Saving for a home can be a daunting task. With interest rates up, putting more money down is a huge advantage to keep you monthly payments down. Putting a minimum of 20% down is a good idea because it will force you to save more before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Plus by putting 20% down you avoid paying the PMI (private mortgage insurance) required for smaller down payments. Far too often first time buyers stretch themselves thin by making a lower down payment and not understanding the effect of these extra costs.
If you have ever watched these HGTV home fix-it shows you will realize that when you buy a home you will crave going to Home Depot to do renovations or buy furniture. Because of this be sure to save about 10% of the home's value above what you will use as a down payment, so you can do the renovations.
As you are saving, make sure to be safe with your savings. Often people will invest their savings in the stock market for growth and that is not a wise place to put down payment money. Look for safer vehicles and investments. The last thing you want to have is a 20% drop in your account and delay your purchase.
When planning your budget for how much monthly payment you can afford, add 1% to cover the unexpected. It could be the roof, water heater, or A/C, but invariably there will be year to year blowups that will cost you money from savings.
To ultimately save for the down payment, it all comes down to budget. If you truly want to buy that first home, what will you sacrifice? Eating out less, no lavish vacations, or fewer large purchases? The key to achieving your goal is to immediately put the money into savings each month. Otherwise you'll spend it on something other than the down payment.