July 26, 2009

on things I want (but probably won't get anytime soon)...

Do you see this adorable dress? Do you understand how much I want to buy this dress? It hurts a little inside when I realize that I'm entirely too cheap to fork over $98 on anthropologie.com in order to have it in my hot little hands.

So, I sit in eager anticipation for the day I find the slightly less adorable, cheaply made version at Forever 21 for a fraction of the price.

And thus continues the story of my life.

In all honesty, I enjoy being a bit more thrifty. Most of the time. But part of me would love to throw all caution to the wind and spend gads of money on sophisticated clothes and home furnishings from Anthropologie, borderline hipster fashion at Urban Outfitters and, most importantly, this chair from Ikea. But common sense always knocks me upside the head when I think of actually purchasing any of these delightful things.

Instead, I find myself splurging on a teal bookshelf, prints and jewelery I discover on etsy, hardback versions of my favorite books (found at thrift shops), new sandals from Target, my summer staple of Benefit's Hoola bronzer, and, one of these days, a twee headband from this etsy shop. (That is, once I can figure out how to wear a headband without looking like a freak of nature. I'll keep you posted.)

I've been doing a lot of thinking about saving money. Jay and I have worked hard to get to the point we are right now. We have an impressive amount of money saved up, in my opinion - especially considering our age, and the fact that we live in a quite expensive part of the country. However, when we decided a few days ago to see how much of a home loan we'd be approved for (just for kicks and giggles) we walked away feeling less than thrilled. Given what we were told by the bank, we could easily be approved to live in a shanty town on the streets of Compton. And considering I'd like to live to see my twenty-fifth birthday, I'm figuring that isn't exactly a viable option.

On the way home from the bank, we decided to soothe our souls at a local seafood buffet. Because, in Jay's words, "Hey, it's cheaper than a house."

Jay is much more optimistic than I am, but I'm trying to stay realistic. We only recently started talking about possibly buying a home, and things are almost going too fast for me. The idea of spending every last dollar we have in savings for a down-payment on a home is scary. And I would never be willing to even consider doing that unless the place we found was a dream. A place that felt like a step up in the world. I feel like I have the right to be picky, anyway - I'm not going to settle on buying a home just to buy a home. There are so many people who are doing that right now, and I just can't rationalize it.

And although the fact that we're paying over $1,000 a month to rent our little duplex does hurt my soul a little, I like knowing that we have money in the bank. I like knowing that we have a little extra every now and then, in case something comes up. I like being able to call Hunky Fireman Landlord if something is broken, and that he has to do the work and pay the cost to fix it. I like living next to Hunky Fireman Landlord. (I AM KIDDING. Mostly.) I like the way we have our "home" decorated and look forward to the other decorating ideas I have floating around in my head.

I guess that, if anything, at least Jay and I now have an idea of what we're up against when it comes to the cost of living around here. We can just focus on continuing to save our money and make some new goals. And I think I'm even better at saving money when have a specific goal in sight, you know? Having a home at this exact point in time is most definitely a want...not a need.

That is, of course, unless an adorable, two-bedroom home with a back yard, good neighbors, hardwood floors and a price of less than $200,000 should happen to drop from the sky within the next three months. In that case, SIGN ME UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. Yes, please.

41 comments :

  1. that dress is adorable, that chair from ikea would go SO PERFECTLY in my little home office/music room, and oh my gosh i don't have the money for them either.

    saving money is tough and it seems like no matter how much you save it's never quite enough. but you're right, establish some goals, work toward them and be patient and you'll definitely be rewarded.

    good luck!

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  2. We're also saving for a home (and car and myself a new laptop and plane tickets home and and and) so I kind of know where you're coming from...esp. since we both live in expensive parts of the country. I've never lived somewhere (or even seen!) where houses can cost over $1 million and only have a quarter an acre of land! We could have bought a five-plex for $99K, right across the st. from my work, but I don't feel like living in fear.

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  3. okay so i love anthropologie. more than life itself, really. more than saving money. which is sad.

    also, the realtor in me decided to do some poking around and um, there are TOTALLY cute houses in your area for 200k. search up to 225k. I would post links to the houses i've found... but i have no idea where they are. either way, it's totally do able, plus.. you get the 8k first time buyers tax credit that you can use as a down payment or closing costs or whatever. :)

    but you are so much like me. i am all ready and approved for a mortgage, but i refuse to settle and just buy something because i can. i don't want to settle and i don't want to struggle for a house i am not absolutely in love with.

    so keep looking and keep saving and it will all work out. :)

    xoxox

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  4. SoCal does suck for buying a house. But prices will get better... at some point!

    Where abouts in So Cal do you live? I'm in the San Fernando Valley (you know, THE valley).

    And I agree - Thrifty is good. I bought a lovely dress at Ross the other day for $8 (pic on my site).

    Talk to you soon,

    Kathy

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  5. something just occurred to me, & I thought I'd let you know.

    I've always loved your blog but I could never put my finger on exactly why. today, I figured it out.

    you sound exactly like my best friend.

    not as in, like we could so like totally be BFF omg. as in, your typing voice sounds exactly like the conversations that my best friend and I have.

    just thought I'd remind you that you're awesome. keep on being a doll :]

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  6. I so want that dress. I would be happy just to be able to rent a house right now. I don't even have the money for that.

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  7. The dress is adorable. Love the chair too! I hope you a house soon just so I can see how you decorate. :)

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  8. That chair would totally match my office and bring in some color besides green. However, since I have my heart set on a chair and a half so I can fall asleep comfortably while watching TV and since I do not have a spare $300 right now, I, too, will pass.

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  9. We've briefly discussed buying a house but... like you said, I'd rather pay $1100/month to rent and have a little money leftover for Target sandals. I don't really see a house in our near future and I'm okay with that.

    Also? That chair rocks my face off. Love!!

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  10. Lol on the money. We have NO money left after we had an emergency family trip overseas at the beginning of the year. Then my husband crashed the car. So he just bought one on a loan and,while I find it hard to breathe at how little money we have saved sometimes, at least we're not dead. :) That's something,right? And I think we have no hope in hell of buying in Sydney anytime in the next few years. NO. HOPE. IN. HELL. Everyone's all "Oh the economy is down but isn't it great, the house prices are steady!" -um,no it sucks. We can't buy a house. EVER.
    Good thing I love our apartment.

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  11. That chair is adorable, I want it!

    That's great that you're saving, I'm the opposite and just splurge all the time and then regret it. Sigh.

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  12. ummmm, you could always move to my neck of the woods?? then we could really be neighbors!! :) right now houses are ridiculously cheap..like the one right across the st is going for half what we bought ours for..bad for us..good for you :) won't you be my neighbor??

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  13. p.s. that dress is ah-dorable! i need it. no, i lied. but i want it really really bad. boo.

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  14. I would just like to say, purely as a bad influence, that you should totally use this as leverage to move closer to your family! I bet the property values are lower anywhere outside of California.

    Okay! Okay! I'm finished, I promise! =)

    I think you guys are on the right track- Mister and I saved for three years before we had a solid down payment and our other savings were in a comfortable spot.

    Where we live now isn't where we'll be forever, but it's sweet and suits us - just like your apartment seems to! Knowing what you're up against is a huge part of the battle. Now you can wait to make your move, and that you can be perfectly happy where you are in the mean time is amazing.

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  15. Yeah, I completely understand you on the money and the savings and the expensive mortgage prices. It's so scary! I will say though, if you have any inkling of a desire to move, Texas is wonderful and the cost of living is MUCH cheaper. That house you were describing with 2 (you could probably get 3-4) bedrooms, hardwood floors, and backyard, it totally exists in Texas for less than $200,000. Just an idea. :)

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  16. I'm with you, we're saving for a house at the moment and like you we could afford something in a hideous neighbourhood but nothing in the area we live right now. Which happens to be one of the most expensive areas in the UK.
    You'll get there eventually though - and when you do it'll be perfect!

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  17. i love that dress...and i do buy a lot from anthro...but ALWAYS when it goes on sale...which eventually everything there does...i once ALMOST spent almost $200 on a blouse i told myself i couldn't live without...well i forgot about it for a while and when i went back it was on sale for $32!! i would have been furious if i would have shelled out $170 more for it!! i am currently waiting on a dress to drop...it's been four months PLEASE SOON!!

    but i know what you mean about saving...i currently need to do more of this...your willpower amazes me!

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  18. Yyyyeah, I'm with you on the Anthro-love-but-just-can't-justify-spending-that-kind-of-money thing. That dress is pretty adorable though!

    Doesn't living in California and dealing with the housing market just make you want to pack up and move to a little obscure town somewhere? I know Justin and I are dealing with the same thing right now. At least you have savings (which is more than I can say for myself), and an adorable little duplex with tons of character and charm. (Did I tell you how much I love your curtains? Because I'm still obsessing over them a little. Just saying.)

    Whenever I get bummed out about it, I just remember how much I hated doing yard work in the Cali summer heat when I was younger. I will take our apartment's free yard service over pulling my own weeds any day. For now, at least!

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  20. I always feel fortunate that I am from a small-ish city without obscene housing costs and will actually be able to afford something nice there when I move back in a few years. But for now, I'm living two hours from there in Toronto and in the same boat as you: Paying a thousand dollars a month for a place that I love and wondering if I'll ever be able to, or even want to, buy a house here.

    But I guess there's no point in buying if I'll only be here a couple years anyways. It's just that $1000 a month seems insane to me when I could be putting that towards my own home every month.

    In other news... you should buy that dress because it would be adorable on you. And, I mean, it's cheaper than a house! :)

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  21. omg! i LOVE that cute lil dress!!

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  22. Okay this didn't do me any good with that dress in particular, but when I see something cute on Anthropologie.com, I always look it up on ebay...there's so much stuff! Not that you most likely haven't tried that... :) Also, I have been adoring that Ikea chair forever! Someday, someday my friend.

    At least you are saving money, If you were to spend all your savings on a down payment, you wouldn't have much (I'm assuming) to spend afterward on the house itself. And by then, it's hard to save money on things you don't necessary need but want to have. Sometimes it sucks, but you know, it'll fall into place when the time is right <3

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  23. That dress is lovely!

    We are about to do the opposite from what you have - we own our flat, and are about to move into a rental, because we don't have time to sell our flat before we move.

    I think although its definately special owning the place that you live, somewhere rented can be a home too, it's what you make of it.

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  24. We're saving for a house (and many other big purchases) right now, too. It's a little daunting thinking about how much work it takes to save and that we will someday give all of that money over by signing our names. Good luck!

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  25. It's crazy to me that we're the same age, and yet thoughts like this aren't even in my mental UNIVERSE right now. Husband? House buying?

    Ahhhhhh.

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  26. I just started reading your blog today via an apricot tea post :)

    You and I are alike in that we're both the same age, married without kids (yet, anyway), and 'our own house'less. However, due to a super sucky situation (how's that for alliteration? and rhyme! haha! wow, I am a dork), my husband and I are helping support my mom so no home of our own for a good while. [sigh]. We're unofficially renting 'from' her.

    We'd never be able to afford $1000 a month, though. We do live in a cheaper part of the country, so I guess we're fortunate in that regard.

    The 2 bedroom/fenced backyard/hardwood floor home you mentioned is exactly what I want, too. We could probably find a decent one for under $100k here in Memphis but we don't have much saved towards a down payment yet nor do we have the option to move.

    Anyway I'm ramblin' on but wanted to pop in and say that I love your writing style, and wish the very best of luck to you!

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  27. You could buy a house in Washington for 200k! Oh I thought I would chime in on one more thing.... What about the $8,000.00 tax credit for first time home buyers? I think that can be used toward your down payment...one of my friends bought her first house and was able to amend last years taxes to get the $8,000 sooner. Good Luck I its not easy buying your first home.

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  28. I feel your pain when it comes to the house situation. Right now I pay $1350 for a one-bedroom with a small office. I live in NY (not NYC thank god, that would turn into like $1850) and decided to look around at housing prices. It's REALLY hard to find a cute house that would be good for my bf and I for under $700,000. Which kind of makes me want to scream. A lot. I'm only 25 but I'd rather put that rent money towards a mortgage and own my own little piece of this world, ya know?? It's the most frustrating because everyone's saying it's a "buyer's market" but I haven't seen any sign of that!

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  29. Very cute dress! And chair too. And the headbands too! Eee!
    It's really difficult to save up money. I'm glad Jason has a nice amount saved up and we are hoping to buy our first home after we get married next year. But finding something quite reasonable is hard.
    But I'm sure that you will find the house you dream of. Keep saving, believing and praying.

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  30. I actually discovered a neighborhood is LA where I'd like to buy a house, if I decided to stay long-term in LA. But it's an expensive neighborhood and there's no way I could afford it right now or for a very very long time. But saving is hard, so you should be proud that you guys have been able to do a bit. Especially with all this cute stuff on Etsy and at Anthropologie to tempt you. Those are 2 of my favorite vices, as well. One time I bought something full-price at Anthro and I had to return it a week later because the guilt was way too much to handle! JUST THE ONE TIME, okay!?!??

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  31. I totally understand about the buying a house thing. It just feels like you "HAVE TO" because it'd be such a "good investment" right now. Ack the pressure!

    We are looking but it is much less expensive here than So Cal.

    But your place is super cute! Keep loving it!

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  32. Once again Wishcake, its as if our lives are alined!! LOL!

    I was just commenting to my fiance how I am in desperate need of a shopping spree; time spent browsing Free People and Forever21 on the net is like raw sugar to the veins.

    And yet times are tough right now. Alright, let me rephrase that; due to our upcomming wedding and future pad fund, shopping for clothes really isn't a priority. But I totally am with you girl, I would absolutely feel ecstatic if I could just toss down wads of money on fabulous finds without a care in the world; I can wish right?

    Well, one of these days we will be able to post pics of genuine leather Frye boots, a J Crew wardrobe to kill for and sparkly bobbles from Tiffanys without a second thought as too "remember when I was consumed if I would be left flat broke to spend that precious penny on a Mossimo dress, mind you, ON SALE none the less?!".

    Here is to future shopping spree's with endless amounts of wine and laughter!!!! :)

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  33. Yes! Those prints are from Martha Stewart crafts! I bought them at Michaels about a year ago and never even put them up. I'm not sure how I want to display them: either in frames, or on a line with a clothespin.

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  34. I did not know Ikea had such cute furniture. Now I WANT THAT CHAIR TOO! Why are you doing this to me, Kerri? I don't have any money either. :(

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  35. you could find a beautiful house with your specifications, for $200,000 in ohio!

    also that dress is really cute!

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  36. If you do look at houses, you should look at bank owned homes. Cheaper & quick on closing.

    I do worry too about savings and using it all on our down payment but I feel better knowing we'll get the money back (plus extra money) from tax credit for purchasing a home this year.

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  37. Oh, the house buying subject! Why do we live in CA? This place is rediculous! If it makes you feel better, we pay 2,000 for 2 bedrooms. It is simply painful to take in the rent check. Do they know what I could do with that?!?

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  38. anthro basically breaks my heart cause i never have enough money to buy EVERYTHING there that I want- which is, everything.

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  39. I am in the same boat, it is so frustrating to want so many beautiful items, but yet, have to pay for rent! But when it comes down to it I try to be thank for my family and friends, the people who will be there for me. If you are putting money away maybe you will be able to splurge time and again! ;)

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  40. Ahh to be young again. SITS

    Julie

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  41. Ahh to be young again. SITS

    Julie

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