Last month (March):
Years left: 1
P =$1,157.03, I =$57.37, Escrow =$809.48
Last month (April):
Years left: 0.91666666667
P =$1,161.61, I =$52.79, Escrow =$809.48
Amount saved from prepayment: $0
… instead of our usual 3000 sq ft ~5br/3ba.
Honestly, it hasn’t been so bad. At some point, the kids may need to stop sharing a room or may need more space for their clothes, but not yet.
We use every part of the house instead of just a third of it. I spend more time in our bedroom hiding out from everyone (DH spends about the same amount of time in our bathroom hiding). I pretty much only use our bedroom at home for sleep (and activities involving the removal and/or putting on of clothing), even though it is comparatively ginormous.
Having people visit has been difficult. If it’s my sister visiting, DC1 sleeps on the couch and she sleeps on the top bunk. If it’s a parent, DC2 sleeps with us and the grandparent sleeps in hir bed. We cannot accommodate couples unless a pair of people sleeps in the living room. In our usual home place, visitors get an entire guest bedroom suite to themselves. But… hardly anybody wants to visit us back home.
As with our graduate school days, it has been difficult to spend money accumulating stuff. The first question is again not, “how much does this cost?” but “where would we put it?” Only after we decide there’s room can we think about whether something is worth buying. (Though DH and DC1 have been testing this proposition with their growing board game collection.) But since the library system is so great and a short walk away, I don’t need so many books at home.
All in all, it’s been much easier to live here than I had expected. (1200 sq ft is bigger than our grad school apartments, but there were only two of us then!)
Now, we’re not going to sell our monstrous house and move into a smaller place when we get back. Why not? Well, part of the reason it’s so easy to deal with a small space here is because everything is in walking distance. A big park with playground, restaurants, the library. And the weather is generally nice. We don’t need to spend as much of our free time inside the house. Back home, there’s really none of that, especially not near smaller houses; home owners associations are much more likely to have amenities like parks and playgrounds.
Another reason is that the neighborhood here is relatively safe and entirely free from college students. Smaller places back where we usually live are either rural and away from everything, in high crime/bad school areas, and/or surrounded by students. Home owners associations, though horrible, seem to be a way to get away from students. We could downsize to probably 2200 sq ft and still be away from college students and coyotes and snakes, but the price differential doesn’t seem worth the hassle. We can afford what we’ve got (as you can see from our mortgage update!).
And, I can’t lie– it is a bit easier to live in a small place that’s not in the best shape when everybody else is also living in small places that aren’t in the best shape. Our standards are a lot higher where the housing is cheaper. We wouldn’t put up with a lot of stuff in the small town that just doesn’t seem like a big deal here in the city. The same was true when we moved from graduate school– peeling paint and uncovered radiators aren’t a big deal when you’re in an amazing location, but the new rural house has to be perfect and move-in ready.
How small a place are you comfortable living? Is bigger always better?