I’ve been watching that show “Til Debt Do Us Part” for the last couple of weeks. Have y’all seen it?
Basically, this woman comes in and fine tunes a couple’s finances. She figures out how they can get out of debt within a couple of years, and shows them how far into debt they’ll be if they don’t change. It’s pretty cool, actually.
It inspires me. It makes me fired up for financial change!
Right up until that means I can’t go shopping anymore, that is.
Finances are a huge source of stress for me. 99% of that comes from the fact that I don’t work so I bring in very little, yet because of me (my kids) I’m spending lots. The imbalance weighs on me.
I’m leaving out all of the “it was his choice, blah blah blah” because that’s not where this is going. Where it’s going is in my motivation for wanting to make smart financial decisions.
When the money belt gets tight, I feel the responsibility for it. For all of my attempts to keep the grocery bill low, I can blow the whole deal by ordering pizza or having a “Grandma moment” in the toy aisle. Or Am’s braces (which she got off, btw. Teeth look awesome), the coming Accutane treatments, someone needs bras or socks or underwear or school supplies or lunch money, or it’s picture time or it’s yearbook time or .. gads… it’s an endless list.
Having it broken down into a pie chart, according to the show’s recommendations of how a monthly budget should work, it not only makes it easy to see where we are overspending, it eased my mind tremendously to see that I’m within budget on things like groceries.
Of your monthly net pay, she recommends this: Housing: 35%, Debt: 15%, Life: 25%, Transportation, 15%, Savings 10%.
I’m still trying to figure out where some of the bills fall on that chart. Like medical bills, for instance, are they life or debt? (the “life” category includes everything from groceries, to gadgets to entertainment.) And does car insurance go in transportation? Do utility bills fall in the housing category?
Anyway, we’re revamping the budget and we’re committed to making some sacrifices and some changes. A lot of it will be easy for us. We do not do credit cards so that’s not going to be a problem. We don’t really have expensive hobbies to sacrifice or entertainment costs to cut. We’re pretty content little homebodies.
Some of it is little things- like, by making some slight changes to our cell phone plan, which on the surface means increasing our cell phone bill, we can eliminate the house phone and end up spending less. To the tune of about $50 a month, actually. Cancelling the boy’s WoW account that he hardly plays anymore saves another $15. Cancelling AOL since Master’s travel schedule has been drastically reduced saves another $25.
Little things add up.
So why am I telling you all this anyway? As if you care about my monthly budget!
Where it gets tricky for me is big things. Surely someone reading this will have a working knowledge of the real estate market and what that means in the banking/credit world.
Here’s my question:
We has a house. Only we don’t live in it.
Long story short, we moved here and are now renting out the old house and we’re waffling on keeping it as a rental property or selling it and being done with it.
The pros and cons that my ignorant self has are as follows:
Pros for selling:
1. It’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever move back that way. Which means we should buy a house here. Having multiple home loans in this economy scares me rotten.
2. It makes me very nervous to be so far away from it (4 hours) and have it rented out to strangers. We can’t observe what they may or may not be doing to it.
3. It is a constant source of stress, thinking about how, if something big did go wrong with it, it could potentially sink us. As landlords, we’d be required to fix it, no? (we’ve already had the furnace repair guy out there twice this winter. And at least one of those was the renter’s negligence.)
4. What we’d make as a profit by selling, we could use as a down payment on a house here.
5. It just scares me to have it sitting there. It seems like a huge liability.
1. Our payment history on that mortgage is perfect.
2. I’m sure the house could be used as collateral or.. something.. whatever.
3. The rent payment, even though it only covers the mortgage and taxes, does count as extra income (I think) if we were to apply for another mortgage.
4. We *might* move back there someday. Who knows. Nothing is certain in this economy.
5. I have no idea whatsoever of the housing market. None. It makes zero sense to me.
6. I’m sure we’d have to do some fixing up in order to get out of it what it’s worth and I absolutely do not want to do that. At all.
Probably those aren’t even the right pros and cons. I just don’t even know what to do.
So why that silly title that has nothing to do with the post?