How I bought my £150,000 first home by batch cooking and yellow sticker shopping | The Sun

HUNTING for yellow sticker bargains and batch cooking helped first-time buyer Khaliya Lewis save HUNDREDS for her £150,000 home.

Getting your weekly shop in can easily rack up, especially as grocery costs soar – so Khaliya used some savvy supermarket tricks to cut costs and buy her first home.

But Khalyia knew she'd need to do more than keep to a tight grocery budget to raise the £15,000 deposit needed.

As a single first-time buyer, she didn't have anyone else pitching in to help her get on the ladder.

Instead, she boosted her savings pot by selling her clothes and cutting back on meals and drinks out.

She also used the government’s Lifetime ISA scheme to get £3,750 in free cash to put towards her deposit.

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Living with her family also meant she saved thousands on rent while she was building her deposit.

But buying the house was only half the challenge for Khaliya, as the property needed a lot of work doing to it.

She has spent years renovating her home, cutting costs by doing a lot of the manual work herself – with the help of her boyfriend.

The Sun picked her brains on how she managed to get on the ladder as a solo buyer for our My First Home series.

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Tell me about your house

It’s a three bed semi-detached home in Stowe Market, Suffolk.

There are two bathrooms and a large open-plan living room and dining room.

There’s a large back garden with a small patio area, and out the front I have a driveway big enough for two cars.

I moved in in 2019 and have spent years doing up the house – it had to be completely renovated. 

I wanted a bigger house, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it unless I bought a do-er upper.

The house was £150,000 – I would have had to pay at least £30,000 more to buy the same sized house that didn’t need any work.

It was a little intimidating taking on a house that needed so much work but I thought I would give it a go because I have experience in project management.

How much did you pay for it?

The house was £150,000. 

I put down a 10% deposit of £15,000 and took out a £135,000 mortgage over a 35-year terms at a five-year fixed rate of 2.58%.

My monthly mortgage repayments are £465.

How did you renovate the house?

I’ve renovated the house over a number of years – works finally finished this year.

As I’m a kitchen designer, I managed to save a lot of money by making the most of my contacts and doing work myself.

Instead of buying kitchen units at DIY shops, I went straight to the manufacturers and then fitted them myself, saving me thousands.

My boyfriend helped me tile the floors, fit the wall panelling and fit appliances, saving me around £3,000 on labour costs.

I also saved a lot on furniture by buying it second hand.

I made my own bathroom vanity unit by buying a set of drawers off eBay for £150 and contacting a supplier I know to give me a stone table top for free.

I also made a built in wardrobe from scratch by buying my own planks of wood and fitting them in.

How did you save for it?

I lived with my mum while I was saving, and paid her £200 a month in rent – that's much lower than market rate, which really helped to boost my savings.

She lives in a small village so I didn’t get much opportunity to go out.

I didn’t go to the pub or for meals out, saving me £500 a month.

Being clever with buying groceries helped me cut my food bill, and on a Sunday, I cooked all of my meals for the week ahead.

It meant I wasn’t tempted to make little trips to the supermarket and pick up food I didn't need, saving me around £20 a week.

Making packed lunches helped me save another £20 a week too – I made sure to avoid picking up expensive meal deals and made my own sandwiches.

Buying yellow sticker food saved me up to £30 a month – I would time my trip to the local Asda when I knew the fresh meat and fish had been discounted. 

I also got £3,750 free because I used the government’s Lifetime ISA scheme.

You can save up to £4,000 a year into a Lisa and the government will give you a 25% bonus of what you’ve put in.

That means if you put in the maximum £4,000, you'll get a £1,000 free cash bonus.

I saved £15,000 in my Lisa, which means with the bonus added, meant I had £18,750 saved up by the time I put down an offer.

What’s your advice for other first time buyers?

Don’t be afraid to buy a house that needs some work.

I’ve learned such a lot through doing my place up, but make sure you do your research thoroughly and break work down into manageable chunks.

For big jobs like plumbing and rewiring, get multiple quotes to get an idea of where average labour costs lie.

Be realistic with your renovation timeframe – don’t be tempted to get an unreliable tradesperson on board just to speed things up.

It’s better to wait for a good builder to help you.

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