buyer

Prospective buyer Charlie talks about how he is managing to save for his first house deposit, as well as the way he has gone about raising more money towards his savings each month:

“I have been saving since late 2015, I always knew I wanted to own my own home, and decided against ever renting as I feel it’s a waste of money. However, I do understand that for some people it’s the only way.

I opened a “Help to Buy ISA” with Halifax back in December 2015 when they went live and every month deposit £200 (the maximum) into the ISA – [although] it’s extremely frustrating as the bonus would come in so handy to put towards the deposit!

“I didn’t realise how much money you needed for the fees when purchasing a property. Not only do I need to save a 10% deposit, I also need around 4-5k for fees which I hadn’t originally accounted for. [But] I took on two extra jobs, so have been working every single day and hour imaginable to enable me to save as much money as possible and still have a decent quality of life.

“I took on two admin roles which worked around my 9-5, so an evening job and also Saturday and Sunday mornings. I will continue to work all three until I have my property and I’m settled. I long for the day I just have a 9-5 job! I have also cut back on my spending and going out, so instead of going out for a meal I tend to now go over to a friends and get a takeaway so it’s a lot cheaper. I still live with my parents which is very handy for saving, as I do not have many outgoings.

“I didn’t want to purchase with anyone as want the place I buy to be solely mine! I want to decorate my new home the way I like it, and if I was to buy with someone this would restrict me.

“I’m hoping to buy before I turn 26, so I have around six months! I don’t think anyone could say how long it actually takes to save for a deposit, as some people have rent to pay every month so will only be able to save a small amount. Everyone is in a different situation but my hat goes off to anyone who is saving or has saved and is now in a property of their own!”

Any additional advice? “Just keep at it! At first it’s daunting, as you only have a small amount saved, but once you have that first few thousand it seems a lot easier. Seeing your savings go up and up is such a great feeling! But remember to splurge every so often – what’s the point of working 100’s of hours if you don’t live a little!”

Jade Tilley age 31 and Chris Scott age 32, Coventry – The patient home owner

Home owner Jade Tilley has lived with her partner Chris for just under a year now, but maintained a long distance relationship between Peterborough and Coventry for nearly three years, while buying their first home and saving separately:

Location for us was very much dictated by our jobs. Chris’ job is based out of the West Midlands, whereas I was able to change my working environment and work from home, whilst remaining at the same company. So we decided that initially, for our first house, we would look at Coventry, which is Chris’s hometown.

“We were both very fortunate that our parents were supportive in the sense that we never felt pressured to leave the family home as soon as we graduated from university. This gave us both the opportunity to save without the added financial burden of paying rent. While we of course contributed to living at home with our parents (food bills etc.) we were able to save a large portion of our wages each month.

“It did mean that we were apart for longer than perhaps some couples would like but we were always pragmatic about it and knew that the end goal would see us in a home of our own.

“We’ve been together as a couple for over 10 years now and have only been living in the house for eight months (we spent two years after buying the house renovating it). It’s an unusual way of doing things but for us felt like the most practical way of being able to save. The money would have taken much longer to put away had we not done it this way. Admittedly we weren’t saving as soon as we met as we were fresh out of university and looking to establish our careers first.

Any additional advice? “Everyone’s circumstances are different but I’d say it really helps to have a good idea of what you’re saving towards. You’ll never know the exact house but you’ll have an idea of locations you’d like and the kind of house that ticks all your boxes, so do some market research of what you need to work towards and what your ideal budget will be.

“Save as hard as you can but not to the point where you resent it taking all your money. I also tried, where I could, to pick up little household bargains that I could put into storage so we had some useful items to move in with.

“It takes time but the day you get the keys is such a proud moment, it’s worth every penny.’

Laura Foulds and Robert Moore, both 26, York – The saver who started young 

Laura Foulds is now looking forward to a wedding, after purchasing her first home with her fiancé Robert. Here, she talks about how a savings account set up since the age of 16 helped them secure a deposit and their current property, as well as how simply cutting back can still leave room for holidays and a little fun:

“I purchased [my] house with my fiancé and we get on brilliantly despite never living together before this. We lived apart with our parents apart from the odd few weeks spent together, it was a new experience living together and paying mortgage/bills.

“We saved for the house whilst working for about 18 months however I had been saving since I was 16 myself, which probably helped. We decided to buy a house to get our own personal space, finally move out from our parent’s houses and be more self sufficient.

“We did consider [using Help to Buy] but were lucky to save as much as we did and ended up not needing it.

“The cost of solicitors fees initially surprised us but luckily we had saved enough. We actually started to buy three houses before the house we are in now. One fell through due to the sellers not being honest with us, the next one fell through due to a greedy seller who went with someone else after a few weeks, who ultimately pulled out so naturally they asked us if we wanted it again to which we declined. The third house fell through due to the seller backing out.”

Any additional advice? “Save as much as you can, even if it’s just £20 here or there, it will all help at the end of the day and think to yourself, ‘do I really need this?’ when going to buy something. I don’t think I would change anything [when it comes to saving], we simply cut back on going out and treating ourselves. We did spend some money on nice holidays to Mexico and Florida but it was absolutely worth it.”