Year One!

Hello again friends and followers!

I delayed my typical Tuesday blog post in celebration of a special day – December 9th, 2015. Yes, I mean 2015. One year ago TODAY, my husband and I stepped into the world of homeownership with the purchase of our first house. This “adulting” anniversary seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to share my reflections of the past year.

I prefer to “practice what I preach”. So, we used the tips, tools, and resources provided in the eHomeAmerica Homebuyer Education Course along with my NeighborWorks America® homeownership counselor training to prepare for this big step. We did it! We bought a house, and then the REAL work began…  

Prioritizing Wants & NeedsSoon after moving in, the checklist of wants began – curtains, rugs, furniture, appliances, so on and so forth. We finally had a place of our own and we wanted to make it our own. But there was another list – fix the leak that we discovered the first week we moved in, replace the hoses on the washer and dryer to fit properly in their new space, purchase storage shelves and bins to organize the chaos, etc., etc. We had to weigh our priorities and push some of our wants to a wishlist. It was tough! 

Adjusting To Increased ExpensesOur new home is more than twice the size of the one we were renting. Of course, this was a major selling point, but more space to move about also means more space to heat and cool. I nearly fell over when I looked at our first heating bill! We had to re-work the budget and cut down on our spending habits in order to be sure we had enough funds to keep ourselves comfortable in our new (expanded) space.  

Restoring The Emergency Fund: Our savings took a bit of a hit when we purchased the home, and in the midst of bouncing back, my husband had to have dental work done, including surgery. It was such a relief to have an emergency fund to fall back on, but now the balance needs to be restored in order to have funds for future scenarios and situations. We had to re-work the budget (again!) and cut down on our spending habits (again!) in order to allocate additional funds into our emergency savings account.

Planning For The FutureOur new home also introduced us to new experiences which altered some of our financial plans for the future. Landscaping and outdoor lighting became much more important to us after the night some creepy guy was found hiding in the overgrown bushes outside of our bedroom. Pest control climbed the ladder of significance when termites were found making themselves at home in our laundry room. And I touched earlier on the need for increased energy efficiency. The values of safety, security, and comfort all factor into our plans for future spending and thus into our need for current savings. Back to the budget… again!   

We love our home! We also take great pride in what we have accomplished as homeowners, because it has been serious work. We had to keep a watchful eye on our budget and make changes as life happenings occurred. We did it! We survived year one!

Until next time, keep calm and keep up with the CASH blog!  

Alicia Marsh

Alicia Marsh

Homeownership Coordinator

aliciam@ihs-housing.org 

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