Want to make a radical step towards becoming more thrifty?
Move to a less expensive city.
I know, that sounds a bit flip coming from me. For, in fact, our family is planning a move from the Chicagoland area to Beaver, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, come June.
And yet, the idea of downsizing, whether that be a car, a house, or a city, has got me thinking.
We strive for bigger and better in America, although even this ideal has become the topic of many a conversation and prayer as we watch our nation tread the tumultuous waters of our nation's economic crisis.
And while the economic climate was the not the catalyst for my husband's desire to begin looking for a new position in ministry, it was on the list of "things to ponder". Upon visiting Beaver, we realized that relocating would not only be a wonderful professional move for George, but would also give us a bit more breathing room in the pocket book.
More to give. More to save. More to pay off debt.
Upon this realization, cost of living was bumped closer to the top of the list. We feel called to minister at this new church. The cost of living, however, is a nice perk.
My friend Angie, over at Missional Family, wrote an interesting post about making tough financial choices, one of which being to think about downsizing one's home. She and her husband have actually put their current home on the market and are planning to buy a smaller place. Who thinks this way? Seriously?
Well, Angie does. And she's cool.
I tend to think about moving "up". Apartment. Check. Condo. Check. Starter house. Check. Larger house. Ch-
Um, "Check, please."
I've changed my mind.
While we are moving to a city where the cost of living is considerably less than Evanston, IL, we sense caution as we look at homes in what is to be our new neighborhood. Sure, we could opt for the new construction home with the enormous great room, master suite, all new appliances, and a comparable or slightly less mortgage then we have now, but we have decided to go a different route on our road to thriftiness.
To lessen the overall financial strain and pressure that I think about everyday. Everyday. Did I mention that I think about our finances every day?
So, rather than the larger new home in the brand new subdivision, or the older home (that is still larger than our current home) in the area surrounding our new church, We have chosen to go with . . .
Location, location, location.
We are praying that God would lead us to an affordable home in the borough of Beaver, rather than in the neighboring townships, where, yes, we could get more house, for extremely reasonable prices. So, what gives?
What doesn't it give? Affordable housing + the ability to walk to a coffee shop, to the library, to the farmer's market, to the post office, to the - well, you get it.
Living in Highwood for 8 years and then Evanston for 10 has turned me into a walker. When we lived in our apartment and following that, our condo, we would walk to the lake for a jog, walk to shops, walk to the park, and walk to the drug store that was up the street at that time.
The location of our current home doesn't really give us that option, other than a quick jaunt to the 7-11 (for a V-8 Fusion fix), TJ Maxx (for a "please let me shop for clothing by myself" fix), and the bank (boring fix). We still make it work, somewhat, by driving to the church, parking, and then setting out on foot to run errands around town.
We simply like walking to town. And since this area of PA has things a bit more spread out, thus making two cars a necessity, we would like to retain a bit of our Highwood/Evanston flavors upon relocating. We are glad that doing so is actually an option!
For us, this means living in the borough. This also means we will most likely have an older home. A smaller home. We will either be downsizing or maintaining our current size of a home. Yes, I would LOVE a master bathroom. Perhaps, if we find something that is priced so very reasonably that we still have money left over, we can put one in. Master baths and good closet space are not typical for the homes we are viewing.
But for us, bigger isn't necessarily better.
I'd prefer a home with an emotional breathing room.
If moving to Beaver means that we can buy a less expensive home, pay off debt (and work towards living debt-free - for this is our goal), and make a fresh financial start with how we both view and use our finances, then I'll take a bold step and walk into that town.
With my children, my husband, and my dog.
Ever thought about it?
Have you prayed about a bold move?
Thrift was never more necessary in the world's history than it is today. ~Francis H. Sisson