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What We Gave Up For Our Home

August 11, 2014

After congratulating me and being generally excited about our new house, one friend mentioned that she was just spending all her money on travel.  I didn’t respond in the moment, but the comment stuck with me.

While our house is freaking expensive, we chose carefully such that we could afford the payments without a lifestyle shift.   It isn’t an either-or situation.  We plan to have a house, and to travel.  In the long run, buying should actually be cheaper than renting for us.  It seems impossible that this math works, but it (in theory) does.

What I don’t think that my friend recognized (and I wasn’t willing to point out), is that I’m much older.  She’s just starting her career, while I’ve been saving (while traveling) for years. There is also a fairly significant salary differential, and my husband is buying it with me.  Perhaps she couldn’t buy a house without giving up travel right now.  At any rate, a house isn’t a priority for her right now.  It wasn’t for me until very recently!

That said, we are no longer planning to go to Patagonia this winter.  I really want to, but T has two awesome conference I want to tag along on early next year (one in the middle east, one in Asia).  It didn’t make sense to do another trip this December.  Time is more of a factor as money is.  The choice has little to do with the home purchase, though it made the answer more definitive.

Anyway –  I’m not giving up travel.  We are still “over saving” in retirement, which we won’t want to do forever.  I want to do it this year since T was a little bit behind, but we’ll re-evaluate in 2015 or 2016.  But, I’m not sacrificing retirement savings either.  So, what am I sacrificing to buy a home?

  • Freedom to move with minimal notice and minimal hassle.
  • Short term cash on hand.  After having so much in the bank, it is sad to be dwindling down to just our emergency fund and some cash for near term expenses.
  • Ability to save cash at a quick rate while also funding retirement at this pace.
  • Ability to quickly reduce living expenses (by moving).

In summary, it is more risky in a few ways.   It restricts our options, even though we don’t think we NEED these options. This makes me nervous, as both T and I are quite risk adverse with money.  Continuing to rent had some other risks (rising home prices, rising rents, we have to move to a new apartment within another year anyway.)  I’m thrilled about our purchase, but I’m not blind to what we are giving up to have it.

What else, homeowners (or happy renters)?  What did buying a home require you to sacrifice?  Or what are you not willing to sacrifice to buy a home.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2014 7:05 am

    One friend bought a really fancy car and he cares about cars. I’m not going to fault him for that because he’s most likely not lacking the money to do so.

    I also chose my place so that I could afford it without a lifestyle shift. That’s continued to be the case, even with rising costs like electricity, property tax, insurance, and HOA dues. I’m so glad I’m not renting because my housing costs would be up $6k/year from 2012 instead of only about $1k while owning.

    I don’t mind it being hard to move – I hate moving, I like my city, and I’m a bit of a homebody, as is my boyfriend. The liquidity thing is also a bit of a concern, but not that much because I’m terrible at keeping cash around anyway, unless it is labeled.

    • August 12, 2014 6:59 am

      Yeah, most of the costs are controlled. Property taxes (for better or worse) can’t rise more than a set percentage each year in CA, and electricity shouldn’t be a big issue. Renting is still cheaper for us in “year 1”, but we’ll have to do some calculations to see the exact difference.

  2. LBC Teacher permalink
    August 11, 2014 11:08 am

    Right now we would have to give up flexibility to move for a job opportunity. This is an issue for my husband, not as much for me. He’s starting in a new field, so we need to be open to moving where he finds a job. While I really, really want a house instead of an apartment, I know it makes the most sense to wait a year or two (at least) and see where we land.

  3. August 11, 2014 11:36 am

    We gave up flexibility as well. Even though our house was not expensive, we still feel stuck by it at times. We are in the process of buying our next home and we plan on taking it slowly so that everything is perfect.

  4. August 11, 2014 2:37 pm

    I am willing to sacrifice, well, most everything, because renting here is so bad.

    We really don’t need flexibility, because this is where we’ve grown up, it’s the biggest city, most everyone we know is here and the jobs are here. There is just such a low, low need for location flexibility.

    Travel here is really expensive even as a renter because we are such an isolated country, so I wanted to get a lot of that done first before a mortgage came into the picture.

  5. August 12, 2014 6:20 am

    I’d be giving up liquidity, mostly.

    Flexibility would no longer be an issue (as it was in the past) because I don’t want to travel for work any more. I’ll just learn to live on less and take less work / contracts.

    • August 12, 2014 6:57 am

      Yeah, I don’t really care about flexibility right now, which is why I was willing to give it up. I’d love to stay here for a very very long time!

  6. August 13, 2014 5:53 am

    Sounds like you’re in good shape.

    With us, going on sabbatical is a PITA, but given where you live it shouldn’t be a problem.

  7. August 17, 2014 6:05 pm

    When we bought our first home 8 months ago, I gave up having a short 15 min drive (in the morning) to work. Now we live about 30 mins drive from work. I ride in a commuter vanpool and in order to arrive at work by 610am, I wake up at 445am every morning. I still love our home and don’t regret the purchase at all.

  8. September 6, 2015 3:16 pm

    This article (although from last year) is perfect timing for me. We just bought a new house and don’t plan on putting our current house on the market for a few months. We are expecting a baby in the new year and want to have continued care in our current city. Anyway, since we now have 2 houses, I feel like we have had to give up a few things for our house(s) too! And some of it definitely includes “fun” spending. Today, I made my own sweet tea instead of getting it at our local coffee shop 🙂

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