Life Up and Down-sized.

NOTE: This is a very long and probably boring blog about our current plans and finances. Im mostly writing it to myself just to lay it all out, but would love any comments or opinions on any of the situation.  (=

Our good friend Jake is in town this weekend. Jake is a financial guru, kind of. He majored in finances in college and has worked in banks for quite some time. He’s very smart and financially together. He deals mostly with home loans and things of that nature, so he has been giving us advice on our financial situation.

Mr. Gaunt and I are a big cross roads with our life and our money. We are currently living at the top of our means, and we are looking to upgrade our future. Both of us are not great with money, we have both spent the last (5 for me) 10 years acting as if we don’t really need to think about the future and that when the time comes we will figure it out. TIMES UP FOLKS!

-We currently rent an adorable 2 bedroom (1000 sq ft) apartment in Colorado. It’s very nice and upgraded and we love it. However it is WAY too expensive, especially for renting. We have friends that pay as much or a little less that we do on their mortgages. On top of that we have a number of utilities to pay for. And the truth is, we feel like we have almost outgrown this place. With two bedrooms, our second room quadruples as an Office (with 2 desks and computers), A sewing and craft room (I have craft supplies coming out my ears), storage for extra bedding and blow up mattress for guests, storage for things like vacuums, board games, electronic equipment, painting supplies….the list goes on. Its pretty much crammed full of stuff, only organised enough so that I don’t go crazy. It’s so though that its hard to even do projects in there because it makes such a huge mess in the tiny space.

So of course we really want to buy a house. Of course we have no credit or down payment money. And renting a house seems like SUCH a waste. To even find a descent house to rent would put us way over our budget. It’s just not possible.

-We also currently have 2 cars. My car has a car payment…uggg. When my old car seized its engine back in May I went out and got a new (10-year-old) car to replace. Finally sucking it up and paying a car payment. At the time I did it, I really didn’t think I had any other options. Looking back it was a HUGE mistake.

I have spent the last year cancelling all of our extra service. Cable, gym, weight watchers, netflix, etc. I had saved us a little over $200 a month doing this. Well one freak accident and a car payment later and we have no savings anymore.

We also HAD to do some work on Mr. Gaunt’s car, that and the vacation to Washington in July (which I wouldnt take back for the world) completely wiped out our savings. Im talking $0 left. So now we sit living paycheck to paycheck.

So Mr. Gaunt and I have spent the last 3 months trying to convince both of our bosses to let me transfer to his team at work. So we can sell my car and carpool. We finally got the ok, and Friday will be my last day on my team. This is such a relief! So I plan on putting my car up for Sale on Craigslist this week. Hopefully ***FINGERS CROSSED*** I can sell it for about what I owe, and be done with it. There will be challenges to only having one car, but the savings (of almost $300 a month) will be so worth it. It was also make things easier when we move, as we can just tow the other car behind the uhaul.

-The wedding is our next big expense. I get mixed opinions when I talk to people about the wedding and the cost. For Mr. Gaunt and I its important to have a nice wedding for our friends and family to celebrate our union. Many people say “elope, or do it the back yard” but that’s not what we want. I’m sorry. I’m absolutely one of those girls that has dreamed about planning her wedding for years. The whole process is fun and exciting and wonderful! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course we don’t really have the money to go big. I’m trying my hardest to be crafty and frugal and make sacrifices in things like location and photographer so the we can keep it in budget (whatever that may be) the wedding wont be big, probably less than 100 guests. We are making all the food and drink and decorations. I plan to get an inexpensive dress and make my own invitations. But it’s still expensive. At this point we are hoping to keep it between $6k-$8k. Which seems like a lot unless you look at the national average of $20k for weddings. We are also taking all the help we can get, be it labor or gifts or whatever anyone wants to contribute. Weddings are a beautiful way for family and friends to come together and celebrate. We want the whole things to be as fun and low stress as possible. Go with the flow.

-And on to moving. We will be moving some time in April (or lease ends at the end of April) we have signed a 6 month lease starting in October. When the time gets closer we will look into the options of transferring our jobs or getting new ones. We really want to move to Olympia, but the most important thing in moving is finding affordable housing, schools, and jobs. Mr. Gaunt is currently looking into/thinking about going to nursing school in the winter of 2011, so we need to find a place where he can do that. And yes we understand that he will have to pay out of state tuition for the first year or so.

Moving fees in generall are going to be high. Renting a uhaul will cost us anywhere from $1500-$2000 to move to another state. YIKES! We are currently trying to decide if it makes more sense to just sell stuff and buy new instead of paying those costs. although things like our bed and couch are not things we want to give up, and they of course are the things that require the large moving trucks. I have even looked in to PODS and things of that nature, also crazy expensive. Our friend in Olympia have offered to let us stay with them for a short while so we can get jobs and look for places, otherwise we will have to rent something long distance.

We are also talking about really drastically downsizing our place of living once we move. Like I said we would love to have a house, but we want to buy one, not rent one. So we need to save money. If we can suck it up and rent a smaller one bedroom apartment for a year or two and save $300-$400 a month on rent then maybe we can get our shit together enough o buy a house. This would mean getting rid of lots of stuff and being ok with having just one bedroom for a while. It even means registering for wedding gifts might need to just be in gift cards so we can save them for when we do get a house. Would our guests be cool with just giving us money/giftcards?

-Mr. Gaunt is also in the works of building his credit. Neither of us have a lick of credit, although I have about $1000 I owe in old fees that I just havent been able to pay off. Which is why we are working on his credit first, I know its important for me too, I just need to pay that money off. Apparently its near impossible to get a credit card when you have no credit. We are working with our bank to get a “good customer” exception letter going to hopefully get a starter credit card. We have also been talking to Jake about our options for IRA’s and such to build some savings, as well as proper ways to use credit cards to help and not hurt you. ITs all just a very long complicated process, and unfortunately as Jake says, we are staring off in a bad economic time. Although there’s no time like the present!

-We are also working a LOT on our painting business. We have had great feedback, lots of email inquiries, and couple sales. We have plans to do a craft fair in October and I’m working my butt off promoting and listing new items. We really hope that this can be some extra income.

We are also looking into extra work. We both worked yesterday for time and half, and are working on Monday for double time. This will add almost 25% more to our paychecks. I also applied for a season position at Pier 1 that I could work in the evenings. We just have to make the sacrifice and work our butts off these days.

So that’s where we are at. I need to once again re work our budget to salvage any money we could be saving. And I want to note that even if we weren’t moving we still need to do this. We need to learn the value of a dollar and the hard work of paying yourself first. Life hands you all sorts of obstacles, and if you really want something you have to know how to get it. The next 2-3 years are going to be some of the hardest and most rewarding years of our lives. These are the years that we will build our future off of. And we thank everyone for their love and support during this time.

TODAYS TO DO LIST:

(I sacrificed a pool party and bbq and a sweet baby boy to get some shit done around here)

-Laundry

-Grocery Shopping

-Make dinner plans for the week. Ive been good at making enough dinner to have lunch for the both of us the next day.

-Make pumpkin scones and granola bars

-Finish painting and packaging up painting

-List 2 new items on Etsy

-Research selling my car

-Go through art supplies for garage sale. And the rest of the house.

-Call my mom, and maybe the grandparents too.

-Research housing and moving options.

And because it goes against my religion to post with out pictures:

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11 thoughts on “Life Up and Down-sized.

  1. This sounds like a pretty comprehensive plan honey. I know you guys can do it. You make a good team, and seem to be totally on the same page with your plans. I have total faith in you.

    • Thanks mom! Im so excited about what we talked about earlier. It seems like a really sweet possible opportunity. Please let me know as soon as you hear anything and I will be as supportive as possible!

      Love you!

  2. I have the same feelings about money that you do and it gives me anxiety just reading this post. I have to say that I agree with Jake about this being a bad economic time to be planning this much outflow of money. That said, your plans look like you’re on top of what has to happen. If I may offer one piece of advice, I would vote against selling everything and buying new when you move. This is known as ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, and will cost you more down the road than you will realize by selling your stuff.

    Life has a way of working things out and I will keep you both in my prayers.

    • well Jake was more saying that its a hard economic time to build credit and buy a house. I think anytime would be a bad time to get married and move to another state all within a year. No matter whats its gonna be spendy.

      As for selling stuff, Im just not sure what to do. Nothing we own is of much value, things like bookshelves and extra dishes, its all stuff from thriftstores anyways. Plus if we are going to downsize, we really dont need to replace it when we move. By no means are we getting rid of nice things or anything we couldnt buy again, just the excess of nicnaks and bedding and dishes and books and such. We wont have another garage sale opportunity before we move so its sort of now or never to make money off it.

      I spend far too much of my life worrying about money. It definitely gives me anxiety, but putting it all down in writing gives me focus. We will be ok, we will figure it out, and J always believes that what is needed will come to us, and that new opportunities are always there we just have to notice and accept them.

      We live a good life now, but we are both unhappy with our jobs and with living paycheck to paycheck. We want to be able to do more things and be more financially stable. Although moving to washington is going to be hard, I feel like its the best thing to get us going in the right path. Im not willing to settle down here, therefore I put off school and finding a new job. Once we move I can really get the fire under both our butts going. I know others don’t understand, but its what we both want right now.

      Im trying my hardest to make it as easy on everyone, but I cant please the whole world. And J says he is 100% on board with everything. So together we just have to keep taking steps to get us where we want to be. We just want support in doing so.

      • When are you having the garage sale? That’s a great way to turn unwanted things into cash. Let me know if I can help you at the sale – you know I love schmoozing with people!

  3. I used to work in nursing admissions at OHSU in Portland, so please let me know if you have any questions regarding applying and getting into nursing school. I also wanted to clarify for you the residency laws for most schools. A student is unable to establish residency for tuition purposes while going to school full time–so if Mr. Gaunt would prefer to go to school full time rather than part time while working, I would highly recommend that he wait one year and start in 2012, rather than 2011. You possibly already know that, but it’s a common misunderstanding for students and can be really devastating when you have to reassess your finances.

    But, kudos to you in organizing your thoughts. Finances are so hard and can be so stressful. You seem to have your head in the right place and are being realistic. Good luck!

  4. I wasn’t going to mention it, BUT OHSU is one of the top medical schools in the country. I think you would both LOVE Portland..think about the size of the city=diversity in terms of open job opportunities, a HUGE craft and art support system with many places and events to sell at, tons of neighborhoods with apartments and houses ranging from $500-$1200/month depending on how close to the city center you want to be.

    ok, I am shutting up now 🙂

  5. Let me know if you need help assembling stuff for the wedding, or hunting for things over the summer next year! And you should totally ask for gift cards/money- I had a friend who did that last year because they were still in an apartment as well, and were going to get a house in the next year.

    • good to know. It might be tacky, but I kind of dont care…lol! And yes I will need help! I cant wait to move back and hang out with you guys!

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