My house is small, but would you like a London Fog?

March 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm 5 comments

I’m going to rant a little bit, just so that you can all think I am greedy, spoiled, a wanna-be elitist, whatever it is that you want to think but I promise you it likely isn’t true because I am neither of those.

I am frustrated.  Often with a lot of unfair things in this lovely world, but at this exact moment, I am specifically frustrated by the housing market and by money, just to speak on general terms.  I hate how houses cost eight bajillion dollars to buy and before that you have to have 5 % of a downpayment, so then you need 4 bazillion dollars to put down.  It seems impossible, even though I know it’s not because people have done it, but c’mooonnnn.

Kyle and I are middle-class, average-income, working individuals.  We rent a decent house, albeit small and old and could use some work, but it’s good and it works for our family.  We’ve got a fairly big yard, and live in a really good neighbourhood.  The owners of the home live next door to us and are wonderful, plus they obviously allow pets which is an absolute must for us.  I’m not entirely complaining about our current situation, but I am frustrated that I feel forced into it.  I am ready to move on and be done with the rental market, because just between you and me, it kinda stinks.  Because we both have student loans, and one car loan, along with paying high rent which is nearly the cost of a mortgage (we pay $1200), it’s frustrating and hard to get ahead.  We have worked for everything that we own, and we’ve worked hard.  We’re not starving, and we certainly aren’t hurting.  We can afford luxuries such as going out to eat once in awhile, a nice car, modest travels once in awhile, and we have good friends and family.

I realize eventually we will own a house, but it’s likely going to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2-3 years, hopefully on the lower end of that.  Basically, whenever we get decent sized chunks of money from now in, we’re going to attempt to save it when we can.  When we can, being the key words there.  There are a few things we need to take care of before we can do this, such as obtaining some furniture for our upstairs living area.  We’ve had our couch for probably about six years, and it has been really our main piece of furniture in the living room.  It’s taken a bit of a beating and, for lack of a better word, looks like shit.  The springs have started to go on the left side of it, too, and because it’s bright red, it shows every bit of dirt, spill, as well as the nasty dye from new jeans, so needless to say, it needs replacing.  The other ‘issue’ (here’s where the spoiled, greedy, elitist part comes in) is that it’s hard to have people over, because there’s minimal seating room.  We’ve got a couch, and a glider chair that we purchased right before Cade was born.  This mama’s got some other mama friends that she would like to entertain… and it’s hard to do that with shanty-town furniture :)

We’ve had to learn to budget differently since I’ve been on mat leave and have only been making 55% of my wages.  It makes it a bit hard, because we’re probably using 55% more water, power, energy, etc. since I’m home all the time with Cadester.  There’s certain sacrifices we’ve made in order to make this new financial arrangement work, and we’ll have to continue to make them when I’m back at work.  Though my wages will be back to normal (I’ll feel rich, until…), we’ll have to pay for daycare.  It’s not the end of the world it’s just been an adjustment and will always be different now with a third little bean in tow.  I shouldn’t even complain, because we really don’t have it that bad.  And like I said about the spoiled piece, I do sound spoiled.  We don’t need to buy a house, we want to buy a house.  We don’t need new furniture (though I like to think we do… but we do!), we want to buy new furniture.

I get into certain moods where I spend too much unnecessary time focusing on what we want or don’t have, rather than on the lovely things that we currently are able to enjoy.  I know we all get into these ruts, or at least I tell myself we do to feel better.  Do you guys get into ruts where you want want want?  It’s the beauty of living in a technological, modern generation, I suppose.  Deep, deep, deep down I know that my life is grand and everything (well most things in it) are grand.  I’ve got a healthy little boy who is the best thing ever(albeit too healthy, he’s drastically growing out of all of his clothes right before our very own eyes), I’ve got a lovely dude in my life who loves me and treats Cade and I with such love and greatness, I’ve got pretty amazing people in my life that I am able to call my friends and family, I’ve got a super-cute little stinker of a doggy who makes me laugh daily, and I too have my health.

I’ve got a dirty-ass couch and my house needs to be painted.  So what?

What kind of budgeting ideas do you guys have?  What areas of your life do you sacrifice in order to expand other areas, and what are those areas?



Entry filed under: The Money's In The Bag. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Post-Partum Pantry. SNOOPY SUNDAY.

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gail kolebaba  |  March 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    ahhh go n n rant girl been there my self hugz to you that u get what u want soon that momma of yours or i need to win that freekin lottery n we can all laugh!!

  • 2. Elizabeth  |  March 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Once I get it in my head that we ‘need’ a particular something, I have to admit I kind of obsess over it till it’s in our possession! Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t still sometimes take a long time to get there, but I definitely get caught up in the whole consumerism thing like most people do.

    I think when you’re home with babe it makes sense to want your place to feel as comfortable and as homey as possible. I found in our last place because it was SO SMALL I felt like the walls were caving in on me sometimes. To make it feel better I tried rearranging at least the ornamental stuff every few weeks or month just to mix things up a bit because it drove me nuts looking at things exactly the same all the time! As you know from checking our old place out, we had very limited seating in there and all the furniture had to be so close together – totally not conducive to entertaining!

    I’m not telling you to go out and buy a new couch tomorrow if you can’t afford it but…I think you’ll feel so much better once you have it and maybe another chair or two for ample seating!! Easy for me to say, I know, haha! But seriously, it’s not like you’re out buying new furniture all the time. And no maybe you don’t NEED it in terms of you’re not going to die without it, but it can make a much bigger difference in your life than you’d expect. You’ll be more comfortable, it’ll make you happy, and you’ll have people over more – and now who can put a price on socializing, especially for Cade’s sake since it’s so good to have babes around lots of people and getting used to some of the same people over time, right? Right!! =)

    What colour couch are you thinking next time around? Ours is dark blue and I’ve gotta say it has really served us well. I think we got ours maybe just a little before you got yours, or around that time. It’s definitely stained but you can’t totally tell!! There’s no way around stainage when you’ve got a little one who likes to sip juice while sitting on the couch! And James spilled an entire glass of blueberry juice on it, I think TWO DAYS after we bought it! LOL But it didn’t show at all given it’s a blue couch! Awesome!!!

    And I hear ya on the buying a house thing…I don’t see us ever owning our own place at the rate we’re going, which is scary in a way but I don’t know, I think I’m just not ready to even deal with it yet. We may own someday but it’ll be a long time from now unless we win the lottery, and given I only buy tickets once in a blue moon, that’s pretty unlikely! On the other hand, there are perks to renting. Our landlord just told us the roof of the building has to be replaced (I’m not looking forward to that process but that’s another story) – she got a letter in the mail since it’s a condo strata thing, and she owes $7000, just like that! I’d freak if that happened to us, so at least it’s on her and we just pay our rent and all is well in our world!! Definitely a great thing to have equity in a house if you can though, and it’s great that you are thinking about these things and working toward it. There are always going to be expenses that come up in the meantime (like a new couch!) but at least you’ll be able to set some aside working toward your dream of owning a house!


    PS I love the title of this post!!

  • 3. Elizabeth  |  March 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    PPS James just (literally just – a few days ago, I haven’t used it yet but am getting a tutorial on it this weekend!!) set us up with a budgeting site online – it’s free and it’s called Mint. From what I’ve seen so far it’s pretty awesome and we’re hoping that it’s going to get us in line with where we need to be budgeting each month. You should check it out!

  • 4. Lojo  |  March 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Liz has so many good points about the owning/ renting dynamic. My parents and I are gearing up to sell my condo– I am moving into a rental tomorrow, actually! After four years of “owning” in partnership with my parents, I am in no rush, whatsoever, to buy again anytime soon, even if my wage doubled and I could buy a place I liked completely independent of my folks. There are pros and cons to both scenarios, and if you’re in a place in life where money is a struggle, then renting really is the less stressful of the options! Owning is often idealized– before I owned, I idealized it a lot more than I do now. The unforeseen costs to owning are huge. I had minimal problems with my condo, but still struggled. Property taxes are thousands, and in two years I spent about $8000 in fees (like Liz’s landlord with the roof thing, although luckily, I wasn’t hit with the $8000 in one lump sum). If anything goes wrong with appliances, plumbing, heating, etc., the financial responsibility of repair is on the owner, which can quickly lead people 10s of thousands of dollars into debt. Even if you guys were to suddenly come into a large amount of money, I would discourage you from buying in Saskatoon at this time. You guys are experiencing a CRAZY real estate bubble there right now, and it *will* pop, just like it did in many places around Alberta. Many people will, most likely, end up declaring bankruptcy, like they have in the States. Your best bet is to slowly save, wait until the real estate bubble crashes, and then look into buying– you’ll come out on top!

    I, too, think it makes sense that you’d want to make your place as comfortable as possible and “nest” now that your son is here. I, too, get in that zone when I spend more time at home. Have you looked into Kijiji for used furniture? There are often a lot of good deals on there as many people just want to get rid of stuff and aren’t too picky of what they get for it!

    Don’t let the “wants” of life get ya down, even though it’s so hard with all the commercialism that is constantly shoved down our throats. $1200 for a detached house isn’t bad, especially if you have a good relationship with your landlords! I will be spending the same for the apartment/condo I am moving into. Lets just say that I spent *a lot* more for the condo I owned, not necessarily in monthly expenses, but in yearly expenses, which is often overlooked.

  • 5. Lojo  |  March 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    And I gotta clarify– I bought during a real estate bubble, so my “investment” didn’t turn out to be an investment at all. It’s been good for my credit, because I’ve kept up with my expenses, but in actuality, I am just paying “rent” to the bank. The investment aspect of owning depends a lot on when you buy and when you sell. If you buy at the right time, or get a really stellar deal, the higher yearly expenses *would* be worth it due to the money your investment would reap in the long term.



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