by Andi B.

So my husband and I have started the househunting journey. My husband’s excited, and I’m having panic attacks and nightmares. Last night I had three separate dreams where I was househunting on a space station, in an underwater ocean colony, and in the middle of nowhere. Each time I found nothing.

The insanity is because I’ve been thinking about how much our lives will change when we become homeowners. A lot of people have tried to impress on me how expensive owning a home will be which is not helping my mental stability. But today as we were walking through houses I was struck as to how owning a home will provide money-saving opportunities.

Yes, utilities may be higher and we’ll have to make our own repairs. However, when considering our situation there are some interesting things that pop up. We live in a 480 sf studio with a tiny kitchen, and a small refrigerator/freezer combo. Because of this I end up getting lazy and going out/ordering in, and I can’t take real advantage of the sales. The cost of getting and running a chest freezer will be more than offset by the savings I’ll get from being able to buy meat in bulk. I just had a beautiful thought…bulk toilet paper.

Laundry is a huge issue for us. I have to launder linens for my work and that costs us $2.25 a load right now. We spend almost $50 a month in laundry! Also, our particular apartment isn’t insulated very well, and we’ve spent more in electricity during the winter months than several of our friends with houses. It’s like we’re paying to heat our neighbors’ homes.

I’ve come to discover that we only get to trade one set of expenses for another. Some may increase, and others may drop. It’s a mind-numbing ebb and flow. I now understand the “bean exercise” from the homebuyer class I attended. The real estate agent gave us a bunch of beans and a sheet with a bunch of different home options. You got to place the beans according to your priorities and you got to rearrange them depending on your budget. The same applies to the choice to buy or rent. Would we rather spend more money on laundry and food or on utilities?

Based on my budget crunching, house vs. apartment will be a financial wash, so it comes down to our preference. In short, I’m looking forward to our new house…whatever it may be.