Finance Property My home: Tammy Buton and Scott Cooper
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My home: Tammy Buton and Scott Cooper

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Tammy Buton, 28, bought her Lilydale home with husband, Scott Cooper, 30, in February this year. They had both been separately saving over a number of years to buy property, then decided to join forces for a savings sprint to the end, motivated by their specific and tangible goal.

Ms Buton says she’s always been good at saving and she first saw a financial planner when she was 25.

“He said to me, ‘It would be really good before you go into a serious partnership like marriage for you to start building up your own lot of money so then you can use that how you want to when you’re in a relationship,” Ms Buton says.

“From there I looked at the numbers and I thought, ‘Wow, it’s going to take a really long time on this salary to be able to buy property, especially if I’m doing it [on my own]’. I thought, ‘I’m doing a really good job at work, I should be able to argue a case for more money’.”

Inspired by the savings goal of owning her own home, Ms Buton, a digital strategist, wrote a proposal for her employer pointing out the success she’d had in her current role and demonstrating why she had earned a promotion.

“I said, ‘I think I’ve met all this criteria and I also want to buy a home because that’s one of my big goals and that’s what I’m working towards’,” she says.

When Ms Buton was granted the promotion and salary increase a few months later, her employer commented on Ms Buton’s goal.

“When he presented the paper which explained the new salary, he was very happy and he said, ‘You’ve definitely been delivering good results but I also know this will help you go where you want to go’,” says Ms Buton, who has since recommended to her friends to share personal financial goals when negotiating a pay rise.

Ms Buton continued to save for her own unit, but when she became engaged to Mr Cooper last year, the couple decided to join forces and buy a home together.

“We were both saving separately until about September last year and we decided to create a joint account to put both our savings in there,” Ms Buton says.

They pinned a picture of a house on a pinboard in the bedroom of their rented home in Brunswick, along with the exact dollar amount they were saving for, and they spent every weekend scouring Melbourne for suitable properties, from inner-city to outer-suburbs.

From September until February they stopped going out for dinner, stopped buying clothes, walked everywhere instead of catching public transport and Ms Buton stopped flying to Sydney to visit her family.

“We were really trying to save hard before our lease finished because we didn’t want to sign a new lease. It did feel amazing – we’d done it in such a small time,” she says.

A real estate agent took the couple to see the home they ended up buying in February this year.

“It was exactly what we’d imagined: nice and big, open plan, in good condition, really light, fresh paint, and it backed onto a lake,” Ms Buton says.

The couple have been living in their home since March and celebrated their wedding day in August, and they’re now enjoying a honeymoon period from savings.

“We are paying over the minimum mortgage repayment, but we have no set goals, and we’re actually paying less for mortgage repayments than we were saving,” Ms Buton says.

“We want to go on a holiday together at the end of the year and next year we’ll start looking at what are our goals are and what we want to do next.”