Putting down a deposit on your first home is one of the most advantageous things you can do for yourself for a number of reasons.

The first is that applying for a home loan with a deposit demonstrates to the bank that you’re financially responsible, which goes a considerable way towards reducing your risk profile. Lowering your risk profile gives you a better shot at securing a more favourable interest rate than if your profile is perceived as riskier.

Securing the best possible interest rate means that ultimately, at the end of your bond period, you’ll wind up saving hundreds of thousands of rands.

Rawson Property Group MD Tony Clarke shares five strategies which, if you stick to them diligently, will enable you to save as much as R6 000 per month – enough to save for a deposit on the average first-time buyer’s home in only one year.

  1. Cook more, buy less (save up to R3 000 per month)

This perhaps may be the most difficult step for most people, but if you can crack this, you’ll be surprised by how much money you can save.

READ MORE: Strategies for saving for a home loan deposit

So, instead of grabbing ready-made meals, ordering in or eating out, spend a little more time planning simple and easy meals and cooking them yourself.

The same goes for packing a lunchbox for work and forgoing that cappuccino you stop for every morning.

  1.  Cut back on credit (save up to R1 000 per month)

Credit cards and store accounts might make life easier, but they’re also a great way to spend more than you should. If you find yourself giving in to temptation and shopping for more than just the bare necessities, it might be better to close your accounts until your deposit is ready to go.

  1. Ask for an insurance re-evaluation (save up to R800 per month)

While insurance premiums increase every year, the same is not true about the value of most of the things that you insure, most of which actually decrease in value year-on-year.

If you haven’t spoken to your insurance company in a while, it’s a good idea to give them a call and ask for a premium re-evaluation based on present day replacement costs.

READ MORE: How taking out a loan to pay for a bond deposit could derail your…

Most insurance companies will drop your rates significantly if you make it clear that you’re unhappy with your premiums – particularly for items like cars that devalue quickly as they age.

Make sure though, that they don’t drop your rates by increasing your excess. Having a few comparative quotes on hand will help keep things in perspective.

  1. Think twice before taking that cellphone upgrade (save up to R500 per month)

It’s easy to be swayed by the idea of a shiny new handset when your cellphone contract expires, and to blindly sign on the dotted line for a contract that could well be more than you actually need to pay.

  1. Cancel that wasted gym membership (save up to R800 per month)

If you’re not actively engaged in a gym routine and have a gym membership, you’re probably just throwing hundreds of rand a month down the drain.

Even if you gym once or twice a week, opting for the road over a treadmill can save plenty of rands that can go towards your deposit. There are all kinds of fitness routines available online or apps that won’t cost you anything.