I've decided to start a series of posts that focuses on mistakes we've made with our money. This will help me to see patterns and learn from our past. Will it help anyone else? I'm not sure, but since there's a chance it might, here goes.
Regret #1: Too Much House
My husband and I spent our first year together living in the smallest house I've ever been in. It was a mother in law cottage behind another house, 425 square feet, with a tiny bathroom (your knees touched the door and the shower barely had enough room to turn around in), slapdash kitchen (stove burners, a sink, and a fridge), just enough room to walk around the bed, and a living room. It was tiny but we made it work. When we started having issues with our front neighbor and realized the house itself was making us sick (lots of mold) we were out of there.
We moved from there into a condo that was almost exactly twice the square footage. We had a spare bedroom which was where the laundry was and a huge bathroom. It was awesome. We should have known, however, that the extra space wasn't really necessary. The massage/meditation room turned into the piled-up-dirty-laundry room. After discovering that the space was less than ideal (landlady was subletting without permission of the owner, drug deals in the parking lot, etc.) we moved out.
Hubby called me and told me he'd found an awesome place and we'd love it. I met him and the owner with the check for our first month's rent and deposit. He had written down the wrong amount so I had to borrow $1000 from my parents in order to make the deposit, but we had to find a place right away and this place was gorgeous.
It had three bedrooms. The largest one made our bed look small and had a walk-in closet and attached bathroom. The other two shared the guest bathroom. There was also a huge office, dining room, and kitchen with breakfast nook. In the center of the house was a huge living room that led out to the lanai and beyond that was a huge back yard and lake.
We spread our stuff out. We had to purchase a washer and dryer on credit as it didn't have one. We made one bedroom our meditation room and the other our massage room. I bought a second-hand dining room table and chairs for the dining room. We upgraded to a king-sized bed. Eventually we bought a pool table and put the dining room table in the massage room.
I loved many things about that house, but it was stupid.
The first year we lived there it cost us $1000 a month plus utilities. The A/C was inefficient and our electric bills were frequently high.
After the first year he raised the rent to $1200 a month.
Now, at the time, that wasn't a horrible rent. My parents were paying $965 for a smaller 3/2 house and that was considered a fabulous rent.
The reason why it was expensive was because we didn't need the space. I wish we would have moved into a 2/1 or 2/2 apartment and saved all that money.
At the time it felt like we were gaining space we psychologically needed. We justified it by claiming that we deserved it after the year in the tiny place.
So, so wrong.
Looking back I realize that we were unable to keep our belongings organized and clean in the cottage. Dust and mold got everywhere. We didn't have room to have people over and the lack of full kitchen drove me nuts. I love to cook.
We would have been fine with a full kitchen, enough room for a table and chairs, and a better organizational system. The condo would have been perfect if we'd have been able to stay there.
I guess the moral of the story is that we need to really figure out what is bothering us about a situation before we try to fix it.