Since we finally made the decision to start looking in earnest for a house to buy about this time next year, I have been thinking about ways to get us better prepared for that event. We have definitely been good about building up our savings and we have been even better at keeping our debt pretty much at zero, but I still feel like there is more that we could be doing.
Of course my getting back into the fulltime job market will be a key element–but that isn’t scheduled to happen until the end of August for various reasons. And we certainly need to refresh our memories about the process itself, find a agent we like and trust, the best way for us to structure the deal, etc. But it occurred to me that we could help ourselves out financially and logistically if we stopped acquiring “things” over the next year. We would obviously save money and we would have fewer things to move when we do find the right house. Of course not acquiring things for a year won’t put much of a dent in the overall amount of what will need to be moved, but hey, at least we won’t be adding to it.
The rules for this year of non-acquisition are a little squishy at the moment. I want it to be meaningful, but I also realize that there will be things that come along that aren’t “needs” but we feel are important nonetheless. For instance I know John is going to want to replace a few pots out in the garden and will be buying plants for the upcoming growing season. And I am going to start going to a sing-along group and there is a song book that I will have to buy. But these will be exceptions to the rules. Too often the inclination is to buy first and think about other options second. We are by no means shopaholics–not even close–but we do tend to buy what we want without thinking much about it or putting it into a larger context of its utility. This especially happens when we travel. Museum book/gift stores are probably are weakest moments.
And I should be truthful, I am not really proposing some set of austerity measures. We love to travel and have several trips already planned for the next year. So we sill still be spending money–and doing our bit to stimluate the economy–but there are lots of little things along the way that we don’t really need. And given that I have been blessed with the oppoturnity for so much wonderful travel, I don’t really need birthday or Christmas presents.
I haven’t talked to John about this yet. I think I can get him onboard–as long as I exempt his gardening budget. Still, I am determined to do it even if he decides not to. I love having a goal. I will let you all know when I fall off the wagon.
And don’t even get me started on the necessity for consumer spending to prop up all of our livlihoods. We consume, therefore we live to eat and breathe another day. And the crazy notion/reality that we have to consume our way to a more sustainble, green planet. Ridiculous of course, but it is a bind we seem to find ourselves in.
When I need inspiration to clear out my accumulated junk, I read this book called “Clear your clutter with Feng Shui” – Karen Kingston. (oh, does that make me sound oh so Boulder?) Spring is a good time for that. It’s not about depriving yourself, just about not letting all your stuff drag you down.