the homeowner blues

today was the first day of my shortened vacation. i like to pretend i’m european sometimes, so i always take a week off at the end of august. due to some upcoming projects, i’ll be needing that PTO at a later date, so i’ve only got three days off this week.

the BF and i started out the day with lunch at our favorite restaurant, circa bar and grill. my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew were in town, so they joined us. my little buddy decided to spend the entire lunch wiggling around, screeching, throwing the pacifier under the table where no one could reach it, and giving everyone big grins. he’s huge; he’s almost six months old and weighs a ton already. then i played cupcake fairy and dropped off some leftover pumpkin cupcakes at work (delicious. super, yummy, delicious. even the BF, who doesn’t like cake, likes them.)

because we’re nothing if not responsible people, we headed to the downtown BECU financial center to see what we could find out about home loans. we’d done this a few years ago, with our old bank, WAMU (before they were bought by evil chase), and while it was informative, it was beyond us at the time. i think i had maybe $200 in savings. this time, the rep at BECU we sat down with was helpful and, well, discouraging.

it’s not her fault. really, it’s ours. it’s something we should have anticipated. we thought we were fine, bumbling along with our 3.5% down plan (total goal amount: $10,500.00). turns out we’d need that PLUS an additional $5-6,000.00 for closing costs, because there’s no guarantee the seller will cover your closing costs. considering it takes us a year to each save $2500.00, we’ll have to stay in our rental for ANOTHER year if we have any chance of saving for the closing costs.

disappointing doesn’t even begin to cover it. housing prices in seattle have been up and down and all over the place, but not nearly as much as they have been in the rest of the country. this is good and bad. good because it helps when you’ve got to plan a few years out, bad because, well, you still can’t afford it.

i don’t do budgets. they are soul sucking, mind-numbing things that for me, serve absolutely no purpose because my life just does not work on a budget. actually, it probably could, if i made some serious adjustments (as the BF pointed out, i could stop buying shoes. which is SO not happening). but consider this: our grocery bill is $500 a month. for TWO people. where the fuck does all the money go?

so on our bus ride home, we were trying to figure out where we could cut and scrimp and shave off a few cents. part of it is just that we’ve done as much of that as we can already, and to do more would mean we’d be like hermits for the next nine months. i’m not a particularly social person, but i do like to at least have the option to go out and do something. it doesn’t help that our anniversary dinner cost $150…$50 of that was a bottle of wine. but it was a superbly delicious bottle of wine. an ’04 horse heaven hills red blend bottle of wine. totally worth it.

where else…there’s our cell phone bill. the bill is $120 a month. again for two people. we use maybe 200 of the minutes, the remaining 300 are rolled over, we’ve got over 3,000 rollover minutes…it’s ridiculous. i thought about a pre-paid phone, but i use the net a bit too much on my phone, and the BF uses the GPS feature, so that doesn’t work either.

what i really didn’t like was looking at the bottom line: the mortgage payment, on a presumed purchase price of $289,500.00 home with 3.5% down, was still $2,000.00 a month. that’s $600 more than our current rent payment, and while we could afford it, we could kiss vacations and $150 dinners good bye.

we came up with a few pie-in-the-sky ideas: i could sell my book (or books), the BF could get a recording contract with his current band, cordaviva, one of us could suddenly inherit a shit-ton of money, or (and this is my favorite) ghiradelli could subsidize my writing career by keeping me supplied with their double chocolate hot cocoa mix. because i swear, i go through a canister of that stuff every two weeks, and while it’s not the most expensive item on our grocery list, it does add up over time.

le sigh. i hate money. nothing depresses me more than trying to do math, or stare at budgets, or trying and make it appear out of nowhere. maybe i’ll buy a delorean and take myself back to like, the middle ages. i’d happily trade increased disease and filth for bartering.

or maybe not.

*image via weheartit

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