I lived in a TENT to save enough money for a house at 23 – anyone can do it with hard work | The Sun

A MUM who bought her first home at just 23 has told how it was thanks to HARD WORK – and said every time she admitted that she faced a ‘barrage of criticism’.

“I was just 23 years old when I bought my first property, which was a three-bedroom town house on Plymouth’s waterfront,” said mum-of-one Rebecca Tidy.

“The place has doubled in value from £145k to £290k since I handed over my hard-earned 20 percent deposit in 2011.

“But every time I mention that it’s possible to buy a home at a young age, I face a neverending barrage of online criticism. Trolls tell me that I must have rich parents or have inherited a big stack of cash.

“Yet their fanciful suggestions couldn’t be further from the mundane truth. In reality, I just placed getting on the property ladder at the top of my priority list and kept working until I achieved it.”

With the average age of getting on the property ladder being 37 or 38 in London, Rebecca agreed it was unusual buying so young.

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“It’s no longer socially acceptable to admit it, but absolutely everyone has a priority list in life,” she said.

She thinks people who get ahead in life just get on with it

“If you consistently work hard, you will achieve whatever sits at the top of that list.

“I’ve noticed that the people who get ahead in life are often the individuals who just get on with it, no matter what obstacles stand in their way.

“Early on, I knew that I wanted the security of a safe place of my own. So I gave up the glam nights out and fancy restaurants to save for it.”

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She told how she worked “ridiculously long hours in all kinds of jobs during my business degree, so I could squirrel away the cash for my own seaside bolthole”.

“My latest side hustle was always a source of great amusement to my mates whether it was selling double-glazing or flipping burgers,” she added.

"During the holidays, I started work at 5am in the stables of a children’s residential summer camp,” she added.

She would sleep in a tent to save cash

“And when my boss overbooked the site with kids, I took up his offer of living in a tent for three months in return for a higher wage.

“My classmates traveled the world after university, whereas I made a deal with our old student landlord. I cleaned and repainted all 10 of his properties during the holidays in exchange for free rent.

“It wasn’t glamorous, but it meant I saved well over £3k in accommodation costs. I wouldn’t have managed to get on the property ladder the following spring without it.

“Whether it’s getting creative with your housing or rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty, those are the kinds of sacrifices you need to make if you want a place of your own badly enough.

“I remember looking at properties across Devon with the estate agent in 2010, then eventually settling on a place in a decidedly rough part of town.

Her family were shocked when she bought in a down-and-out area

"After looking at the council’s plans to regenerate the area, I realised it was well worth tolerating a year or so of noise and potential drama.

“Friends and family nervously told me that buying off-plan in a regeneration zone was a risky strategy. Yet I could see that splashing out on a place in an upscale part of the city was like throwing money away.”

Single Rebecca, who currently works as a yoga instructor and freelance writer, said people were too unwilling to compromise.

“As a society, too many of us are unwilling to tolerate discomfort in our daily lives,” she said. “People seem to have forgotten that humans have survived for hundreds of years without the latest iPhone or laptop.

“Even a year or two without heating and hot water isn’t the end of the world, as long as you know you’re gaining something from it.

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“After all, it’s undeniable that a few years of reining in the spending, while working harder brings huge dividends.

“I actually paid off the mortgage on that Plymouth house in July 2023. It was an emotional moment and I knew that all the years of scrimping and pinching had paid off, as I finally had the security I wanted.”

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