On Living Below Our Means, Reducing Bills, And Buying A House

Bride Gives Water To Homeless
Today, MrsHM and I locked in our interest rate at 3.125% for a 10 year mortgage with a 20% down-payment. In late May, we will move in and begin our monthly payments. MrsHM has a full-time gig, and we’ve decided that my work will be flexible, consisting of part-time jobs. We were pre-approved for a $250,000+ mortgage.

Instead, we bought a $135,000 townhouse after looking at all sorts of properties. We saw old homes, new homes, townhomes and single-family homes. One day, our real estate agent commented, “I don’t think you guys know what you want.”

Wrong. We just wanted to see what was out there. We knew exactly what we wanted:

– To live WAY below our means
– Something we could easily rent out
– At least 3 bedrooms
– A spacious kitchen
– Outdoor space for gardening
– Little or no grass to mow (What’s the point? I’d rather plant vegetable and fruit gardens!)
– Laminate or hardwood floors
– 2 bathrooms would be best (We ended up with 1 full bath and two half baths)
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Giving up food, drink, sex… and consumerism?

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and a major lesson from fasting is that we don’t need as much as we think we do. We realize that much of what we consume is simply out of habit, and the same thing can be said about things beyond food and drink.

But not only are we in Ramadan with a heightened sense of awareness of our consumption, we are also in a recession – and money is tight. A recent article in the New York Times explains that the decline in American spending linked to the economic crisis has allowed us to discover that money doesn’t buy happiness.
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