Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Living Within Our Means

So MathMan and I did a little grown up decision making. We could have chosen the fabulous house with the hardwood floors, outside storage barn and inground swimming pool for $1,450 per month. Nice subdivision, even closer to the nearest biggish town than the house we selected. Garbo would have had to change schools next year, though.

Instead we chose a good enough house with carpet (not my favorite), an okay subdivision, close enough for The Actor to walk to school, Garbo can remain in her school and take the bus. There is no pool, but the rent is $995 per month.

Big difference. We weighed the difference in rent. We considered the associated costs that would come with the pool. We chose prudent. Dare I say it - conservative.

I called the realtor who is handling the more expensive house and told her we thought that the rent would be too much of a stretch, but thank you anyway. Then we finished up the lease signing for the other place and started to handle all the moving things, utilities, collecting of boxes, arranging for movers to help us move that heavy safe full of sex toys.

The realtor called back. The owners thought we'd make great tenants and did we think we could do $1,200 per month? Screeeeeeeeeech! Think. Think. Think. Oh the pool! The pool!!!!!! Hardwood floors! The wraparound porch! The master on the main floor away from the kids rooms!

My inner accountant wagged her finger. It's still $205 more per month plus whatever the added costs of pool care and electricity would be. My father the pessimist's voice became very pronounced in my head. "You just know something will go wrong with the pool anyway and you'll spend half the summer with it out of commission." Shut up, Dad. Go to hell, Inner Accountant.

But. But! But!!!!!! Oh, fuckery. They're both right.

"Thanks, all the same, the house is lovely, but we really must keep our rental expenses as low as possible," I tell the nice realtor lady. Then I hang up the phone and sob like the spoiled child I once was.

Speaking of the house.....for one of the other lisas, (there seems to be a growing army of us) here's a whole mess of pictures of our current location. And here are a couple of pictures of the new place...

The curb appeal shot. Or not.
See, in this here part of Georgia, we don't dig basements, we raise our houses.

The party deck. As if.
Okay - the place where I'll most often be freaked out by wasps who love the wood.
Needs flowers. Stat!

The living room trying to be more posh than is reasonably necessary.
Bets on where the first cat hurl stain will be?

The RED kitchen. I'll bet if we put a radio in there, it will turn itself on in the middle of the night and broadcast recent episodes of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.
It's that red.

More photos to come! Including:
  • The love tub.
  • The bathroom that will never match any of our towels.
  • The Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs. (Note to MathMan - will that be the tornado shelter? We'd better not cram it full of the suitcases and the sex toy safe like we'd discussed, if that's the case.)
  • The fight to the death over the basement bedroom with its own half bath.
  • New blogging ops.

And with the money we save, maybe we can stimulate a little bit of the economy with a couple of day trips somewhere fun this summer or by purchasing more sex toys. The safe isn't quite full. Yet.


  1. I completely get it Lisa. We tried to leave this apt complex and move someplace nicer, newer, bigger. The numbers just didn't work. So instead we're cramped (but do have a pool to share with 200 others), and we're not in debt.

  2. Yup...I applaud your difficult but sensible (blergh) decision! The Aussie & I are facing a similar decision...He looking at fancy schmancy homes around $900-1000 a month...whereas I'm going for something under $800. Right now we're on $1300 per month, but all utilities (and cable/internet) are included. It is going to be hard to beat that. Sometimes it sucks having to be a grown-up!! *pout*

  3. Tough, but good decision. I'm actually looking at above ground pools for my yard. Nothing you could dive into, but deep enough to float around and cool off on hot summer days.


  4. A house where The Actor walks to school is invaluable. It is nice. I can't say I love our aging carpet, but I am happier with it than I would have expected.

    My love to you all. (I'll take 12th dibs on the basement apt, BTW :)

  5. I have a red kitchen


    . . . Sherwood

  6. 1) We have a teal cubby-space where my computer is - a kind of built-in miniature desk. I love teal. Red? What are they covering up, blood?

    2) I love the front facade, and that deck? Are your neighbors close, because my wife and I could definitely find stuff to do out on that deck when the wasps are asleep. . .

    3) Do you have guest space? I think the preacher and I might just have to test drive that deck!

  7. 995 a month is GREAT, and that's a nice place (and the cabinets will look 100% better if you buy some new hardware for them...just hang on to the old stuff and you can change it back when you move out). And since you're saving six grand a year, you can afford to join a swim club, which would probably cost 5 or 6 hundred for the other words, all of the swimming and none of the work! I'm so happy you found such a nice place for such a reasonable rent.

  8. In spite of the recent description of Republicans as red don't worry they are generally afraid of anything bright and cheery even red.

  9. I had a house for over 10 years with a pool and it was fine. Takes about an hour a week to keep it up (vaccum, back flush the filter, etc.) and a couple hours twice a year to take the filter apart and fine clean the grids. Make sure you get a "DE" filter Vs "sand" as it'll keep the water clear. There isn't much to break execpt the pump motor. You just have to keep it clean the chemicals balanced. I would never add a pool to a house as you'll never get the money back out of it when you sell. Buy a house that already has one.......and don't video directions to it!

    "love tub"....another one for the lexicon, I love it!

  10. Not bad for a rental.

    That red and the cabinets don't seem to go together very well, but red was the trendy color for kitchens for awhile.

  11. "Dare I say it - conservative"

    Yes, yes, embrace the feeling! See, little by little, you're coming over to the dark side...

    Seriously, best of luck to you and the family

  12. As a trendy gay man I love love love my red and black kitchen! It is soo not a color I would normally pick, but I love it and with the right pictures you will love it too. Smart choice really sucks being an adult.

  13. I congratulate you for your difficult decision. However, the house you are moving into looks great - love the deck(s) on the back. Put some plants out there and some lawn furniture and you'll be having a lovely summer. And yes, you can recreate your gardens in the back. Sometimes it's good if nothing has been planted - the soil isn't worn out!

    I agree with Travelingman about the red. It's kinda cool. You could make it interesting. (Or you could paint it over if you really hate it). I have a friend who did her kitchen black, white and red - put black and white tile on the floor. It looks good.

  14. I think you made the best decision- even $200 is a lot of money to save these days!

    The new house is huge- will they let you paint if you want to make changes?

  15. I would have been sooooooooo pissed with you if that story had ended up with you taking the more expensive place - even at $1200/month.

    It's not being conservative - it's being responsible. We may not be at the bottom of this financial rollercoaster ride yet, and so you deserve a pat on the back for making the right choice. The decor may suck, but it's only a renter. When you beaver away that $200-300/month* and can afford to shift gears, then you can get fussy.

    Sorry to be the voice of reason, not fun, but I think you don't deserve to be in the bind you are now, and hope the changes you are making won't just keep you afloat, but will improve your buoyancy.


    *Yes, I'm also suggesting you have enough sex toys. You don't NEED another. Save the money for a rainy day. Or rainy month. Boring. Conservative. But responsible.

  16. I so loving that multi-tiered deck on the back. As much as I want a pool (above ground), I don't think I want the SOLE responsibility of taking care of the damn thing. I'm so happy that everything is working out well for you guys. Georgia has the right idea - build up - no digging. My basement is an albatross.

  17. I love that you have a cupboard under the stairs!

  18. I applaud you. I would have been bad and took the house with the pool. Nice looking house. I am hoping you will be very happy there.

  19. is that a man size safe full of sex toys?
    and I must say and army of Lisa's scares the living shit out of me! :)

  20. You're paying 995 a month for this place? It's an entire house! For 895 a month, we moved into a crack den that's roughly the size of your living room. With the fireplace in it. Sheesh.

  21. I am a jealous renter. In California for $2450 a month we get 1500 sq ft next to the railroad tracks!

    Whoo whoo!

  22. Almost forgot - if you don't have a basement then, yes, that closet under the stairs is your tornado shelter. Throw some sleeping bags in there and tell Mathman it's now the Love Den.

    Also, remember it's a rental -- unless you plan on being in it for many, many years don't waste money on painting (which the landlord could require you to undo when you leave) or cabinet hardware you'd never have a use for again. Focus on the stuff you like and ignore the aspects, like bathroom colors, that aren't your taste. We've got truly hideous ivy wallpaper in our apartment's kitchen and, tempted though I am to talk with the manager about permission to change it, the rational part of me sees no reason to spend actual money improving a property I do not own.

  23. Looks great! Sometimes being all adult and such can be a drag... but I am sure you will be happier there.

    Plus quirky has its charm eh?

    And.. I dig your kitchen!!!!

  24. As a life-long (so far) renter, I'm with Nan. I once made the mistake of improving someone else's house and not only did I waste the money I spent fixing someone else's house, I was *charged* for 'defacing' their property.

    So, no. Garden in containers (yes, even the flowers), plaster over the red with pictures or ask that the house be re-painted (you have that right as a new tenant in Georgia, IIRC, but they'll paint it all white. Just sayin') and anything you and Mathman fix, make sure you can deduct the parts/supplies off the rent with receipts. If not, don't fix it--call the landlord.

    It looks like a really nice house and the price is really good for that area of GA. YOU should get the bedroom with the half-bath, IMO. LOL

  25. Another lisa? And here I was thinking of changing my interwebs name. Damn you all.

    Too bad you guys don't get blanketed with snow, that party deck would make for some funky sledding.

    You guys sure that red isn't fresh blood from the previous tenants?

  26. It looks great. I love love love the deck, and it'll be fantastic with flowers. I don't think you will reget your choice. Lower rent was smart, walking to school and not changing schools are both huge. And honestly, I love a RED (or orange - my fave, honestly) kitchen. I'm not kidding. Betty's has red tiles on the walls behind the counters.

  27. I can soooo relate. As a kid, you can't wait to be an adult so you can do what you want, then you grow up and the adult makes you do the sensible thing! Never fun, but always the right choice. Congrats!

  28. I think your new place is adorable!! And a great price - 3 BR condos here rent for $1400!
    I love red walls - my powderroom is red and it looks great with black ledge shelves and art/photos in cheap black frames. My cheap art idea: buy calendars in Feb when they go for pennies and put the art in frames. I switch them out with the seasons are when I get a wild hair.

  29. I think that you made a great decision. (Pools are definitely an expensive hassle.) I think that Garbo not having to change schools was the deal-clincher.

    I'm really glad that you don't have to worry about flooding -- strike that one off the list; and I'm also glad that I don't have to worry about you being homeless. Onward!

  30. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with some of these people. PIANI OVER THE RED! And you never have too many sex toys!
    By the way, I need a vacation. I will be happy to stay in the Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs.
    But seriously, I do applaude you for taking the cheaper house. As long as their is room to eat and sleep, what else do you need?

  31. I personally love the red kitchen--but paint is an easy fix, and the porch will be lovely with flowers. You're a wise woman, and your future self will thank you for not going into debt!


  32. The new place looks fine.
    Paint the kitchen wall.
    Good to go.

  33. Wow, it's like I don't even know you anymore.

    KIDDING! Way to stick to your guns, Lisa. A very wise and disciplined decision. Use the extra cash on sex toys, baby. It'll be worth it.

  34. There's nothing wrong with fiscal conservatism. It got me out of debt. It'll work for you too. Besides, it's not like the gov't is gonna bail you out.

    I'll third Nan's suggestions. My last landlord told us that we could paint the apt any color we wanted, so long as it was white.

    $995/month wouldn't get you much here, maybe a two bed apt in the child unfriendly part of town. Amazing what one can get for one's money in different parts of the country.

  35. Lisa, I like the new house, and way to know when to say when. It's not always fun, but you made the right choice.
    I have a red wall in my dining room.....I love it.
    I hope and pray this will be a good move for your family, hang in there girl!
    OH.......and sex toys with the extra money, and maybe a bit toward the debts, what the heck!

  36. This place looks FAB!!!! Yay on (hopefully) the hardest parts of all this stuff being done!?

  37. How do I miss all these good posts?

    I think I better come to visit.

    FranIam illegally blogging from work

  38. you did good. :) save some of that money you would have spent as a down payment on your new house you and MM will one day have again in the future.

  39. The real Lisa checking in.

    Your garden is amazing. Take some of the plantings with you and he rental will feel like home in no time.

  40. I love the look of it. And whatever goes wrong will be fixed by the owner, not you. It looks great and will look fabulous with your stuff in it. Especially random cat puke and the occasional stealth crapper.

    And I have a red kitchen and a red bathroom. I once had a tiny red bedroom the color of cream of tomato soup. I never slept better anywhere and it was a great room to take acid in. Just saying.

  41. down here, that house would cost you at least twice as much to rent. it looks very nice, and i wish you every happiness there. hardwood floors get scratched, and a storage barn would just be an opportunity to amass more crap. the actor being able to walk to school, garbo being able to remain in her school, and you and mathman not having to worry how you are going to pay the rent are more important than ugly kitchen cabinets. get the cabinets new 'jewelry'. new drawer pulls and cabinet knobs can make a big difference.

  42. I think this house looks like a good choice--at least it looks good to me! :)

  43. you made the right choice and i'm proud of you....betting it was hard to give up on the wood floors...sigh.....but think what you can do with the extra cash besides sex toys!! more frilly underwear, a cashmere sweater (or two assuming they are cheaper down there), some easter candy for everyone....the list is endless!! pools are over-rated and cost a fortune and your cats will fall in a drown, not a pretty sight.

    and I like the look of it too excepting that kitchen but i've lived in way worse than that and I can't wait to see the love tub! ;)

    thanks for your comment today on my messy new passion! xoxo

  44. Wow! That's a lot of house for $995 a month. Good for you for choosing the less expensive option. I think it looks great, especially the beautiful red wall.

    You would faint if you could see the colors in my house. Life is too short to live with white walls.


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