We could be renting a cheaper house. It’s possible. We’ve thought about it. Long and hard.
But we’re staying put.
The thing is, I’ve realised that for Boyo and I, we place quite a high emphasis on financial aspects when making decisions. It’s just the way we’re wired, both tending towards more analytical and less emotive decision making. It can be helpful. But it can also be a pain.
I really wanted to move house to save ourselves some money. I’d put it to good use, I thought. Save towards our future, instead of paying so much in rent. But of course the money you think you’ll save is rarely what you really will save. There’s the cost of moving, for instance. It cost us a hundred dollars for the carpet, and a hundred for a new modem when we came here. And then our power is on a different rate here, so costs more. You just can’t predict that stuff, although I sure try!
I’d almost convinced myself we should move again when my amazing man came to the rescue. His words of wisdom? “Amy, I just don’t think you’ll survive in a house without sun.” Nah, I reasoned. I’m not home that much anymore. And this house, while it gets sun, doesn’t have a heat pump. So as long as we went to a place with a heat pump, I’d be okay, wouldn’t I? But in the end I had to concede that he knows me terribly well. I am nearly cold-blooded. So I made the choice to listen to my wise man, and stay put.
I’m glad I did. It’s easy during summer to think only of how hot the upstairs is (stifling to say the least!). It’s easy to forget how much I rely on the sun.
But just yesterday I found myself lying on the floor playing with my son, strategically wiggling myself in the direction of the stream of sunlight arcing across the lounge floor. I was just a teeny bit cold. Until I lay in the sun, at which point I felt just right.
It made me realise that I value having sun in my home immensely. Enough to spend an extra $30 a week, which is what we probably are spending compared to what we ‘could’ manage to live in.
But the sun isn’t the only thing…I’ve found at least 9 things about this place that are worth an extra $30 a week to me. So that means they are each only worth $3.30!
Sunlight. As already mentioned. It’s gold!
Bath. Munchkin had outgrown his tub. He now gets to spend hours each week playing and prunifying (that glorious state where you’ve spent so long in the bath that your fingers look like dried prunes!). It’s one of his favourite past-times. And there’s nothing better than a warm bath when you’re cold, tired, and achy. At least, that’s what I think. I am a bath girl. How I survived for three years without one, with a baby and study and bung back, I do not know. I’m making up for the lack now!
New carpet. I cannot rave enough. To be able to sit on the floor, even lie on the floor with my nose embedded in the carpet (doing my back exercises, not of my free will, believe me!) and not have an allergic reaction is amazing!
Location. Fifteen minutes walk to our bank, chemist, a supermarket and more. Just being able to take 5minutes to drive to the DVD store on a tired night is amazing. And that’s without us being walking distance to my parents too. It was SO nice not moving out of our familiar area, being able to still know the streets and the shops.
Walkway. I don’t use it as much as I used to, but I still get that wonderful sense of peace from traipsing along our walkway. And it’s a lifesaver on bored afternoons when Munchkin and I enjoy exploring together.
Internal garage. With REMOTE! Ahhhhh. Our front door is somewhat stupidly positioned at the very back of the property. So to go from front door to car/letterbox on wet days involves a slippery cobbled path that happens to be smack bang under the eaves that drip all over you. Making the garage very handy. It stores all that extra stuff that we haven’t managed to get inside the house. It holds racks of washing on wet days. Three (or so) bikes. Guinea pig straw. Recycling and rubbish bins. A spare bed for when Munchkin is bigger. Freezer. Washing machine. Tools. Chemicals. Gumboots and umbrellas and jackets. You get the idea. A LOT.
Insulation. This house is so much drier and warmer than our last. It’s incredible, what a bit of exterior insulation can do. Being asthmatics, that’s important. Very, very important. And it’s just plain nicer too to get up and the lounge be 9 degrees (Celsius) instead of 4.
Proactive Landlords. This single item would be worth $30 a week in itself! There's nothing more to say, proactive landlords are worth their weight in gold.
So you see? Money isn’t everything. And sometimes what we think will save us money isn’t going to be worth it. I live here. It’s important that I am able to LIVE. To dwell, to be at peace, to enjoy, to laugh, to rest. A home needs to be that, a home. Not just a place we are temporarily dwelling until we get to that amazing place we dream of, when we’re rich and can build our dream house from scratch, but a place to be in now, while we wait. It’s a balance between tomorrow’s needs and todays, and not all of them are tangible or monetary-based. It wouldn’t have occurred to me a few years ago to put ‘must have trees’ on my house-hunting list, but now I realise how deeply affected I am by my surroundings and how much my soul craves living, green things. There’s no point reaching my financial goals sooner if I do so at the expense of the (sometimes very thin shred) of sanity I have now, is there?