I’ve put myself into quite the dilemma that has got me thinking about money versus quality of life. You see, we moved to NC blindly, including renting an apartment based on online photos alone. Probably not the best idea, but that’s what we did. The apartment is fine – it’s nothing special, but it’s totally livable. We signed a 10-month lease that will be up at the end of June. So what’s the dilemma, you ask?
Well, we’ve spent a lot of time driving through neighborhoods and exploring the area. Originally, we were going to purchase a home as soon as possible. Now that my husband is running his own handyman business, we will have to wait at least two years to buy a home. Realistically, we will wait even longer as we want to have a huge down payment. We’re actually OK with renting for 3-5 years while we save up. Renting has a ton of advantages and we just sold our own home when we lived in AZ, and while home ownership is awesome, it’s also expensive and time-consuming! Taking a break from that is not the end of the world.
So, back to my dilemma. My husband started looking at rental houses online. Again, we don’t hate the apartment, but having a house would be wonderful. Honestly – we were more looking at rentals just to see different neighborhoods and give us something to do! We weren’t seriously considering actually renting one…
Until, of course, I found the perfect rental in the perfect neighborhood (therein lies the danger in looking). I can’t get the house out of my mind and we have an appointment to see it tomorrow. I’ve driven by no less than 15 times and my happiness level increases immensely every time I pull into that neighborhood. I’m naturally a pretty happy person, I would rank myself a 9 out of 10, but that house would bump me up to a 12. Yes, it’s that good. And yes, I know I’m being dramatic.
*I should also mention that I paid the $100 application fee to ensure we are the first ones to see the house (it’s not available until tomorrow). What has come over me?!
So last week I inquired with our apartment about the costs of breaking the lease and if there was any way we could get a discount. It’s expensive to get out of a lease and they do not offer any “deals” for breaking it which I figured. Tomorrow we’re going to ask about subletting the place or seeing if we can get a some money back if they rent the place quickly.
I will say, even IF we get a small discount on breaking the lease AND if we get a discount on the new place (no pet deposit and lower monthly rent payments are all things I’m asking for), we will still be spending a good amount of money to move.
I know, I KNOW – we should just wait until our lease is up here and then move. I get it. But in that neighborhood, most houses rent for no less than $2,500 a month. This house is WAY less than that because it’s slightly smaller and not on as much land. I’m 99.9% certain that come June when our lease is up, there won’t be a house available in our price range in that neighborhood.
Which brings me to my next rant – why does money determine EVERYTHING that we do?!?! It determines where and when we travel, if we go home for the holidays, if we go out to eat or eat at home, heck it even determines (for some people) whether or not to have another baby. There’s a good chance we won’t end up getting that house and it’s ALL because of money. When do you just say, “Ok. This may not be the best financial decision, but it will work out and life is NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!”
I like Afford Anything’s mantra that “you can afford anything, just not everything.” We can certainly afford to break our lease and move into this house, but is it the smartest move financially? Probably not. But, is anything you buy really the “smartest” move financially? No! The “smartest” thing you could do financially would be to buy all used furniture and clothing, only purchase necessities, live in the smallest amount of space possible, drive old used cars, never go out to eat, etc etc etc. But what about quality of life?! What about LOVING where you live and enjoying your day to day life? Doesn’t that count for something?!
IF (big if) we were to get that house, my husband and I would make sacrifices in other areas. This month alone, we’re on track to cut our food/household budget in half. We don’t have cable, we save money every month and we don’t spend lavishly by any means. If we get this house, we will make a plan to come up with side hustles to make the money we would spend on breaking the lease back. This would be IN ADDITION to what we’re already saving every month.
So, what do we do? When does quality of life outweigh money? Where do you draw the line and just live a little?!?!
PS: Update to come within the week on what we’re deciding. There’s a 99.9% chance it’s a no, but I will be sure to update!!
UPDATE: We saw the house yesterday and while it was nothing short of spectacular, we decided against it. The interior was amazing – it was cozy, rustic, had original dark hardwood flooring (my fave), elegant chandeliers and just “looked” North Carolina. Thankfully, our decision not to get it had nothing to do with money, but everything to do with location. The house backs to a MAJOR HIGHWAY. I knew this going in, but the house is on 3/4 of an acre and is surrounded by trees, so I didn’t think much of it. Boy was I wrong!!! While you can’t hear it on the inside (I’m sure it would be a different story at night though), the outside is so loud and stressful that we would never use the patio. Huge downer. So while I’m bummed about the location, there’s nothing I can do about it. Plus, we’re saving thousands by staying put where we are for a little while longer 🙂