Growing Up Fever
March 14, 2012 5 Comments
The last few months I’ve been itching for something. It as if my body or mind or very nature has been craving something to prove I’m not longer a child but instead a “grown up”.
I keep wanting those basic things that you think about when you think of “adulthood”.
The husband thing I obviously can’t run out and go get. I’m currently in a wonderful relationship with Mr. Woodpecker (if you’ve read Still Life with Woodpecker, you’ll understand why this is his nickname). However, we’ve only been dating for 9 months. And while it is serious, for both of us, we’re not at the point of thinking of marriage in the short term. Which there flies out kids as well.
So what is left? A house.
Thus why you find Mr Woodpecker and myself looking at open houses on Sunday afternoons. Doing MLS searches during the week. And tomorrow morning we’re meeting with a realtor to find out the entire process of home buying since we’re both property virgins.
Here’s the thing: I’m the girl who has written post about post about why someone shouldn’t buy a house. Look, this post I even made a LIST of reasons why someone shouldn’t buy a house. No, I’ll wait, go look. And what do you know? I STILL fit just about every “do not” on that list.
I still have debt.
I want a house to feel “grown up”.
I don’t have 20% down.
I don’t even have a full emergency fund.
I know that all the signs point to “No, you can’t afford a house!” But there is this emotional, gut feeling that says “You want a house. You need a house. Go get a house, it will all work out in the end.”
So I’m looking.
Last night I was reading Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover before I was going to sleep and of course as “fate” would have it he talked about buying houses in the section I was reading. And again it was reaffirmed to me: He said that saving for a down payment on a house should come AFTER you pay off your debt and AFTER you build up your emergency fund. Exactly what I knew 2 and a half years ago when I wrote the darn post about not buying a house.
When Mr. Woodpecker asked me how much of a down payment I thought I could afford I said “Well, I have about $8,000 in mutual funds, and if I bought in August I should be able to come up with $10,000 total for a down payment”.
WHAT THE HELL?!
I can imagine a scenario where I can have $10,000 IN CASH by August for a HOUSE, but I can’t come up with $12,000 to finish paying off my credit card?! What sort of backwards world am I living in?
So here’s the plan:
Step 1: Get out of debt. (DUH) Use the money that I thought I would be able to get as a down payment and use that to pay off my stupid debt.
Step 2: Save for emergencies. Without the debt monkey on my back, I can get to $5,000 in 4 months after I pay off my credit card debt. Maybe even sooner. (If I get fired, I have to be notified a YEAR in advance, making job loss a situation that isn’t as concerning for me as it is for most people because I’ll have a year to find a new position before the income stops.)
Step 3: Save for a down payment. I can get to that $10,000 down payment in another 8 months. I can start looking once I hit $10,000 and then keep looking until I find MY house after that. Depending on how things go with Mr. Woodpecker in the next year, who knows, maybe he’ll be contributing to this as well.
What this means is that instead of getting a house in August of THIS year I could get a house in August of NEXT year. However, by waiting a year I can eliminate debt and have a larger emergency fund. These are great “peaces of mind” for going into a home ownership situation.
I still want a house, badly. However I’ve decided I’m going to use this home desire to fuel my motivation to get out of debt and get my savings bumped up.