I'm currently looking to buy a house in one year - my lease will be expiring, I'll have the time to build up a savings, and we'll have the time to research and find the exact house we want - we've already seen several that we would like, and we both agree that we want to move out as soon as possible, though right now with only $500 in Savings (total), that's not really feasible.
I've paid off my student loan, so my major outstanding obligations right now are:
Car Payments $187/mo + $66/mo for insurance and ~$30 for Gas ($283/mo)
High-speed Internet, $65/mo
Phone $135/mo Phone
Food bill ~$100-$150/week ($500/mo)
$50 a week or so for luxuries like ordering out or going to a restaurant ($200/mo)
So my total monthly expenses are roughly $2633, not including any emergencies.
My take home is $1950 every 2 weeks (So roughly $3900/mo after taxes, health insurance, et cetera from my work). This is our only steady income, with some minor income every month or two from my wife doing art commissions.
We're looking for a 3 Bedroom house with a finished basement and modern kitchen. We're willing to settle for 2 Bedrooms if there is also a finished basement, so long as the upstairs has a decent size to it. We'd prefer a Ranch house too. In our area, this looks to run us between $200,000 - $250,000.
What can we do to save up a down payment and cover closing costs for this kind of home purchase? We'd prefer to do it in a year if possible, but any advice would be appreciated - and if we can't, we're willing to downsize to get out of our current apartment next year.