When Husband and I bought this house a decade ago, we'd already looked at approx. 80 houses over a six-month period. It was in a quiet neighborhood, up on one of the highest hills -- you can actually see our house from I-25, and there's a view on three sides of Pike's Peak, Castle Rock, Mount Evans and the Front Range...and even Long's Peak, if the skies are clear. (A large wooded bluff is at our back on the fourth side.) We put the profits from another house into the sale, along with whatever we could scrape up.
Then, when Husband's mom suddenly died some years later, we decided to take some of the inheritance and pay off the house completely. This was in the early 2000s, when everyone and their brother was making a killing in the stock market -- and everything we read said we were being doofuses. After all, we were paying less than 5% interest on the house mortgage. Take the inheritance, the experts said, and invest it in the stock market! Make big bucks!
If we had done that, we would have lost a good-sized chunk in the downturn. When Husband took a different (and lower-paying) job in the local school district, we would have had the pressure of that monthly payment, as well. (Not to mention the taxes, which are considerable.)
We could have purchased a much more expensive house; according to the lenders, we were qualified for at least $100,000 more in payments. Our house was older. It needed repairs and a number of improvements. (Still does, on some!) It didn't have the fancy bathrooms and details some of our friends paid for.
Now those friends are struggling, trying to keep up with their payments.
It's times like these that I am so grateful we took the 'Hollander' route. We didn't take on more debt than we absolutely needed to. We didn't purchase new furniture, or vacations we couldn't save for and pay up-front.
All the same, we're looking at medical payments that need to be kept up. There have been expenses for the girls. And, of course, there's always the possibility of going back to Panama -- this time for at least a month.(And hopefully language school.)
Where is the money going to come from? We're running a pretty tight ship, as it is.
My Frugal Miser advocates going without small things that add up -- frugal sacrifices. For him, it's not using his dryer, or no garbage pickup, things like that. But as he points out, those monthly pennies, dimes and dollars really add up over the course of a year.
I've been thinking more about this. Couldn't we combine forces with the neighbors for garbage pickup? Daughters are both paying some for their cellphones, which helps our family plan. We kept the house temperature all winter in the 62-64 degree range. (You may think that's chilly, but space heaters and the fireplace took the chill off nicely. I get sleepy now in more heated rooms. Like church..) I still hit the clearance and marked-down sections pretty hard, and buy nearly all our clothes at the local thrift shop. (Living in a high-income area means high-end labels and fabrics donated. My thrift shop clothing is actually more expensive-looking than the items purchased new!)
Maybe it's time to give up cable....but that means no tv reception at all. (The mountains block it nicely.) Could we get by on Netflix, or just Hulu?
I do have some flats of seedlings, and plans for a larger garden this summer. Which will help with food costs.
What else?? What can I do?
We may go back to just one car. (Husband's been driving Daughter #1's car to work, while it's been stored here.) Or a scooter. Or just bikes. I definitely think I could do with fewer trips to town -- especially now gas is so expensive. Maybe limit trips to ship orders to a few times a week, rather than nearly every day?
(Or maybe I should just let Ami Simms dye my underpants! The silly girl...)
Protecting what you do actually pay for is also part of the show -- like the merits of politely asking for a discount for poor service or product. If we do keep the cable, I have every intention of calling Comcast and asking for some credits -- we've lost our service, or had it stall, several times in the past month.
Any suggestions you might have in this department are greatly welcome. In the meantime, it's nearly 1:00 a.m....and the new week has started. Time for bed.