Putting Money Down on a Home Is a Key Sign of Adulting. Here's How to Pull It Off

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  • A new survey reveals buying a home is a major sign of becoming an actual adult.
  • Here's how to save for a home and reach that goal.

Will buying a home be the one thing that truly makes you feel like a grown-up?

There were several points during my 20s when I definitely felt like a kid trapped in an adult's body. Granted, I had a high-pressure job with a respectable paycheck, I had my own apartment that I rented, and I was responsible for my own bills with no outside financial support. But in spite of that, there were times when I didn't really feel like full-fledged adulthood kicked in.

That changed later on in my 20s once I became a homeowner, though. For some reason, the idea of having a mortgage and being responsible for an actual house caused a shift in the way I viewed myself.

Apparently, I'm not the only person who equates homeownership with adulting for real. In a recent survey by Consumer Affairs, 52% of respondents said they, too, define adulting as purchasing a home.

If your goal is to own a home -- whether because you think it'll help you feel like a grown-up or not -- then you'll need a decent pile of savings for a down payment to make that happen. Here are three steps you can take to start accumulating those funds.

1. Cut one large expense in your budget

If your goal is to purchase a home, spending $15 less per week on coffee or canceling your $12 monthly streaming service may not get you there all that quickly. If you want to make that goal happen sooner rather than later, you may need to look at slashing a larger expense to free up cash. That could mean getting a roommate to cut your rent in half or getting rid of a car you enjoy having but technically don't need.

2. Bank your raise

If you got a raise this year, you're probably still at the point where that extra cash seems like a bonus, as opposed to money you've already grown heavily reliant on (after all, it's only February). If you want to save up for a home quickly, set up an automatic transfer that sends the extra money in your paychecks directly out of your checking account and into your savings account so you're not tempted to spend it.

3. Get a side hustle

Though not all mortgage lenders require a 20% down payment to buy a home, if you don't manage to come up with 20% for a conventional loan, you'll be hit with private mortgage insurance. That's an expense you don't want to bear if you can avoid it. A second job could make it so you're able to bring a nice pile of cash to your closing -- enough money to reach that 20% threshold. There are many different gigs you can do on top of your main job, so think about your schedule, your talents and hobbies, and your specific income goals to narrow down your choices.

Whether you associate homeowners with adulthood, there are plenty of benefits to having a place of your own. If that's a goal of yours, take these steps to save up funds for a down payment -- and make your dream of homeownership a reality.

Our Research Expert

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