I love finding creative ways to save money, especially when it makes saving money painless. Because let’s face it, sometimes saving money can seem pretty painful. Many of us have big lofty financial goals but because they are so big, they can feel unattainable. And that makes it hard (if ever) to get started.
One of the biggest purchases most Americans will ever make is buying a home. I used to work as a loan officer and many times people would ask me “How do I even get started saving for a house”?
Enter Betterment Gifts. The first online tool that allows users to create a wish list for their life goals and have friends and family contribute to reaching these goals.
The Set Up
The first step towards saving for a home is to create a registry for Betterment Gifts by going to https://gifts.betterment.com (but you may want to read the rest of the article before you sign up, I have a bonus at the end!). This is a super quick and easy process and shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes. After your registry is created, you will have a custom link to share with your friends and family. You will be able to customize your landing page and a photo (of your dream home?) to reflect your personality.
The purpose of your custom link is to allow your friends and family to begin donating towards your housing goal. Social buttons are included so its simple for you to spread the word by sharing on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
Betterment Gifts makes it easy to set up donations in incremental amounts to help you reach your goals. There are no credit card fees, transaction fees, hosting or purchase fees. Once the assets are invested, the customer (you) would be subject to Betterment’s normal 0.15%-0.35% of assets. This makes it even more attractive for your friends and family to donate towards your goals, since there are no other fees involved.
How Can I Use Betterment Gifts to Save for A Home?
If you look back over the last 10 years of your life, how often have you gotten gifts, came into unexpected money or got a raise at work? Do you have anything to show for it? Most of us get gifts year after year for various holidays or other life events only to find them at the back of a closet or in a box for a yard sale before the year is up.
It’s sort of depressing if you think of how much cash you could have stashed instead!
Unexpected money (think refunds, extra income from a raise etc.) is sometimes even harder to track because we tend to waste extra money on things we can’t account for. As our income rises, many of us begin to spend more (I know this from experience) and we can’t actually account for that income.
Not to worry, Betterment Gifts allows for that money to be put to good use. If you though buying a house was something you could never obtain, guess again. Here are 5 effortless ways to save for a home using Betterment Gifts.
- Holidays – As I mentioned earlier, many times the gifts we receive for the holidays are not things we actually want. Instead of getting tangible items, having a friend, family member or employer put the funds into your Betterment Gifts account will allow you to utilize that money over the long term for the down payment on a house.
- Birthdays – As with holidays, birthdays can also mean more “things” that we don’t really need. Stashing that birthday money into your Betterment Gifts account is a better use of the funds for your long term housing goals.
- Graduation or other Life Events – Graduation is a time many people receive cash to start the next phase of their life. Adding these funds to your Betterment Gifts account (instead of taking the cash) can ensure you begin growing your down payment for your home. The earlier you begin saving, the faster you will reach your goal.
- Bonuses & Other Misc. Income – It may not seem like it, but the extra money that comes through our fingers in the form of a bonus from an employer, refund from something you already purchased or other random income can add up quickly over time. Saving towards a housing goal doesn’t have to be in large chunks, your money will also grow quicker than you realize when you start putting small amounts towards your goals as well. Putting income from bonuses and other miscellaneous income in your Betterment Gifts account should be easy to do because it wasn’t money that you planned on getting in the first place!
- Give yourself a Gift – While it’s nice to have the help from others, reaching your goal of buying a home doesn’t have to come from everyone else. Committing to fund your Betterment Gifts account on a consistent basis (even as little as $25 a week) can help you reach your goals that much faster.
Using Betterment Gifts is an excellent way to get rid of the waste and clutter in your life and start putting your money towards something big that you really want in life. By utilizing the tool, your friends and family can join you on your savings goal which makes saving that much easier. As an added bonus, get a $25 Account Bonus when you sign up for Betterment. Click here to get your $25 account bonus!