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Saving for a down payment is no easy feat—it’s likely the largest sum of money you will need to pay out at one time, and the largest investment you will ever buy. It may seem impossible to save enough for a down payment in any of Canada’s largest cities, but if you make it your mission to do so, you can do it sooner than you probably realize.

Cut costs where you can. While it may seem like it won’t make that big a dent in your overall savings, getting rid of that high cable bill, switching to a more affordable internet provider and changing to a more competitive phone service provider are all easy ways to put more money into savings. Canadians pay some of the highest rates for all these services and companies have noticed. Alternative service providers are available for much more affordable rates if you just do a little research and make the call. 

Pay off debts first. If you try to apply for a mortgage with consumer debt, you’ll be out of luck. It also makes little sense to be putting money toward savings when you’re paying high interest on credit card debt. Once you have paid off these debts, you can start using that money, putting it toward your down payment savings.

Put money in a TFSA. A Tax-Free Savings Account is a smart place to put the money you are saving for a down payment. Unlike other investment accounts that require you to keep your money in there for a set period of years, a TFSA allows you to access the money you put into it at any time. It also lets you save money without paying tax on the interest you’re earning, which is a great benefit when saving.

Ask for a raise or take on a side hustle. Your goal is to earn more money fast so you can apply for that mortgage. More money begins with asking for more. If you haven’t had a raise in a while, make it a priority to have the discussion with your boss, and come prepared with reasons why you have earned it. Once you’ve done that, consider a side gig that could help you pull in extra money on weekends.