Thursday, January 8, 2009

Living Within Our Means

When people hear that we are moving, that we have purchased a house, we hear some common questions.

Is the house bigger? Are there more bedrooms? Big yard?

The answer to each of those questions is, NO. To some it may seem odd, but it's living within our means.

Granted, the main reason we have bought a house and are moving is to provide my parents with a place to live. The reason we were even able to buy it is because my parents provided the down payment. For reasons it would take too long to explain, they can't own a house on their own, nor should they. It's better for all of us to be together.

Of course Bean and I had to make this decision not only because it was good for my parents, but also because it was good for us. We are losing square footage in comparison to our current home and as would be expected, the bedrooms are smaller. Because the garage will be expanded and converted to a granny flat for my parents, there really isn't much backyard.'s a fantastic neighborhood with good schools. It's central to most everything in our city. Hopefully Bean's commute will be a bit shorter. And we will be paying ourselves by paying the mortgage, investing in our future.

Most importantly, it's within our means. Sure, we qualified for a home with a higher purchase price, but the mortgage would have been a big stretch. Someday it would be nice if Bean can quit his 12-hr a week part-time custodial gig at the church.

We want our children to have a bit more than we had growing up, if possible. But we aren't willing to give them so much that we live in debt forever or are house-poor. Our kids are young and small. Having a small house works now much better than when they are growing teenagers. Hopefully by then, maybe we'll be able to afford a larger home.

Along those same lines, we'll be squeezing our three children onto one bench in our Honda CRV for a while. We've talked a lot about getting a minivan and eventually I assume we will. But it makes more sense, it is living within our means, to not make a purchase that increases our monthly payment. Once we're settled and used to the mortgage and the expense of a baby and having 2 in diapers for the first time, we'll see if a minivan is in our future. I actually LOVE our CRV, so I don't mind continuing to drive it. I just have to find the right carseat combination to fit in the back. The expense of 1 or 2 new seats is equal to one or two months of higher car payments, so very little in comparison.

I feel good about this. About living within our means. There will be challenges. We have to downsize a bit and be creative with storage and belongings, but it will be good for us. Especially me. I have a bit of pack-rat tendency that I am trying to conquer!

So yes, our house is smaller, and so is our yard. But our hearts are full and hopefully there is a tiny bit of padding left in our bank account at the end of the month. And by padding, I mean, we'll be happy with $20!


  1. I'm right there with you :) And being in a smaller home has the advantage of nearly always knowing what is going on with the kiddos!

  2. Thanks for reminding me how important this is; we are definitely within our means in our small house but you are right, it's better to be in a small house you can afford that to be house poor. (Although I, too, am grateful if there's even an extra $20) :) Good for you guys not getting into debt and being wise with money!

  3. I totally understand what you are saying. Mr. A & I lived in apartments until we moved out to NC. Even now, while we love our house, sometimes wish we could live in a large apartment...back when things were simple.

    We still shop frugally, try to find deals and still don't have most of our house furnished. We still have our couch from when we first got married - almost 14 years ago.

    Best of luck in your new adventure.

  4. You are smart to do this! So- the schools are still good?! Good to know :) We may be back sooner than we thought and in your neighborhood!

  5. just an fyi... you can't fit 3 carseats in one bench in a CRV - way too small.


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