Sydney woman Dinisha Devadason was making just $25 an hour in a part-time retail job when she signed the contract to her first property.
She was a 21-year-old nursing student at the time, and while her friends were spending their weekends partying, Ms Devadason was making “sacrifices” in the hope of securing her future.
It paid off — she’s now the owner of a $544,000 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta.
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The flat was bought off the plan, with the contract signed in 2017.
In March this year, the property was finally settled, and tenants have since moved in, netting Ms Devadason $400 per week in rental income.
That cash goes straight to her mortgage, leaving her with a little left over.
It’s a welcome reward after she spent years scraping together a 20 per cent deposit to make her property investment dream a reality.
Ms Devadason now works in finance and was earning around $40,000 when the property settled.
She said she had worked hard to save for years, and she was proud of her achievement.
“In 2017 I knew I had a property coming up — at the time, it was still being built — so I tried my best to save,” she said.
“My parents helped me in a sense — they didn’t give me money, but they tried to teach me how to save and how to understand what was necessary and what wasn’t.
“I was still young and a lot of people wanted to party and spend their money there, but my parents helped keep me on the right track to a better future.”
Although she was only working part-time, Ms Devadason had a casual role and worked “crazy hours”, which meant she made “very good money” that she put towards her deposit.
She was also living at home and was not paying rent or bills or having to fork out for groceries.
But she said saving was still a challenge.
“It was very hard because as a 21-year-old girl I didn’t do my nails or cut my hair — I had to cut out all that girly stuff,” she said.
“I didn’t go out to eat — obviously I still went out here and there, but I usually ate at home with my parents.
“I come from an Indian background, and we celebrate Christmas and also Indian festivals. It’s common for relatives to give you money as a gift, but instead of going out and spending it on things like clothes, I saved it and treated it as my savings.”
But while her home ownership journey wasn’t easy, Ms Devadason said the key was changing her mindset.
“At my age a lot of people want to go out and party every weekend which is fine, but if you put your mind to something and really want it, you can save a lot,” she said.
“At first I thought ‘Oh my god, how am I going to do this’ because I was only working part-time, but for me the moment I put my mind to it, the commitment was there, like being on a diet or going to the gym.
“The hardest part is getting your mindset right – but once you make that commitment, everything is easy and just becomes part of your lifestyle.”
Ms Devadason is still living at home with her parents who are also property investors, and she said she hoped to add to her portfolio in future.
She purchased her apartment through Zinger Finance, where she also now works.
Have you recently bought your first home, or are you about to buy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.