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We sold our car to help save up £20,000 deposit to buy our first home

SAVING to buy a house often requires giving up the things you love - as first-time buyers Meg and Ben found out when they sold their car to buy a home.

Wind turbine technician Ben Dransfield, 22, made £8,000 from giving up his car and swapping it for a cheaper one.

Meg and Ben moved into their home on Christmas Day last year
They sold their old bits of furniture to raise some cash to buy new bits for their home
They also ditched expensive trips to London to save at least £400 a month

The sale raised almost half of the £20,000 deposit that he and building surveyor Meg Owen, 24, needed to buy their £400,000 first home.

It’s not the only thing they sold to boost their savings. Getting rid of old furniture bagged them £400 and cutting back on weekend trips saved them £400 a month.

Meg stopped shopping sprees and instead browsed Depop for clothes, saving her another £150 a month.

Like many people saving for a home, the couple were limited in the amount they could put away because they were also having to fork out £1,050 for rent every month.

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I took on a second job pulling pints to help pay for £185,000 first home

But using the government’s Help to Buy scheme meant they could secure a home with a smaller 5% a deposit - allowing them get on the ladder quicker.

The couple took out a £80,000 Help to Buy loan and put down a deposit of £20,000.

And the sacrifices were soon worth it - the couple moved into their new home on Christmas Day last year.

Meg revealed how they kept to their “tight” budget for The Sun’s My First Home series.

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We can't sit in our garden anymore as our neighbour's extension blocks the sun

Tell me about the house

It’s a three-bedroom detached house in Manningtree, Essex.

We use the third bedroom as an office, and the other as a spare room for friends and family.

It has two bathrooms and a toilet downstairs.

The lounge and kitchen are separate - it’s not open plan.

There’s a garden at the back of the house, which has grass and patio areas, and we've also got a driveway.

How did you decide on location

We live halfway between our workplaces - and as Ben sails to work, we wanted to live near the sea.

By fluke, we found the property when we were driving back from a local restaurant one afternoon.

We saw a poster for the development - which is Cala Homes’ Newlands Park Mistley scheme - and decided to book a visit. We fell in love with the house and decided to buy it.

How did you afford to furnish it

We sold a few bits of furniture we had bought when we were renting - a dining table and chairs, sofa, desk, and TV stand.

All in all, we made around £400 from this and we put the money towards buying new furniture for the house.

How much did you pay for the house?

The house was £400,000. We used the government's Help to Buy scheme so only had to put down a 5% deposit, which was £20,000.

Under the scheme, you can apply to for a loan of up to 20% of the value of your property (or 40% if you live in London).

The loan is interest-free for the first five years.

We hadn't considered Help to Buy before, but an agent at the property development explained the benefits to us - most importantly, that a smaller deposit meant we could buy sooner.

We took out an equity loan of £80,000, which meant we could take out a smaller mortgage.

We have a 35-year mortgage of £310,000, on a five-year fixed rate of 3.2%.

Our monthly repayments are £800, which is considerably less than the £1,050 we were previously paying in rent.

How did you save for it?

We worked out a budget and were quite tight with it.

We put aside £300 for food, £500 for bills and £1,050 for rent each month, and then saved £1,000.

But to stick to this, we had to cut our outgoings.

We had been going out for meals and drinks in London most weekends, costing around £600 a month - and we cut this down to around £100 a month instead.

Ben sold his Aldi S5 for £23,000 and bought a cheaper car for £15,000 instead - and put the £8,000 difference into our savings.

The new car is cheaper to run as well, so we've saved on petrol costs.

I cut down on clothes shopping, spending around £50 a month of Depop instead of my usual £200 on the high street.

And we switched to SIM only contracts - my bill dropped from £60 to £20 a month, and Ben's from £40 to £18.

What’s your advice for other first time buyers?

Stop spending money on things you don’t need. Buying lunch at work is a good example - I was previously splashing out around £40 on this, but meal prepping has reduced my spending to £10.

Don't buy new furniture when you're renting, as you'll most likely want different items when you buy a home.

We sold what we didn't want and put the money towards furniture for our new house.

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