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My side hustle helped me earn £400 a month extra to help buy my first home

FIRST-TIME buyer Nicole Attaway managed to save an extra £6,400 by taking on a second job in a bar to help buy her first home.

Nicole, 26, worked three shifts a week at a local bar alongside her full-time job to boost her savings.

Nicole Attaway got the keys to her first home in September this year
The two-bedroom property is in Nottinghamshire
Nicole managed to afford the house by taking on a second job

She was able to pocket an extra £400 a month from the extra hours, helping her to get on the property ladder quicker than she expected.

Nicole’s day job is a customer services manager for a not-for-profit organisation in Nottingham.

And while working back-to-back shifts was exhausting, she was able to move out of a house share and have her own space.

Nicole got the keys to her two-bedroom home in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in September.

Setting herself a goal to move out as soon possible, Nicole also made the most of her Help To Buy Isa.

She got £1,197 free cash from the government after opening the account just before the scheme closed in November 2019.

The Help To Buy ISA is a savings account that allowed first-time buyers to save for a mortgage deposit and then claim a government bonus when they buy their first home.

For every £200 you save, the government pays a £50 bonus towards the purchase price of a property.



This particular government scheme closed in November 2019, although if you already have an account, you can continue paying into it until November 2029 and claim the bonus until 2030.

There are other ways house hunters can get free cash too, like the Lifetime Isa.

This can be opened by anyone aged 18 to 39, but you’ll pay a fee if you don’t use the money for a first home or retirement.

We sat down with Nicole to discuss how she went from being a saver to a homeowner for The Sun’s My First Home series.

Tell me about your home

It’s a two-bedroom detached house in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.

The front door opens into the living room, and then you walk through to the separate living room and kitchen.

I also have a conservatory and a little garden, which is perfect for my Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ruby.

There’s one bathroom upstairs too.

How did you decide on location?

My heart was set on living closer to the centre of Nottingham, but it was too expensive and I was constrained by my budget.

But I live close to Eastwood town centre which is really handy for shopping, so I’m pretty happy with this location now.

How much did you pay for it?

The house cost £130,000 and I put down a 5% deposit of £6,500.

I took out a mortgage of £123,000 for 30 years with a fixed rate of 3.39% for five years.

My repayments are around £500 a month, which is considerably cheaper than what I was paying for rent.

I used to live in a shared house closer to the centre of Nottingham, and I was paying £700 a month.

I also opened a Help To Buy Isa just before the scheme closed in 2019.

By the time I was ready to buy, I had saved up £5,000 in this account.

The bonus from the Help To Buy Isa was around £1,197.

How did you save for it?

I started off with less than £1,000 in my savings account, but I had always been quite careful with money after moving out at quite a young age.

I started to save really hard around in around May 2021 while I was living in a house share.

I decided that I wanted my own space and that I was ready to become a homeowner.

So to help me reach my goal, I took out a second job at a bar to earn extra cash to put towards my deposit.

I would finish my day job at 5pm, and then head to the bar to do a four-hour shift pulling pints.

I would do this on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, meaning I was working seven days a week.

Plus, if ever I was offered overtime, or if someone needed holiday cover, I would offer to do these shifts too.

I would get around £400 a month from doing this, and all of that money would go into my savings account.

I did this for 16 months, from May 2021 to September 2022, and saved an extra £6,400.

Having a second job meant I could save beyond the deposit for furniture.

I was also putting away around £500 a month from my full-time job.

Having the second job was exhausting, but it was worth it in the end.

How did you afford to furnish it?

I knew that I needed to save beyond my deposit to afford the furniture that I wanted.

I have been buying everything in stages, and I still have some stuff to get as I only recently moved in.

My partner, Corey, is also moving in with me soon and has helped with buying things such as a new sofa, new carpet and blinds.

Splitting this cost has helped me to save a few hundred pounds.

What advice would you give to other first-time buyers?

Just be patient and keep going – it can be challenging but it’s worth it in the end.

Be strict with your saving, but also remember that it’s a long process, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

You don’t want to leave yourself short and without enough money for essentials like bills and food shopping.

Just don’t get deterred, and remember that it will be worth it in the end.

Here’s how one couple bought their first home after being rejected for a mortgage due to a poor credit score.

Another family used the snowball method to clear £26,000 worth of debt and buy their first home.

One savvy saver managed to put half of his wages away while still renting to buy his first home.

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