Ah the joys of growing up, getting your own place, taking responsibility and being an adult – and as you continue to pay for things you start realising that your favourite childhood memory is not paying bills – however growing up is a natural part of life and the best thing you can do is to ensure your finances stay healthy are put to good measures in place whilst you’re still young.

First off, learn the art of delayed gratification – the fancy penthouse, designer furniture and brand name appliances are not needed – rather, when you’re just starting out go for a smaller place, that won’t cost you a lot to furnish or maintain. Renting is a good place to start to build up your credit profile in preparation for a home application in the near future. Key however is to not rent for too long as you will be paying off someone else’s bond.

If you are ready to buy but not yet married, get some friends to move in with you so that you don’t have to shoulder the whole financial burden on your own.  Purchasing a small property means you can take advantage of its appreciative value over time and sell it for more than you bought it for – or rent it out so that you can have an additional income, that increases every year. Leave the mansion as the future goal for the time being.

Before you decide to buy you need to ensure that you employ 5 good financial habits:

  1. Ensure you don’t get into debt
  2. Maintain a positive credit score
  3. Don’t change your job too often
  4. Ensure you keep your spending  at a minimum
  5. Avoid getting a credit card – and if you do, don’t max it out

Before signing a home loan agreement, be sure that the property you have set your heart on is in good condition and that there are no latent defects such as rising damp, a leaking roof etc. Also ask the owner for a breakdown of the municipal costs so that you know what you have to budget for … property rates can add quite a lot to a municipal account.

Then of course there’s the furniture … you’ve signed the contract and you’re ready to move all your worldly possessions into your new home … problem is though that all your worldly possessions consist of the clothes in your wardrobe at your mom’s place and a battered mattress … so just how do you furnish your new place without spending a fortune?

Don’t worry it’s easier than you think if you’re prepared to spend the time and effort on the world wide web (www) – just be careful, the www is also full of tricksters, scammers and conmen. Set your sights on good quality secondhand items, especially for lounge furniture and appliances and put aside some money, about R400, to hire a steam cleaner for the day.

And to set you off on the right foot, here’s a list of your top priority home appliances under R5 000 for your first home:

  • Bar fridge (R600)
  • Mini-stove (R250)
  • Pots (R100)
  • Crockery (R100)
  • Table and chairs (R400)
  • Cutlery (R100)
  • Couch (R400)
  • 2 Curtains (R100 each)
  • Coffee table/TV stand (R150)
  • Lounge suite (R600)
  • Washing machine (R550)

Just a little piece of advice in closing, before you commit to purchasing something second hand, visit the property where it is currently stored to see if it has been looked after – if the place smells or looks like it hasn’t been cleaned up in ages, or there are dogs in and out the house and a barrage of children around, then give it up as a bad deal.