Budgeting & The Keys to The Castle.
Today we signed the lease for The Castle House.
The rent is $1200 a month, which is comparable to other subdivision houses in the area. I would prefer cheaper rent, but when looking I’ve found there seems to be two categories. Nice-ish places that are around $1000+ or older, run down smaller homes that are $700-$850 a month.
After the cabin I’m choosing something in the top category, thank you very much. We can mostly afford it, so why not? We don’t have a lot of extra money because we are also paying off debt right now, however it will all work out fine in the end. We have a plan in place so that we will be debt free in a little under four years from now. (Assuming there are no major crisis events or anything.)
The debt we were able to get advise and learn from ACS credit repair, at first we were a little concerned because we haven’t done anything like this but they said We Get Results or You Dont Pay , so we went and they help us so much, we used to have a bad credit line and now it’s all gone, we combined all debt into one account at the credit union we belong to. They automatically draw the payment from Tyler’s paycheck every two weeks. The way it’s set up the amount of the payments lowers as the balance gets lower, but we plan to keep paying the same amount until it gets paid off so that it takes less time. With interest it will take something like 3.8 years to pay off. That’s really not too awful. I can’t wait for that to be done with!
I feel relieved having everything combined into one payment like that. No more trying to keep up with several accounts, or paying interest in more than one place.
I hate that we have debt in the first place. We just haven’t made enough money at certain points, like when we got stuck paying rent and our mortgage for awhile.
Tyler got promoted to team leader at work recently. Did I mention that? It included a 5% pay increase right away, plus a larger bonus twice a year. He also gets six month raises. So his income keeps rising as time goes on, and things will continue to get better and better.
For now we have $450 for groceries, gas, and incidentals each month. That’s not very much, but I can make it work. We’ve definitely had waaaay less than that before. At one point Tyler made $8 an hour, back when Rosie was a baby. I will never forget what it was like to not be able to go to the store and buy…well anything. Rosie needed a pair of shoes and I couldn’t go to Walmart and spend $10 because I didn’t have it. What a horrible feeling.
The $450 is the very lowest amount we might have in a month. Tyler often gets a lot of overtime and sometimes even double time for Sunday work, so that will give us hundreds more. And with six month raises factored in that number will go up!
I also have plenty of photography work offers, but I have to turn a lot down since I’m so busy with the kids. I get overwhelmed. $1,000 or more for a few weddings, $500 for a few births, and several $200 portrait sessions here and there…it adds up pretty quickly. I still can’t believe people pay me for this. Not only pay me, but get really excited about hiring me. Talk about a confidence boost! I also really enjoy meeting different people and often totally hit it off with clients and make life long friends. Fun stuff, especially for this shy introverted girl!
After the debt is all paid off we’re going to keep having that same amount withdrawn from his paycheck and just go into savings or invest it. That way we’d be finallygrowing a nice padded savings account for emergencies and hopefully vacations.
I feel like we’re finally reaching a point where we can be comfortable adults and not just kids struggling to make it. Know what I mean? It seems like we’ve been struggling for the past eight years just to reach a point where we have secure housing and food. Now that we’ve got that (barring any rental disasters, good Lord help me) we can focus on our relationship, our kids, etc.
I guess that’s what happens when you get pregnant at 19. It’s extra hard to grow up and be successful. But hey, it’s been…fun…or something like that. I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything.
We started moving into The Castle House today.
You guys, it is really amazing. I still don’t like being in town, but the house is a monolith. It’s indescribable.
It’s not just the big space. It’s the personality of the house itself. I don’t really have words for it yet. Even pictures cannot do it justice. It’s like a fantasy.
Here’s a perfectly awkward portrait of us in front of The Castle House before we walked in with the keys for the first time. The girls were at my parents’ house, not with us.
This is the bench in the foyer as you walk in the door. Seriously, this is in my house.
This is what will be the homeschool room, and the living room is through the doors on the left.
The top of the stairs, and the edge of the hallway:
Part of the hallway upstairs–The door with the glass window in it goes to the stairs. The door on the far right up close with the hook latch goes to the attic.
The upstairs has a total of four bedrooms, a full bathroom with a clawfoot tub, and a weird small room that looks like it was for hand washing laundry. That funny room will be the cat room with the litter box and cat food.
The only huge downsides are the bathrooms and the laundry area. The bathrooms are fugly and awkwardly outdated. I’m not sure how I can make them more comfortable, but I’ll try. Later when I have time I’ll photograph them and post pictures. You all can give me ideas of cheap improvements! I don’t think I’m allowed to tear down the hideous wallpapers or change out anything major, and I can’t afford to anyway, but there are probably some cheap tricks that will make the bathrooms feel less…horrific. The good news is the toilets and tubs all work well…that’s the most important part. Trust me, after the cabin that really is the most important part. sigh
The washer and dryer are in the scary, scary basement down a huge curved flight of steep stairs.
The kitchen is hilarious. It’s perfectly 1972. The appliances aren’t that old, but the painted brick, the cabinets, the wallpaper, and the flooring are retro. I’m just going to fully embrace it. I will be checking out the thrift store for matching 1970’s decor.
Tacky/awesome for the win!
And I’ll be honest: I’m kind of digging the wallpaper and the green sink. The light fixture is pretty sweet too. There will be pictures once we’re moved in this week, don’t worry.
I can’t believe we’re going to live here!
Tomorrow I am desperately hoping to get the last of the things out of the cabin. We’ll still have our storage shed over there, and my friend is coming to get the chickens and their coop sometime this week, but I need the house empty.
I cannot wait to be settled at The Castle House and sleeping there. (Still at my parents’ house tonight.)
Oh there is one bit of great news: The property manager called me to say he checked into the ordinances and we are allowed to have up to three chickens, no roosters, in an enclosed pen. YAY! They will be living with the bunnies in their 10×10 dog kennel.
I probably won’t get a chance to write again for a few days. We won’t have internet at The Castle House until Tuesday night. (And it’s 50 mbps!! At The Cabin it was only 1.5 mbps, not even fast enough to load webpages with graphics most of the time.)
Anyway, I won’t have time to write again before Henry’s neurosurgeon appointment. Finally the long awaited appointment has arrived! It’s on Monday morning.
But so excited about The Castle House. Many conflicting emotions going on over here…