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Do I want a ___ or do I want a house?

I want to save enough money to have a down payment, I really do. But many times I just don’t have the energy to put that into action. Food is my most “spendy” area – most of the time I’m too tired to cook or even go grocery shopping.

In other words, I spent $25 on dinner last night.

If you’ve read the article Every Penny Counts in the New York Times, you’ll know that those homeowners got their down payment by saving every dollar – there were certainly no $25 dinners for them. One of the buyers profiled said she’d play a game called “do I want a latte or a house? do I want an iPhone or a house?” etc, etc, and always managed to starve off the impulse purchase because she recognized the bigger goal of amassing a down payment.

I tried that last night and asked myself, “do I want a creme brulee or a house?” and while I really would like to buy (a house), I really wanted to enjoy what I could buy right now (creme brulee). Delayed gratification… gotta work on that.

P.S. It was a delicious creme brulee.

  • Dennis - I’m in the midst of deciding whether or not to save for a mortgage too.

    I’ve been reading a lot about renting vs. owning… and it is making me bounce back and forth. Have you fully considered the cost of home ownership??? maintenance, taxes… etc… and how that will impact your budget?ReplyCancel

  • wellheeled - Dennis – since my buying horizon is still a ways off, I haven’t really thought about the cost of owning versus renting. I figured I’d get the down payment, er… down first. I can always decide NOT to buy with $50k saved up, but without that down payment, I’ve eliminated the homeownership choice for myself.ReplyCancel

  • MissGoldBug - If you died tomorrow… would you have regretted the creme brulee….? Probably not.

    Yes, you need to save for a downpayment. But you’re also young and need to have some fun and enjoyment along the way…. and if the way is paved by creme brulee, so be it.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    If it makes you feel better, I dropped $325 at Banana Republic last night on an absolutely fabulous suit and a pair of white linen pants. I woke up this morning with no regrets and looking at the suit makes me smile….

    I have things I need to save for too… but I treat myself along the way… you never know what day will be your last…


  • goldnsilver - To each his own.ReplyCancel

  • Dimples - Compromise. Enjoy life now but also remain conscientious of your goals.ReplyCancel

  • Parker - Set your savings on autopilot.

    I put away 700 a month into my ING account. I then put any overtime I work as well as my bonus into said ING account. From there I have each account labeled for what the goal is. Whether it be personal, gift, house, ira, or ring. It is already set up for me and the rest of the money I make goes toward personal use, things like rent, car, bar, watches, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Livingalmostlarge - You have to do both, enjoy life and save money.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - One thing I have been working on to curb the “spendy” area of food is to create a cookbook with simple and tasty recipes that take 30 minutes or less to make, start to finish. Having recipes that someone like me can actually cook (and trust me, I’m not so swift in the kitchen) makes it really easy to write out a grocery list, and keeps me from having to ask the dreaded question, “what do I want for dinner” every night. I don’t have to think about it. Seriously, I know the effort I’m putting into making my own personal cookbook is going to save me thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention tons of whining after work.
    I started this cookbook in my apartment, and last month, I bought a house! The cookbook doesn’t deserve all the credit for that purchase, but I can assure that without that cookbook, I wouldn’t have been able to make a down payment as quickly!ReplyCancel

  • SavingDiva - I don’t think I could turn down creme brulee either!ReplyCancel

  • sfordinarygirl - I’ve been thinking about buying in the Bay Area lately with my career change into international business. But I just don’t know how much longer these prices will continue to fall. And the wait is killing me. I’d love for the prices to tumble down but of course the interest rates would be high.

    That article is pretty fascinating. I read it and thought how amazing it was to see what each person gave up.

    but creme brulee! I wouldn’t have been able to resist.ReplyCancel

  • Cami - I am currenty in the “do I want a ___ or a house” game too. I am also in the “rent vs. buy” game, and “balance long term saving with enjoying life now” game. It seems like these are common concepts that everyone faces. Housing is a huge issue that brings with it many, many more issues (adequate life insurance to cover the mortgage, mortgages themselves are complicated, housing insurance, plus all the surprises and maintenance to go with the home). I am finding it easier at this point to rent and save money.

    Twenty-somethings, rememeber that “LIQUIDITY” is a big issue when you are young. You don’t want all your funds tied up in a house…

    Also, I’m sure the creme brulee was fantastic, if it made your day that much better, go for it. But be balanced- not a creme brulee every day… maybe a couple a month. They’ll stay special, you’ll stay healthy, and your finance health will be good.ReplyCancel

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