|BUY OR RENT????|
I know many people have an emotional tie to the feeling of "owning" their own home. But with 72% of America living paycheck to paycheck (courtesy of the Nate Berkus show lol), is it worth the extra expenses that come with home ownership?
I've owned a home. It was foreclosed at the very beginning of the recession.
We now rent, and while I know my husband has an emotional motivation to someday buy a home- I am extremely happy 'merely' renting. There are plenty of months where we can barely pay rent- so WHY would we want the added expenses of a broken furnace, or an old roof, or peeling paint?? I just call my landlord.
Yes we pay oil. We pay electricity. But everything else is 'all inclusive' when it comes to rent. No surprise expenses. And now that we are finally getting to the point where we are catching up with bills and rent; we have the 'extra' money to (again finally) be able to furnish the apartment the way we want, eat better, decorate, improve the children's bedrooms, etc.
My husband and I also live on a cash diet. We have no credit cards (not totally by choice, because ideally it would be great if we had one for emergencies), but this limits our extraneous spending. Once the cash is gone, it's gone.
For bills, we use the prehistoric envelope method :) One envelope for rent, one for electric, one for cell phones, etc. and then every few months, admittedly, we scramble to come up with enough cash for the minimum oil delivery. But regardless, we are not accumulating any additional debt.
We have been living in our little apartment haven for almost 2 years now. We have not saved anything. We are just now, I would say, breaking even. But this has allowed us to get back on our feet. My husband is working extremely hard, and I am now home again doing my best to keep up the house and get the kids where they need to go, etc. without using too much gas :)
Today I am creating a budget. A much needed budget.
We have been loosely following a budget of: "we need this much for rent each week, and we'll put this much towards phone and electric each week", etc. But now that we have a better revenue stream coming IN, we should have (in theory) WAY more money left over every week than we do!
How do you create a budget for your family? When you live paycheck to paycheck, do you still leave FUN money aside? How much?