Wednesday, June 15, 2011

House Poor, that's us!

This post is coming to you at this crazy hour of the morning because I cannot sleep - for thinking about losing my craftroom. Yes, as in I won't even HAVE a room to reorganize. But that is the least of my worries... Well, not LEAST - but not most, either.

Okay, let me just tell you the whole story. When I was in college - and people asked me what I wanted to do when I got out, I happily told them I wanted to be a housewife that homeschooled my kids. "What?", they asked with scrunched up faces. "Why are you getting an engineering degree if you want to be a housewife?"

"Becaaaaaause, just because I want to be a housewife - doesn't mean I don't want to use my brain," I replied with equal annoyance. "I will work until I have kids and pay off my student loans." Duh! I actually enjoyed my major when I was in school - so I had no desire to change it to Home Economics.

Well, when I started dating E, I was so close to graduating - and smelling that income and feeling myself telling people that I was an "ENGINEER" - I quickly forgot about my plans to give it up to stay at home. I didn't even mention being a housewife to him.

So when got married, we bought this house with a hunk of a mortgage based on 2 incomes. Why not, I thought? We loved this house. It was a *steal* at the time. And it was in the city! Win, win, win.

As you can imagine (or as you know from reading my blog), I did NOT want to stay in the workplace after being there for let say.... oh a month. My boss was a psycho who actually told me my locs looked like Medusa's and spent a lot of effort trying to intimidate me - and everyone who worked for her, actually. (She ended up getting demoted then quitting, but my work at luck didn't get much better) When Zekey was born - I couldn 't imagine going back to work. I didn't even stay long enough to pay back my loans.

During this time, E realized my plans to stay home and he tried to do somethings to make it work. Like, investing in real estate, taking on an extra job, ect.

However, the real estate market is... what it is. And him working all those hours is NOT my (or his!) idea of fun.

BUT we are stuck with this mortgage... that was based on two incomes, remember? "Well, why don't you just sell it?" - I can hear someone asking. Well, seeing as how the house next door is listed for $100k LESS than what we owe, (and I like it slightly better than my house) I doubt we will be able to sell our house for what we owe.

So, yeah. We are stuck with this mortgage with an income of about 75% of what we were making when we bought it. (E has gotten a few raises).

Last night - a few hours ago - rather, we were brainstorming our options. Actually, we have been talking about this for a couple of years - since I stopped working. But, my head was so far in the sand that I could not/ would not see things for how they were. But we got Dave Ramsey's book and I have since taken my head out of the sand and opened up my eyes. And the picture is clear - and not too cute.

We are STUCK. It is not a good feeling, let me tell ya. I actually love my house. I mean - it is not perfect and I could definitely use more rooms (since I want 4 kids and all). I absolutely love my neighbors. I love living in the city and I love the peacefulness of our street (the crackhead incident notwithstanding). I love my deck and porch.

But what I don't love - is the mortgage. I don't love that we are the DEFINITION of house poor. So, what do we do? Well, out of our limited options - we have decided to rent out the basement - which is as you saw WHERE MY CRAFT ROOM is!

This totally stresses me out. I think I may go crazy without a craft room, seriously. Crafting is my anti-drug. I have had a craft room since we bought this house in 2006 - and it was not nearly as extensive as it is now. Now, I am super obsessed with it - spending time in there everyday. Maybe after my daughter is born, I will have to take up the bottle...

Besides that, I don't even KNOW if renting out the basement will put us where we need to be financially. We do have a few more options. I do actually like working (part time!)- so I plan on going back part time of course, when my baby is 3 months and teach one or 2 classes at night. Then increase it as she gets older. Maybe even going back to full time when she is one - just until we can pay off our debt.

And, we are going to try to get the bank to modify our mortgage. So, that is what I have been thinking about. Do you have any suggestions?


Christina said...

If you decide to go with the dave ramsey plan, be very, very, very careful. He recommends having just a $1k emergency fund. This is not nearly enough to cover a"real" emergency. Like say, a layoff, especially when you already only have one income, and one half of your unit is pregnant. This happened to us in 2009. And while it was great to have some (a lot of) debt paidoff, it would have been much nicer to have that money in our savings account. While Dave's plan is great, it left us wiide open. I actually think that Suze Orman might be the better expert to look to.

Babs said...

I'm in the same boat. I owe about 30k more than my house is currently valued. Stuck. And I hate my house. At least you love yours.

Steph said...

I guess you could start trying to cut back and save in as many places as possible. Try couponing; a girl we went to school with is a SAHM and she can buy $200 dollars of groceries and necessities for $45. I can link you up with her on FB if you'd like. You can also contact your gas and electric companies to see if they will lower your rates. I always read paperwork from my gas company to see if they are offering lower rates and I call immediately if they are. Definitely cut off cable and switch to Netflix, and find the lowest charging Internet provider. Hope this helps.

Ayana said...

@Christina - thanx for the tip, I am going to look her up.

@Babs - this market sucks. It is crazy how many people are in the same boat!

@Stephanie - I know one too! My best friend is some kind of couponing queen. She is not THAT good yet - but it seems like every month she is getting better and better. She just called me and told me she is going to email me what to buy - and what coupons to use at Publix tomorrow.

And we got rid of Comcast and got Netflix long time ago. I just miss HGTV :(.

I will try calling our energy providers soon. Great advice!

Thank you guys so much!

Alida said...

We never tried the Dave Ramsey plan we just went to only paying cash and attacked the largest bills first. Then my husband felt called to missions so we sold our house and left the US. We sold just in time. We paid off all of our debts and now we only have one credit card for emergencies. We still use the envelope system to keep us on track. Best wishes to you as you figure out your next steps.

Libby said...

Hey, I thought I was the only college-bound housewife out there! Except for in my reality, I'm still single and still trying to rework that "housewife" status. Maybe I can call it "housewoman". I do wish you all the best in the house/financial situation.