Rightsizing

At one time, my wife and I both worked. A few years ago she lost her job and has not returned to the rat race since. We agreed that she would stay home with the kids and wish we could have done this sooner. It is truly a blessing indeed. The home we have been living on was purchased with two incomes with the realistic possibility that I could still do it myself but things would be tight.

When we owned our first house we were up to our eyeballs in debt. Using Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan, I was able to break free of all debt except for the mortgage. At that point, I should have just paid off the first house, instead I was an idiot. We took the surplus money we had to buy a house that was twice the size.

The house we had was a 1300 sq foot, 3 bedroom house in a quaint area of town. It was a great house, but as the kids were getting older we felt the house was small and it was closing in on us. So we set out to make sure that we found that extra space in a 2500 sq foot house with plenty of space, but nearly 3 times as much as what I paid for my first house.

Since living here, we have rooms and a pool that now go unused. Looking from the outside, that may not be such a bad thing, but we have more than we need. The extra space I’m not using needs to be heated, insured and taxed. Running the pool pump for 4-8 hours a day and maintenance also takes a toll. If we made good use of the space, I would not feel like it is such a poor use of our family money. I’ve even offered other family members to come live with us, but they have declined for one reason or another.

The lesson I learned from bailing out of my first house, get smaller furniture. Seriously, at IKEA they show plenty of examples of how someone can comfortably live in a space as little as 500 sq feet. I would have been able to create more space simply downsizing my furniture.

We need to rightsize our living arrangements. It is very hard for people to take a pay decrease, a demotion, go from a Porsche to a Volkswagen or go from a mansion to a small house. It is a difficult feeling because it pays testament to filling our need to achieve.

This did not happen sooner because the housing market in Florida was ghastly since 2008. It has not been until the past 3-4 months the house is worth about what I originally paid for it. Before that, we were trapped here with no other choice but to short sale. I just did not have it in me to do that, so we still did our best to make ends meet, still without the use of credit cards.

That is something I hope we can tie up this year so we can have a real chance at paying the next mortgage off. Without a mortgage, my living expenses would be trivial to the point I could go work at McDonalds and still make ends meet. I want to be an entrepreneur with a very solid foundation to fall back on when things get rough. The current mortgage just feels insurmountable and does not put me any closer to my dreams.

4 Replies to “Rightsizing”

  1. A great post Russ.

    Well done on many levels and thanks for sharing,

    I wish you well with the search for that affordable, downsized home and the ultimate dream of a mortgage-free home.
    Good luck

  2. Great post Russ. We are looking to do the same thing in a way. While we can’t downsize too much as we have 5 people in the house, we are looking to minimize expenses and reduce debt.

    Looks like your patience is paying off and you will get that chance to downsize even more.

  3. We were debt free until we bought our first (1700 sq ft.) home 13 years ago. I’m glad we never succumbed to the temptation to buy more house. Property taxes doubled in the 13 years.

    Sometimes one has to look at what’s needed and avoid the wants.

    Thanks for sharing.

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