As December rolled to a close, Rob and I started talking budget. Mostly about how, even December craziness aside, we were always going over ours. I hate talking numbers and HATE talking money, so often I'll just stick my fingers in my ears and shout, "JUST TELL ME HOW MUCH TO SPEND ON GROCERIES! I DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ELSE!" I'm actually not kidding--I do that.
This time, I didn't stick my fingers in my ears and we had a real discussion, albeit a short one. It ended this way.
M: Maybe we should move to a cheaper house.
R: Hm. Okay.
Maybe the conversation was a little longer, but I don't think so. We didn't actually make a decision that quickly, but let the idea sit. The next day, it still sounded good. I was a little afraid that it was just my idea since I can kind of be pushy. (Just a LITTLE pushy.) But when we brought it up again the next day, Rob said he was really loving this idea.
When we bought this house, it was within our means, but more than we'd planned to spend. Then we started having kids and paying for home births PLUS hospital births (we've paid for four kids and only gotten two) and things like preschool and three gallons of milk a week. People sometimes joke with me about being cheap, but the truth is that we're constantly on a tight budget.
When I say a tight budget, I have to point out that according to world standards, we are RICH. Filthy rich. Our house here is modest, but would be home to like five families in some other parts of the world. We still have WAY more than what we need. I just want to clarify that I am not in any way complaining about how much money we have, just saying that every month, every penny seems to be going somewhere.
We rarely eat out. I hardly ever buy myself or the kids new clothes. I coupon. So when we look at where we could take a cut to bring us down each month, there is little to cut. We could take the kids out of school, but then I couldn't write. The stinky thing is that I may never make money doing it, but I feel passionately about it, regardless. The best place to really cut was our mortgage.
Fast forward to two weeks later.
We've met with a realtor this week and talked about how things are in our 'hood. Houses like ours that are fairly well updated sell quickly when priced well. We have some things to do (carpet, ceiling fans, landscaping, paint touch-ups), but generally this type of house moves well. We were happy with the quote she gave us as to how she'd probably list it. I don't get numbers (again, fingers in the ears) but she gave us a number that's more than what we paid and will allow us to fix the things that need fixing and get out with money for a down payment.
The kicker: her suggested timeline was to have it ready in a month.
Yes, a month. I've already started boxing up things in plastic tubs and we've made a google doc with what we need to do with each room. I have numbers for painters and carpenters and we've asked people if we can store things with them rather than rent a unit. I cannot believe we are doing this, but we are both really excited.
I love our house. We bought a house that we felt like we could live in forever if need be. (Look forward to a post with my thoughts on "starter homes" this week.) There is a ton of space and I love the layout. It's perfect for us. I'm terribly sad to think about leaving it. And yet--we both LOVE the idea of living within (or even below!) our means. There are comparable houses to ours for a ridiculous amount less if we move ten miles west. We always planned to move to Katy (where it's cheaper and the schools are great), but just didn't plan to do it yet.
You can expect a bunch of posts about getting a house ready for sale with two kids. Eeeek! And you can be praying for us (if you're that kind of person) that we can actually sell our home for what we want and find the perfect home for us at the right time.
How about that for New Years Resolutions?