We Won’t Be Homeless Next Month!

by J. Money - Published June 20, 2016[Edit]

house door w/ bike

After 3 weeks of research, 2 day trips of scouting around, and 1 thwarted scam* later, we finally have ourselves a new home :) And we move in in two weeks – ack!

This is the 2nd biggest decision we’ve had to make recently, with the first one accepting a job offer my wife got after a year+ looking, and now with that out of the way we move to big decisions #3 and #4: finding the right child care and upgrading the beloved Frankencaddy (tear).

Big changes going on!

Though the house we settled on is actually anything but – it’s 1,100 sq feet :) Which is tight with two kids! Though as my wife likes to now say, “Here’s your chance to prove how awesome minimalism is!” Haha… And she’s right. If we can’t survive in that amount of space, how will we ever in an RV or house boat, or my ultimate dream – a hotel? All at a third of that space, if not less?

It also makes for a PERFECT chance to declutter too.

(I remember once actually reading a blog post about how you should pretend you have to move at least once a year so it forces you to go through your stuff! Such a great idea, right?)

Anyways, we started our search around the $1,800-$2,000 range, you know, hoping that would yield some decent returns, but nope. One was in the ghetto, and the other was way too far away. And every mile counts in the land of the commuters (we decided early on that we’re going to be living within 10 miles of Mrs BudgetsAreSexy’s work so she has more time to spend with the kids – though of course it limits our options).

So we bumped it up to $2,000-$2,300/mo and eventually narrowed it down to two places after our first “dream” place fell through (we fell in love with the first home we found but it had already been rented out! Just 48 hours since being on the market!).

Here are the quick stats on both, House Hunter style... Though I already gave away the answer – oops. Just ask yourself which YOU’D pick as that’s the only reason we watch these shows anyways! :)

house hunters bas edition

House #1 – “The Minimalist Compound”

  • $2,200/mo
  • 1,100 sq feet
  • Two bedroom + tiny office
  • 1 Bathroom
  • One story + finished basement
  • Large fenced in backyard
  • Walking distance to shops
  • In super sought after community
  • Deal directly with the owner

Pros: Cozy feeling, lots of shade and quiet, kids could have their own level to themselves along w/ all their toys (basement), updated windows and HVAC for lower energy bills, walking distance to shops which is a HUGE plus, and a very safe community that seems pretty friendly and family oriented.

Cons: 1 bathroom, 600 sq feet smaller than our current place, no closet space, strict yard maintenance rules, people could be more uppity than they appear?

House #2 – “The Diamond in The Rough”

  • $2,300/mo
  • $50 application fee (x2)
  • $50/mo cat fee (????)
  • 1,700 sq feet
  • 3 decently sized bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Large fenced in backyard
  • Two stories + unfinished basement
  • Managed by a property management company

Pros: Much bigger – including a huge carpeted play area for kids upstairs, two bathrooms!, lots of character and charm as it’s an older house, plenty of space to work as I’d have my own office, nice backyard, and the kids level would be separate from ours which is great for noise and sleeping.

Cons: Way more expensive – especially with the fees (have you ever heard of a $50/mo cat fee?), basement seemed kinda dangerous for kids and also creepy as hell (there were windows looking into the crawl space for some reason which were all pitch black and I kept envisioning the dead rising and peering back at me!! Haha…), and the overall cleanliness was pretty bad as it was literally a college party house. On the plus side, this is where the “diamond in the rough” part came in as anyone who watches HGTV knows to look beyond it for the potential! And this place had tons of it!

Oh, and something else both communities had? Tiny Free Libraries!

Where people build these mailbox/bird house looking concoctions so neighbors can share and swap out books to read :) How cute are these??

little free library red

little free library purple

This just added to the whole community feel and made us newcomers feel a lot more comfortable with things… Though it would have been even better if these were Beer Libraries! :)

So which one did we pick? The first one, of course! Though we were split 60/40 on it… While I’m nervous about the size of it as we’re losing a third of the space we have right now, I AM excited to see how it goes and everyone we talk to in the area confirms it’s an excellent community. Not to mention having the ability to pick up a cup of coffee while out on a mid-day walk too – love it! It’s hard to top that without living smack dab in the city itself (where you’d literally be paying double just for the privilege).

Anyways, we got our home and now we move on to day care and car and packing up the house! It’ll be an expensive month, but nothing that an extra full-time income can’t solve :) And I’ll never complain about $1,700/mo rent again, haha…

How much are y’all paying for rent or mortgage these days? Where in the country/world do you live? Would be cool to see the differences! :)

Details on this new adventure of ours, btw, can be found here if you missed it…

——–
*That Craigslist Scam: after we wrote about our interest in one of the listings, we got back this long – overly detailed – explanation of why they didn’t want to tell us the address (for “safety” reasons – tip #1), and said they’d waive the security deposit (tip #2) if our credit score was above 600. And the “only way” for them to find out what our credit score was (tip #3)? We had to click some obscure link and then fill out all our info online – YEAH RIGHT! Mrs BudgetsAreSexy then took it upon herself to find the REAL house and its address, and it was indeed up for rent, however $500 more and a totally different set of details… But man her email would have been convincing if you didn’t know what you were doing! I’m sure people fall for this $hit all the time – especially the elderly! Ugh… Smart people using their skills for the bad, so disappointing.

[Library pics by rollingrck and Paul Sableman]

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 179 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness June 20, 2016 at 6:02 am

I’m so glad you chose House 1 – community is important, especially when you are moving to a whole new area with kids. It sounds really nice. And try not to fret about the size. You’ll make it work. We went from 1400sq/ft (130sqm) to 860sq/ft (80sqm) and although it takes some adjusting, it’s definitely doable. We have 2 kids too. The only problem we’ve faced so far is trying to get the 3yr old to have quieter tantrums so he doesn’t wake the baby through the next wall. It’s completely futile as you can probably imagine, but hopefully he’ll grow out of those tantrums in the next few years – fingers crossed!

As for the figures – we pay around $800 per month on our 75k mortgage in Christchurch, New Zealand. That’s super cheap because we’re paying lump sums on the balance as much as possible. When we were travelling and rented this place out we got $295/wk for it ($1278/mth).

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2 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 6:33 am

Rock on!! New Zealand is sounding even more beautiful now :)

I hear ya on those tantrums too – never fun :( Ours typically only throws them right *before* going down for a nap so at least he gets it out of the way so everyone can sleep (hah), but the noise is def. one of our main concerns for sure… I don’t think we would have risked it without having that basement.

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3 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness June 21, 2016 at 4:44 am

Noise issues are the worst but you learn to live with them. Also don’t ya secretly smile when they have those pre-nap tantrums? Knowing it means they’ll have a really good nap :-)

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4 Penny June 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

I pay $800 for a spacious 2bedroom/2bath apartment on St. Croix USVI. Rents are reasonable, but the food prices are crazy expensive. So, I am learning how to garden and raise vegetables. The good thing is there are a lot of wild fruit trees.

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5 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Very cool!! I admire those who can garden like crazy!

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6 Kirsten June 20, 2016 at 6:26 am

I pay ~$1950/month for a mortgage & taxes on a 3bed 2bath house in Fairfield county CT. It probably sounds like a lot to most of the US but actually pretty reasonable for this area.

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7 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 6:36 am

That’s what I love about it though – it’s gonna be so different depending on where you live and how your lifestyle is :) So thanks for sharing!

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8 whiskey June 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

I’m always amazed at the costs around the country. I’m happy for you to have a place. Maybe living further out would’ve been cheaper. 1hr commute,1 way, is not horrible. We decided (and have for almost 15yrs) to live further out. Property taxes, cost of living etc is way cheaper. Takes me, on avg 2 hrs 1 way. (BTW the company pays for the vehicle so I’m not out any costs there) The cost diff is huge. Where as I pay 575 on 1a, 3b/2b-1800sq’, the same place can run as high as 2-2500+ in the metroplex w/o the acre of land. Rent in local area for roughly the same size is about 800-1200 mo.
I know city life isn’t for us and country life is not for you but like I said, the difference in pricing still gets me. Enjoy your new home J & fam

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9 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 6:44 am

Thanks Whiskey :)

It’s def. cheaper living farther out for sure. And I honestly wouldn’t mind it so much if we didn’t have kids in the picture, but a two hour/day commute would mean my wife barely seeing our kids which we just can’t do :(

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10 Thias @It Pays Dividends June 20, 2016 at 7:01 am

Congrats on finding a new place! Sometimes the small extra amenities can be worth the higher price!

Good luck on looking for child care! We just finished our search on Saturday after my wife decided to go back to work part-time. Luckily, we found someone really good within our first few inquiries. That is definitely an area that can get stressful!

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11 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers June 20, 2016 at 7:01 am

In Cincinnati we got a 3 bed 2.5 bath 1,880 sqft home in an awesome community and great school district for $174,000. After taxes and insurance we are paying $1,167 on a 15 year mortgage. But we also have a $700 a year HOA fee for the pool complex, private lake, and miles of walking trails that wind through our green space. We couldn’t have asked to find a better place given we only had a week to find it and it had only been on the market for 10 days. But my 22 mile commute drives my crazy.

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12 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 7:36 am

Nice work on doing a 15 year! And a HOA fee that sounds VERY worth it indeed :)

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13 The Green Swan June 20, 2016 at 7:05 am

Wow crazy scam, good thing you didn’t fall for it. Congrats on the house, big one to get checked off the to do list! We live in Charlotte about 10 miles from center city and pay about $20k / year for our 4 bedroom/2.5 bath, 3k foot home.

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14 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 7:37 am

Holy crap – that’s a LOT of house for not that much money!

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15 Kristy June 20, 2016 at 7:23 am

We are still decluttering after our move from a 3,000 square foot house to a 2,200 square foot home….it was worth it though. We pay $2,400 a month to live along the coast of Delaware….that does not include flood insurance.

Congrats on the move and on finding a house!

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16 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 7:43 am

Thanks!

We’ll be up your way next month when we do our yearly trip to Rehoboth Beach :) Hoping to get some good metal detecting in to help pay for our new place, haha…

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17 Megan Harvison June 20, 2016 at 7:30 am

I have followed you for years, but I just can’t remember what city you are in? It’s hard for me to fathom paying that much for rent. I had a decent house I was renting in Florida for $725. I think I would have a stroke living where you do.

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18 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 7:42 am

Haha….

We’re moving back to the DC area :) And no way we’d be spending this much if it didn’t come along with an extra salary! It’s the most I’ve ever ponied up myself…

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19 Savvy Shopper June 20, 2016 at 7:36 am

I pay ~$675/mo for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that’s just a tad under 2,500 sq ft. I am lucky to be living outside a small resort town right off of Lake Michigan in Michigan. I’m close enough to town for convenience but far enough away that the summer tourist season isn’t a big bother. I’ve lived in several other places but this is it for me. I love it here!

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20 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 7:42 am

Oh wowwwwww – that is amazing!! You found an awesome spot! :)

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21 Eric Bowlin June 20, 2016 at 7:44 am

Interesting story…and I love the little library idea. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

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22 Sarah June 20, 2016 at 7:46 am

For 3 years I did a commute that varied from 30 minutes to 1 hour+ depending on traffic. Distance wasn’t that far, but crawling home on the freeway was mind-numbing. So glad to now be 12 minutes from home!

I’m in St. Paul, MN and pay $1,232/month for my mortgage for a 3 b/2 bath + office. Ideally I’d like a smaller place (single, my daughter is out on her own) but I love the location, which is walking distance to the train, 2 grocery stores, restaurants, and shops. Plus, my neighbors are worth their weight in gold (think people who have coffee you can borrow and will mow your lawn after you’ve had surgery). Also, vacancy rate in the Twin Cities is somewhere around 3%, which has driven rents up; a nice 2-bedroom would cost more than I’m paying now.

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23 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Love neighbors like that! People seem to keep to themselves these days – it’s sad :(

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24 Apathy Ends June 20, 2016 at 7:56 am

Scammers are dangerous, I can see first time renters falling for that. 50 a month for a pet fee is insane!

Our mortgage is about $1800 in mn for a 3 br 2 bath 15 minutes out of down town Minneapolis – 1800 finished sq ft

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25 geckovision June 20, 2016 at 8:12 am

got to love the twin cities metro in MN!
4 bed/ 3 bath
~1800 sq ft
$824 per month (excluding escrow cuz we manage that ourselves. bank screwed it up for two years straight. i think ~1200 with tax and insurance)

when we had apartments it was common for a pet fee of $25-75. some places tack on an extra non-refundable deposit too.

you need to move to wausau, wi. i had a 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment for $550 and a 2 bedroom/2 bath after that for $750

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26 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 3:52 pm

HAH! All the savings wouldn’t be worth much if I were frozen to death :)

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27 Maria June 20, 2016 at 8:12 am

We pay $1,900 for mortgage and taxes for a 3,000 sq ft home in Florida. We are wishing to downsize since my hubby and I just retired and want a more minimalistic life. We would like to purchase a smaller place and a RV to see most of the US. I cannot wait to see your before and after pictures like House Hunters. Be blessed and prosper. Is that picture the house ???

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28 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 3:56 pm

I hope you guys go for it!! Let us know if you do – that lifestyle sounds sooooo much fun!

(And nope – that’s not the house, I just liked the pic :))

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29 Matt @ Distilled Dollar June 20, 2016 at 8:27 am

Those mini libraries are so cool! What a great idea.

It sounds like you made the right choice, but that either choice would make you happy. Best of luck living in a slightly smaller space, I’m sure it’ll be an amazing move once it happens.

Those Craigslist scams are the worst. I wish there was a way people can track who they are quicker, but I know most of them are able to put up their scams and fade away quickly if need be.

For us, we are paying $1,700 for 700 sq ft in Chicago. This is at a premium to the Chicago market based on our location (the Loop), but we moved close enough to work where we can walk. The typical costs to park a car in Chicago can be as high as $200-$300 and public transportation is typically $80-$100 per month. So I feel like we’re getting a great deal for the time being.

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30 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Sounds about right for downtown living like that – sounds fun :)

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31 Alex June 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

These posts make me envious. We’re selling our 2bed 2bath upper east side coop today that had been costing us $5300 a month. Moving to union county New Jersey and getting a fully renovated 4bed, 2.5bath with a decent yard while lowering our payment to $4600/month w a 3.25% 30yr mortgage.

Yes, it’s a lot and we knew we could save 30-50% by moving another 10-15 miles away from the city but a nice downtown w great schools and easy commute for me in the suburbs and my wife in the city made the cost worth it.

There are many days we wish we could pick up and relocate to Charlotte or Raleigh and cut our housing costs by 50-60% or go from a 1900sqft colonial to a castle.

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32 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Haha I know the feeling…

Appreciate you making me feel better though – so far you’re the only one with higher housing than me :)

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33 ZJ Thorne June 20, 2016 at 8:44 am

I love the idea of practicing for future minimalism. I’m also glad you prioritized your wife having a small enough commute so that she can see the children. Congrats on all fronts! Those lending libraries are adorable.

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34 Jacquelyn Delcamp June 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

Yo man! You should talk about that scam more. You never know who might see that and realize uh oh….

Glad you got a place. We are looking at a move too and it’s making the question of
how high can we go with rent very nerve wracking.

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35 [email protected] and the Beach June 20, 2016 at 8:47 am

I pay $1400 for a simple one bed/one bath but it’s in a GREAT neighborhood a half mile to the beach. And, it’s 3 miles from work. I have a detached garage I rent out for $250 so that’s an even bigger bonus. I only pay for electricity. My landlord pays for gas and water, and I share a decent sized backyard with my 2 neighbors that live in my triplex, although there is just one other person who really uses it besides me and thankfully we get along great. The apt itself is not great, but I love the price and location because my landlord could be charging me SOOOO much more. Congrats on finding a place!

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36 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

WalkingToTheBeachIsSexy.com

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37 Paul June 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

Mortgage $3700/mo. 4 BR 2400 sq ft rancher w/ additional 2400 sq ft basement on 3 acres of land. about 20 minutes west of Columbia, MD.

I feel some of the other readers, I could easily cut it in half if I just moved… but this area has a way of sucking you in and keeping you here.

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38 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

WOW – you basement is as big as your house! That’s incredible!! You’ll have to invite me over for a tour once I’m in town :)

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39 Paul June 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

Yeah, this place would have been out of my league if the basement were finished. Slowly doing it myself to save money. When its all said and done I will have 6 BR and 3.5 bath. You are welcome anytime!

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40 Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor June 20, 2016 at 8:56 am

Congrats on finding a new home. I hope the move goes well and gets your inner minimalist pumped! Our home is listed as 1200 sq feet though I think that’s not counting some semi-finished but use-able basement space. So probably 1400. Our 15-yr mortgage is just under $1000 with property taxes, but we are in a low cost of living area in the Midwest.

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41 Mysti June 20, 2016 at 9:00 am

We moved 7 months ago from CT to the Charlotte area (we are actually in SC). We sold our 1300 sq ft house (with both basement and huge attic)….and had to go to the closing table with $18k. We are renting a 2200 sq ft town house (and lost almost all of our storage space) for $1400. We are paying less than we were but I miss storage space and I really miss having something that is mine to do with what I please.

As for pets….we had to pay $500 non refundable pet fee. But several places we looked at charge a monthly pet rent….I guess to cover damage.

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42 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:02 pm

The storage part is the trickiest :( On the one hand it helps declutter even *more*, but on the other hand it’s so annoying! Our new place has plenty of basement storage thankfully but def. no closet space in our bedrooms.

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43 Mallory June 20, 2016 at 9:02 am

Congratulations! I live with my boyfriend and work in the DC area. We live in Arlington in a one bedroom apartment (730 square feet) that runs us $1850 a month. We also pay for two garage parking spaces ($50 each). All together (including electric, water, internet, trash, etc.) we pay about 2100 a month.

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44 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Sounds about right :) We’ll be neighbors!

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45 Kate @ Cashville Skyline June 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

I love tiny free libraries! There’s one a block away from my house and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy every time I walk past it. My mortgage is a little less than $1,400 per month for a 2-bedroom, 1,200 square foot house in a popular spot in East Nashville. It’s the “hip” neighborhood right next to downtown, but I bought in 2009 when my street was still kind of sketchy (shootings, robberies, etc.) I couldn’t rent a spot in our neighborhood for the cost of our mortgage!

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46 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm

You’re braver than I!!

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47 Knick Knack June 20, 2016 at 9:12 am

I live in Duluth, MN and the rental market is tough with very little vacancy.
I live in a small studio, less than 300 square feet, for $650 with all utilities included. I have a view of Lake Superior, all new interior. The rent is atrocious but it was the cheapest spot in a good neighborhood to not have to live with roommates. My landlord is super responsive and always available via text. At the top of my “pros” list was the challenge of small living. So far it’s been wonderful. I’m saying “yes” to more things and enjoying my solitude even more.

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48 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Awesome!!! I used to love studio living myself when I was a bachelor… I think I paid $1,100/mo back then if that makes you feel any better? :)

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49 Free Range Nation June 20, 2016 at 9:15 am

I just read your post about living out of a hotel. I actually do live out of a hotel, with my husband. We bought it, so it is called a condotel. It is literally a king size hotel room with a kitchenette, less than 400 SF. It is our version of urban tiny house living. This wouldn’t work with 2 kids though. :)

It is right on the lakefront in a thriving, booming city and we are located right on the lakefront with tons to do within blocks including parks, trails, kayaks, fests, bars, coffee shops, museums, etc… We also have the tiny libraries. It only cost $41k and we can rent it out when we travel to bring in extra income. If you want to know more, feel free to email me with your questions!

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50 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:08 pm

WOWWWW!!!

A dream!!!! Sounds so cool!

Yes please – shooting you an email now :)

We did a profile on someone living out of a hotel years ago, but it’s all so fascinating and would love to hear another perspective of it. Thx for the offer!

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51 Heather June 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

Did you report the scam to a non-emergency number with the police? Statistics/tracking can occur even if nothing can be done regarding the scammer. And you never know, you could have the ad/site pulled and save someone else a huge loss of money or identiy.

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52 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm

we did not – we just flagged it in CL :( I figured they’d just be taken down after that but didn’t think about stats and tracking.

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53 Stefan @Mllnnlbudget June 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

Can’t believe how much prices differ throughout the country. I am moving into the city with a friend and we are going to be splitting rent of $800 a month for a 1,100 square feet apartment that has a laundry room (you would not believe how hard this was to find).

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54 Nicole C June 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

Welcome to the storage wars…small-house style! :o) Before I paid it off a couple weeks ago (Sneaky how I threw that in there, right? But dang, I still have that WOOT feeling in the best way!), the bi-weekly payment on the 15 year mortgage for my 1075 sq. foot house in Hooterville, I mean Newport, NC, was 340.00. That said, I’m definitely on the side of “small is good”. To help compensate, I had taller than average beds built so I can slide full size storage bins underneath. Of course, I had to sew super-long bed skirts to hide them because storage bins are fugly, but I still count that as one of my best small house decisions to date. Congrats to the Money fam on the new abode!

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55 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm

WOO! You did something most people never do! Congrats on killing that mortgage!!

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56 Paul June 20, 2016 at 9:51 am

We rent on Long Island NY in a very nice area.

$1100/month which includes the following in a 1 bedroom basement apartment with a huge fenced yard.

Rent
Heat
Electric
Water
Lawn Care
Wifi

I split this with my GF so we effectively pay $550/month each all inclusive for housing/utilities.

Not too shabby as this makes up ~10% of our after tax income.

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57 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Beautiful! Especially with the lawn care taken care of for you – I was watching closely at the yards of places when searching as I suck w/ that stuff :(

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58 Paul June 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

It’s definitely a big plus! Mowing 1X per week plus doing the fall clean up of leaves is no fun!

We are at the point where we would like to get into a house but for our situation renting an apartment makes so much more financial sense!

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59 College Prof June 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

Your family will actually be closer (and I don’t mean that as a pun) because of your smaller living quarters. Many of the homes built today are like “homes on steroids” that end up yielding detrimental effects on family dynamics and relationships.

Cost of living in my neck-of-the-woods?? The Midwest is much cheaper than the East coast. Home rentals average about $800-900/month in our area. Your wife would make the same salary here she’s making in DC with half the cost of living (not to mention easier commutes). Living on a Great Lake is awesome–I’m two blocks from the beach.

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60 Linda @ Brooklyn Bread June 20, 2016 at 10:19 am

Oh my God – the tiny free libraries! That would go over big in my neighborhood! I need to figure out how to get that started. Seriously – that is possibly the best thing I have ever seen. Restores my faith in humanity!

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61 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm

You should!!! then blog about it so we can all ooh and awe over it :)

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62 Kevin @ The Debt Journey June 20, 2016 at 10:24 am

Congrats on finding a place!

We are currently renting, paying 1100 a month for a 4 bedroom, 2 and a half bathroom house in the burbs outside of Memphis.
Part of us really wanted the city feel and lifestyle, but it was so hard to pass up the price and comfort of a house in a good neighborhood. Neither of our commutes are bad, I work in the city, and any activities that we want to take part in are really close.
We have one more year on our lease, then we have to decide whether or not to continue renting or buy. It really depends on where we are in our debt repayment!!

-kb

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63 Rachael June 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

I recently bought a house in a small town in WI and pay $650/month including escrow. It’s a nice 3 bedroom and 1.5 bathroom house with 1,200 square feet. I definitely cringe when I hear how much it costs for housing in other areas.

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64 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I literally just spit out my water.

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65 Joe June 20, 2016 at 10:30 am

Nice job finding a home for your family. 1,100 sq ft isn’t too bad. Our place is smaller than that and we have 4 people too. My mom is here with us this summer.
My friend just moved to NYC and their one bedroom apartment is 600 sq ft. That’s tight for 2 adults + 2 kids.
The COL in our area is pretty high. I think it is similar to your number. Around $2,000 for a 2 bed room apartment. Depends on how nice the place is.

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66 jestjack June 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

MAN…rents are going up! I only get $1700-1800 for ranchers on 1/2 acre….Need to look into raising rents to stay with the market…$2200…MAN that’s like $500 a week….NET. So you need to GROSS right around $650 a week just for rent…Hope you guys are OK with it…..

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67 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:24 pm

We wouldn’t have signed it if not ;)

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68 Justin June 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

Sounds like a cool new place in a cool neighborhood! We have those Tiny Libraries all over our neighborhood too. Very neat, though I’ve never taken anything from them (usually don’t want to carry it around while on a walk). We live in an “up and coming” neighborhood that’s a varied mix of octogenarian retirees, blue collar workers, immigrants, and young professionals. Makes for an interesting dynamic.

I also enjoy our walkability – we rarely go out for coffee ($2-5 for something I can make at home for $0.10-$0.50??!!) but I received a free birthday coffee from Starbucks. So walk down we did to celebrate my birthday (while the kids were at Grandmas). Then walked to the “market” (aka Food Lion) to get the best cherries we’ve ever bought for $2/lb. Then decided to skip Chinese dumpling take out on the walk back home. Makes it a lot easier to get by with 1 car for us (since neither of us work).

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69 Alex Hart June 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

I’m living in Jamaica, Montego Bay to be specific. 1,700 is huge for us. I currently rent a 2 bedroom, 2 bath almost 800 sq ft home for $30,000 a month. That would be about $241 USD. It’s an average price for the location, close to the town & amenities. Mortgages are a big more expensive, so for the time being I’ll continue to rent.

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70 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Yeah Jamaica!!! Way to represent!

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71 Ms MoneyPennies June 20, 2016 at 11:21 am

I love the idea of pretending to move once a year! It is insane how quickly the rooms of my house fill up with stuff over 3 years (even though I have been on a minimalist binge for 6 months, it feels like I barely made a dent!). Such a great idea!

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72 Nita June 20, 2016 at 11:40 am

I was born and raised in DC and it has gotten crazy expensive over the years. We just moved from there to Hawaii and was surprised at how similar the rental price points were. Once you get to know the city and your kids move up to school age, Howard County Maryland has the best schools but then there is commutes. The schools in DC aren’t that great, and getting into a Charter school is challenging. That’s the beauty of renting though, you can move to a new area that suits your growing needs.

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73 Michelle Marcus June 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I pay $1500 / mo in St. Louis County, MO very close to the city. 3 BED / 2 BTH. 2 car garage, basement, and mowing is included. The midwest is cheap and we are living large.

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74 Rachelle June 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm

“How much are y’all paying for rent or mortgage these days? Where in the country/world do you live? Would be cool to see the differences! :)”

I live in a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom apartment. – $790 a month.. I really want an extra room but the price would jump $200 a month and just can’t justify the price.

There are more modern complexes where a 1 bedroom starts at $980 and up… I’d rather keep the extra income.

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75 David @ Thinking Thrifty June 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm

House 1 sounds pretty awesome to me, however i don’t have children and the space would be more than adequate. Love the little libraries – VERY COOL!

I live in South Manchester, UK. Currently paying £600 a month rent with my electric, gas and water inclusive. Admittedly it’s not the standard I’m used to living in, but I managed to cut my bills literally in half by making this move and without it I would never have been able to save for a mortgage deposit. So I’ve had to wind my neck in and crack on with it, it’s only going to be for a year and it’ll be worth it when I own my own home!

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76 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Love learning about the rents around the world! I think we’ve hit 3 countries now – this is awesome :) (Just got an email from someone in Bulgaria too!)

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77 Holly June 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm

We also live in 1100 sq ft with 2 (soon to be 3) kids. Other coast though – Portland OR.

It’s a 3 bed/ 2 bath with 2 car garage, for mortgage of $1500 (PITI). No backyard, but we’re across the street from a huge city park with a great playground. We’re also <1 mile to light rail station, 4 grocery stores, church, library, many TINY FREE libraries, and a great food truck pod. 3 mile commute to work.

I like how quick and easy it is to clean and maintain our small space, and how it is a great excuse to pass on unwanted gifts (we just don't have the room!) and generally keep down clutter. The only downside is that with a house this small, everyone has to be doing the same thing at the same time generally – if one person is watching a movie, everyone is watching that same movie by default.

The rental and buying markets are so crazy here right now that it would cost us at least $1K more/month to upgrade floor space. Not worth it IMO. Ask me again when they're teenagers.

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78 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm

At least it seems like you’re doing okay!

I’ll be your reflection here on the other coast and we can compare notes next year :)

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79 Ms. Montana June 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Congrats on finding a place! I don’t miss the rent out there. =) We scored a deal when we were in Alexandria on a 4b 2b for $1500 a month. The traffic sucks! Boy, I don’t miss that at all. I felt like I had to plan my life around traffic. Or sit in traffic. Smart move staying close to work. =)

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80 Kim @ Needing The Dough June 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I’m in a small town in Ontario – when we first bought our house, our monthly mortgage payment was less than $500 for a 25 year mortgage. We increased the payment amount to pay it off more quickly.
Rent here is pretty cheap too. I think you can get a 2 bedroom apartment for about $800/month

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81 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Incredible!

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82 Nita June 20, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Oh, our rent on a 5 bedroom house, 2 miles from a beach with a garage in Hawaii is $3250 a month.

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83 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

That sounds pretty good for that amount of space there, yeah?

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84 Erin June 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Serious rent jealousy over here! We pay $2200 for a 400 sq. ft. 1 bedroom in San Francisco, in a decidedly uncool (but safe) neighborhood. Our kitchen is basically non-existent and everything from the paint to the appliances is probably the cheapest option our landlord could find, but it makes up a pretty small % of our take home pay, so it’s worth it for now (student loans are down to $7k — they were $28k at the beginning of the year — what what!).

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85 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm

You are crushing those!!!

And also – thanks for making me feel better :)

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86 Done by Forty June 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm

That’s a tough choice, but we probably would shade towards the smaller-but-more reasonable place you guys selected.

For the next month or two we still have no mortgage, but we’re leveraging up and will have about a $600 mortgage for a while. If we end up going with our plan for a new house, that could change to $1400 or so.

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87 Mrs. Wanderlust June 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

We live in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Our condo (renting) is 900 square feet and we pay $2,300 a month for it. The only utility that we have to cover ourselves is our internet. Electric, water, sewer/trash, and cable (what?) are all included in the HOA fees that are wrapped into that $2,300 a month price tag.

In college I remember complaining when our rent went up to $700 a month. Perspective.

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88 J. Money June 20, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Haha, indeed…

I actually used to live in Kaneohe 30+ years ago but don’t remember much… All I know is that my dad likes to bring up how much our old house would be worth if he kept it all these years :)

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89 Mrs. Wanderlust June 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

The market in the area is insane. If we were to buy and stay we would be hard pressed to be able to find a home in the same area, that we could afford. The ‘cheaper’ homes are out on the west side of the island around the Ewa Beach area….newly developing area, only really one way in and out…it would be a 2 hour commute, one way, for the husband-during peak traffic. I don’t think he is down for that.

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90 Amy June 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm

We moved to Broken Arrow, OK (outside of Tulsa) last month. We’re paying $1129 for a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment that’s 1043 sq ft. We’ve got 3 kids (almost 15, 7 & 5) and a 37 lb Alaskan Husky mix. My husband works from home and we homeschool our 3 children. It’s a good size place for us. My favorite part is I can clean the whole thing in under an hour if I do it all at once. I usually break it up into smaller bits through out the week.

The last house we lived in was 1600 sq ft with a small 500 sq ft basement. It was too big for us, there was a lot of empty space since we choose to live with less than most families our size. We’ve found around 1,000 sq ft is our sweet spot.

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91 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 6:48 am

That gives me so much hope! Especially since y’all live there pretty much all day long!

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92 Gwen June 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

I live in the Midwest (think corn and cows). I pay $1007 for an 1100 sq. ft apartment (vaulted ceilings, fireplace, 2 bdrm, 2 bath) with a $50 pet fee. I also had to put down a $200 deposit for the cat as well. I love having my own space and this complex has a pool, a free gym, and they have fresh fruit in the office every day. I’ll be sad to move from this place!

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93 Pia @ Mama Hustle June 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

I’m glad someone else is living in a “smaller” space with kids! (Ever since my buds with 4 kids moved into a 236 sq. ft. travel trailer, I can’t justify calling anything else small.)

We just moved from our 1100 sq. ft. home to a 1300 sq. ft home. Both are 2 bedrooms, and we got a ridiculous amount of shade for having our kids share a room. Our mortgage is about $1050 a month, and we’re in Atlanta. After living in 1100 sq. ft for several years, 1300 feels downright luxurious.

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94 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 6:49 am

HOW DO YOU LIVE IN A TRAILER WITH 4 KIDS??? That is some magic right there!!!

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95 Sarah Smith June 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Don’t feel bad. We pay $3,200/mo rent for a 2br 3ba (plus den) condo in Los Angeles. It’s 1700sq ft, but it’s an apartment! Really nicely updated and walking distance to a ton, but… Super expensive. Our mortgage on our home in a hip neighborhood in Nashville (3br, 3ba, 2400sq) is almost a grand cheaper. Ack! If we didn’t have to be here, we wouldn’t. :)

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96 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 6:52 am

Hey ol’ friend! Glad to see y’all are still rockin’ it out there!

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97 Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog June 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Awesome! We’ll be moving to Italy this winter, which will force us to downsize as well. I think we’ll both be happier after we downsize! Congrats! And a late congrats to your wife on the job! :)

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98 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 6:54 am

Holy crap – that sounds like fun!! Why are y’all moving out there? Sneak me in your suitcase!

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99 Yokie June 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

It won’t be the same without Frakencaddy. Congrats on the next adventure.

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100 Hannah June 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

I would pick the cheaper one too, and I think it’s good to downsize a little before you downsize a lot!

We’ve got two kids in a 1400 square foot house, but we rent out about 400 feet and 1 bathroom, so it’s essentially the same size as yours. It’s not bad, but we’ve had to sell quite a few things to fit.

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101 Amina Baker June 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm

The comments are so interesting!

My husband and I have 192 acres an hour outside of Dallas, TX in Freestone County TX (inherited family land). We live in a 1200 sq ft (2 bed 2 bath) single wide that he bought brand new when he was a bachelor in 2010. Our mortgage is zero as I paid it off last month.

I do leather work out of a circa 1910 four bedroom house on our property. So no business rental fees either.

Childcare here is also super cheap. $400 a week per child for the most wonderful day care about 6 miles away.

Such different lives! I love reading about it.

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102 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 6:59 am

Right?? So many different lives all coming together on blogs – the best part!

LOVE that y’all rock a single wide too, and even more so that it’s paid off… You guys are doing it right :)

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103 Slackerjo June 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm

I pay $945 (includes everything, heat, water, an indoor pool, but not parking which is $65/month, I don’t own a car so I don’t worry about that) for a 500 sq foot 1 bedroom apartment in Ottawa, ON. I have been mathed out of any home ownership in Ottawa.

I think your new housing situation is a PERFECT EXCUSE to spend hours browsing small space/closet organization stuff online :-).

You have the advantage of a large yard so don’t be afraid to use that for storage.

I am obsessed with shelving and that’s helped me keep my stuff organized. I can have stuff but most of it must be on display, so shelving. Check out my video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsHkliBvbxU&feature=youtu.be

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104 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:03 am

Woahhh we get to see you!!! This is so cool!!

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105 Fervent Finance June 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Good job spotting the scam! Happy your found somewhere – let the somewhat tiny living commence!

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106 FinanceSuperhero June 20, 2016 at 5:52 pm

House #1 would have been my choice, based on your description. The rent also sounds reasonable for what you’re getting considering it is the DC area.

In the Chicago suburbs, we pay just under $1900 per month with a 30 year mortgage on a 2100 SF, 3 bed, 3 bath home. We bought at JUST the right time and could probably sell our home for around $55,000 more than we paid for it just three years ago. Strangely, if we were renting a similar home in our area, we would probably pay around $2200 or $2300 per month in rent.

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107 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:04 am

I’m just drooling at those 3 bathrooms, mmmm…

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108 Marie June 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm

$1300 a month on a 15 year mortgage for 2095 square foot 4 bd/3ba house in a suburb in southern Arizona. During the summer the a/c can run you over $300 a month if you really cool it. We tend to roast and pay about $200 in electric.

In town you can rent in the Sam Hughes neighborhood for $1500 a month for a 1300 sq foot house.

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109 Kate June 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Little Free Libraries were started in the city I live in, Hudson, WI. We have many here.

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110 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:05 am

Bad ass!

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111 Charity June 20, 2016 at 6:05 pm

We live in a small country town in Japan and pay around $1550 (155,000 yen) per month. Our house is over 1800 sqft, three bedrooms, and two water closets and showers. Two showers in a house in Japan is a rare find. They usually only have one shower regardless of house size. Ultimately I would love to live in a much smaller house whenever we actually settle down, sometime in the next ten years.

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112 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:06 am

Nice! You don’t usually hear “country town” along with “Japan” even though of course it’s not all city… Just loving how diverse our readers are here – getting the scope all across the world! Thanks for chiming in!

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113 Avia June 20, 2016 at 6:37 pm

We’re in Northern California and paying $1080/mo for a 950 square foot apartment.

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114 Rachel June 20, 2016 at 6:44 pm

I live in a 4/5 bed (‘5th bed’ is downstairs and we use it as a music/TV room) 2 1/2 bath house in a seaside town on the West of Scotland (lounge, dining, eat in kitchen, sun room). Our mortgage payments are £850pcm but we are overpaying a little each month. Council Tax is a killer at £2400pa and factors fees are around £200pa. Solar panels, turning off plugs and good insulation keep our gas and electric down to around £70pcm.

We now own outright over 50% of the house which delights me. I look forward to owning it 100%. It’s bigger than we need and extravagant for 2 people BUT we bought it as a forever house that has room for kids, can be extended up or out, the double garage could be a granny flat… basically as future proof as we can imagine.

For the same purchase price we could have bought a fancy city centre 2bed apartment in Glasgow but would have had all the fees and taxes when we inevitably moved to something bigger with a garden. I love the tiny house idea, but we need our space!

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115 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

Yeah Scotland! Way to go on killing half your loans off like that!!

It’s always so fascinating to me hearing about peoples’ “forever” homes too as I’ve never stayed in one place long enough to even understand that :) I feel like it would make life SOOO much easier though knowing where you’ll be and putting down roots/planning/etc. Especially if it brings you that much joy! Perhaps one day we’ll do that, but for now we keep trekking until we finally find our landing spot…

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116 Get FIRE'd asap June 20, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Damn those scammers. I wonder how many people actually get suckered by them. And the problem is that they’re getting so much better at it. No longer emails from layers in Nigeria advising me of my entitlement to my long lost uncle’s multi-million dollar inheritance.

I got a PayPal one yesterday that was so realistic. It was only when I checked the email address it came from that proved it was a fake. But, I had been using PayPal earlier in the day so it was almost an automatic reaction to click on the link provided to see why ‘my payment had been rejected’. Be aware people, be aware.

By the way, your new suburb looks and sounds very civilised. I love those sort of places with great community spirit. Good luck with the move.

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117 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:13 am

It’s true!! They’re getting good!!! And imagine the havoc they’re doing on people not used to the internet as much as we are?? Such a horrible waste of life…

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118 Donna Freedman June 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm

Congratulations — and dude, you can so do this. The house I grew up in was noticeably smaller than 1,100 feet and it housed two parents and FOUR kids.

Downstairs: One small bedroom for parents, small kitchen, moderate-sized living room, tiny sliver of room off that and one VERY small bathroom (just enough room for toilet, sink and shower stall). When I was in my early teens my dad added a small second bathroom to the downstairs.

Entire second floor was one large-ish bedroom, where three kids slept.

Above that: The attic, which my dad finished off so the only boy had his own room.

Incidentally, only the ground floor was heated — and that was with a total of four radiators. We all survived.

Feeling better now?

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119 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:14 am

You know it :) Sounds kinda cozy really!

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120 serenity June 20, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I had my house listed for rent, a family drove by and wanted to see the house. They ask what it was renting for, when I told them, they said it was listed on a site for $500 less. And whoever used the photos of my home asked these perspective renters to provide a family photo. weird!

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121 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:15 am

UGH!!!! What is wrong with people!

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122 The Professor June 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Congrats on finding a place.
Just a suggestion. If Mrs. B.A.Sexy hasn’t done so already she or you might want to contact the “scam” house with the real ad (that was for $500 more) and let those people know that someone was spoofing their ad and using it as a scam.
I had that happen to me on a rental I was trying to rent out and this woman let me know. I immediately went after them and then constantly looked to see if they put another ad up so I could flag it on CL. They had no creativity at all either. All they did was change the title, use my description and pictures and put it way under market value. Once I got rid of them I started getting more calls and interest on my property to rent. Ugh.

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123 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:21 am

Man, I had no idea how common this was! I feel like the wife did alert them once she figured it out, but will have to check with her – def. a good idea.

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124 The Professor June 20, 2016 at 8:22 pm

I live in Orange County, CA where rents on a 2 bedroom/2 bath in a decent neighborhood go for around $2,700. Fortunately when I split from my ex a few years back, I bought her equity out, kept the house and have been working diligently on paying it off.
I’ve got a couple of more months and the 2,600 sq. ft. townhome should be mortgage free with only taxes, HOA, and insurance to worry about. (around $1,000/month)

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125 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:22 am

Bad ass – congrats!

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126 Scott @ Couple of Sense June 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Congratulations on finding a place, I’m sure that is a huge relief. I’m sure you would have enjoyed the extra space but that is quite a bit more to part with.

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127 Danell June 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Fun to read what everyone is paying for housing in different places. I pay $740 a month, which includes taxes and insurance on my 2700 sq foot house on 1.5 acres. The trade off? I’m in Kansas. Need I say more?

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128 J. Money June 21, 2016 at 7:23 am

Well if we all knew how fun it was out there you’d be paying a lot more! :)

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129 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar June 21, 2016 at 9:25 am

I’m out of the loop, but our mortgage is ~$1400 with 1900 sqft. But that commute for your wife would be about 2.5 hours with traffic if you’re lucky. Yikes! Smaller commutes are life changing.

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130 Morgan June 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

I purchased my house in Indianapolis, IN for 144k in 2005. I currently pay 960 a month but plan on paying this off in the next 5 years with larger payments to the principle. It’s a 3bd 2.5b 2200 sq ft house.

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131 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:12 pm

DO IT!!! No mortgages would be incredible!

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132 Mom @ Three is Plenty June 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

In a 545k house in Centreville, VA, our mortgage (with escrow) was $2275. In Pittsburgh, on a 367k house payment is $2154. Almost similar houses, we have more land in Pittsburgh (.45 acres vs .25 in NoVA), but the property taxes are killer where we live. We’ve been told they’re not so bad in the next county out, but I wanted an under 1hr commute. We’re *definitely* moving once we can retire, but when exactly depends on Daughter Person and whether she wants to continue high school with her friends or not.

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133 Mom @ Three is Plenty June 21, 2016 at 10:27 am

I should probably add – we put 20% down on both houses, so the actual mortgages are less than the property values.

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134 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I used to hang in Centreville back in the day! When I used to live in Fairfax… I can only imagine how much higher all the real estate has gotten, ugh…

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135 Mike @ Blogsofstuff June 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

Just did a refi back out to 30 years 3.625% to get some cash flow so I am living in a 400k house for $1060 per month with an additional 875/mo in property taxes. It is crazy to think that my taxes will be more than my actual mortgage payment in time, but hey that’s life in NJ. My house would probably rent for about $2700 per month.

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136 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

WOW.

I feel like people always forget to include taxes when they do the whole rent vs buy calculation… so much goes into that comparison than a simple monthly payment!

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137 [email protected] June 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Man, it’s tough living in a high cost area! I’m so jealous of the low housing costs many talk about. When we were renting a 1 bedroom apartment which was about 600 square feet it cost about $1600. A 2 bedroom was about $2000 to $2300 just like you guys. We bought a “junior 4” cooperative apartment…it’s a one-bedroom with a small alcove. We put up a wall and made that our son’s room (it’s small though). Total space is about 850 square feet. We have another kid on the way so we’ll see how long we can stay here. The mortgage and maintenance is just under $2000 a month. I also pay $160 for parking which sucks.

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138 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

That does suck, geez :( Congrats on the new addition though! Our boy LOOOOOVES having a friend to play with! They keep each other entertained all day long!

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139 Little House June 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm

It’s all about location! We live in a suburb of Los Angeles and pay $2,400 for a 2 bed/2 bath apartment. We’re building a manufactured home and should be moving in the fall, but it will cost a tad bit more each month – mainly because we modified and upgraded a bunch of stuff. Your community sounds darling, especially with the tiny libraries. I’d also opt for being closer to work for slightly more each month than commuting – yuck! But then again, traffic in the major metros is a nightmare, I know because I live in Los Angeles – traffic capital of the country!

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140 Keith "Shin" Schindler June 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Whew!!! So good to hear!!! I hate to think about those two little fellas out on the streets. :-D

Sounds like y’all got a nice pad lined up. Yeah, I’ll be it will take a little getting used to but I’ll bet that Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy is going to make sure it works. :-)

AND!! You can’t beat easy access coffee and those tiny libraries!!

Congrats, Dude!

Looking forward to hear your upcoming adventures! Oh, BTW, you can do better than a Mini Van when you replace FrankenCaddy!

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141 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Already got something interesting in the works! I’m sure half of the community will bash me for it, but I don’t care… gotta enjoy riding in something every day, right? :)

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142 Keith "Shin" Schindler June 27, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Just read your post about the new ride. Let ’em bash if they want to. It’s not their life, right? :-D

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143 J. Money June 28, 2016 at 8:30 am

That’s what I’m thinkin’ :)

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144 Leigh June 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I “spend” about $2,000/month for a 1200 sqft 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo adjacent to downtown in my city, which is super walkable. That figure includes my mortgage P&I, insurance, property taxes, and condo fees. I’ve been so aggressive with paying down my mortgage though that in reality, I spend about $14,000/year on housing for two people. That isn’t a completely realistic picture of housing costs where we are though – if I re-bought the place today with 20% down, my costs would be about $3,000/month instead of the $2,000/month it is. This is all stupid cheap for the gorgeous place we have in the location we are in, especially on our incomes. Renting a similar place would probably cost us $4,000/month…and I’m sitting on about $200,000 of price appreciation over my purchase price, which is just insane in four years!

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145 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Congrats! You sound much savvier than I was when we bought our first home (for $0 down and on a whim – hah!)

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146 Shawna June 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Congrats!

We pay $2350 for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Hillcrest, a nice/trendier neighborhood of San Diego with lots of great bars and restaurants, a weekly farmers market, etc. I can’t recall the square feet but it’s on the larger side. Place was built in the last 10 years, hardwood floors throughout, vaulted ceiling in the living room, washer and dryer in unit, a balcony, 2 parking spaces in a gated garage, etc. Considering we looked at dumps for $2200, we feel like we got a great deal. Our landlord is also super nice and didn’t raise our rent when we re-signed our lease!

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147 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Sounds beautiful! When can I come over? :)

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148 Taylor June 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Woohoo! Congrats on the new place, the new move and your wife’s new job! I’m so glad that all her hard work has paid off :)

These comments are SO interesting to me. I love reading about other people’s finances, especially housing costs!

I live in San Diego, CA. My sis and I split the $1800 rent on a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment in one the best, most central and safest neighborhoods. No pool or gym, but quiet neighbors, a garage and more than enough space. Compared to the $1500 my partner and I paid for a studio in LA, it feels like a steal ;)

Good luck with the move!!

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149 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

I bet! And you get to hang out with family which is awesome! Annoying sometimes, but overall pretty cool :) Parents love when their kids get along so well, haha…

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150 Tina @thisisadultlife June 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

WOW! I am so jealous of your new house size. That is actually my dream. Our house is currently 2200 sq ft, and we want to retire tiny. The trouble is we are pretty much locked into a cheap mortgage. We only pay $558 a month which includes insurance and taxes. I always feel like telling people that our house is actually pretty nice and our total utilities are only $189. We live in rural Indiana which sounds awful, but it is in the middle of two recreational lakes and Lake Michigan so there are a lot of activities. Our town is very “Mayberry” and so although it is not as liberal as we are, our kids have a great place that loves them. Do numbers like this ever give you an itch to try to be rural? We always want to be in the city, but the numbers terrify us, so I always wonder how it works on the opposite end of the spectrum.

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151 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Oh yeah – we often look at homes all over the country just out of curiosity and play the “what if” game :) Only problem is that none of our friends or family lives there and the older I get the more I appreciate their company! So that helps us put up with the high costs, haha… Then we can all bitch together about it too ;)

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152 Financial Samurai June 21, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Congrats on finding a place! It will be interesting to see if you guys get used to 1,100sqft for 4! Rent is about $4,000 – $4,200 for a 2/1, 1,100sqft in SF. I just got done finding some new tenants finally and will be highlighting some tips to find ideal tenants tomorrow.

$2,200 sounds pretty good for dual income earners now that I think about it more. Several sponsored posts like the good old days and your rent is fully covered! :)

Sam

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153 J. Money June 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Hah!

Yeah, no way we’d pay that much if we were still on my one income… We’re there for the job and then we’re coming back once we’re able to transition!

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154 Beth June 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I live in the Midwest — a hop, skip and jump from the beautiful Lake Michigan. We are less than an hour from the city of Chicago. My mortgage payment is $650. Renting an apartment in a nice area around here, like by the lake, would be anywhere from $600 – $1500. A house would be probably be $900-$1500.

I remember when I used to have to pay childcare! Thank goodness that is over. I was paying around $1000-$1200.

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155 Steve from Arkansas June 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm

In Arkansas, a nice 3 bedroom house five minutes from work in rush hour generally rents for $600-900. One kind of minimalism rarely talked about is living rural where the pay is about the same but the cost of living is half, and there is no such thing as commuting. More time, more money, more nature, less crime, less crowding and less traffic. I’d never trade deer in my backyard for a Starbucks on the corner, but that’s just me.

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156 J. Money June 28, 2016 at 8:23 am

Nice! Sounds pretty damn soothing actually.

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157 Centsai June 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Congratulations to you both! Based on many years of HGTV bing-watching, I would’ve gone with house #2 (although I see how the cat fee would throw you off guard there!) Glad to hear you found your happy space, though, while still getting a bang for your buck!

centsai.com

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158 M June 23, 2016 at 10:28 pm

you rent!? you lost a little credibility as a $$ guru there. consider buying. i suggest a duplex for mostly-passive rental income.

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159 J. Money June 28, 2016 at 8:25 am

good thing I don’t consider myself a $$ guru ;)

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160 Millennial Moola June 24, 2016 at 12:21 pm

My brother was in the Ukraine. He’s paying $150 a month for an apartment in the center of the city. My girlfriend is paying $1700 for an apt in a big expensive city in the northeast. I used to pay $300 to live in a dank basement haha

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161 J. Money June 28, 2016 at 8:26 am

isn’t it wild how drastic this stuff varies? Even though it’s all more or less the same? you can take the same house and drop it in 5 different places around the world and it’ll range from $100 to $1,000,000 – incredible.

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162 Kat June 27, 2016 at 11:39 am

Ugh, I pay $1183 for one bedroom in a 3 bed/1 bath apartment with no laundry in unit or assigned parking in Cambridge, MA.
And YES, SO many places wanted to charge me a monthly cat fee. It’s ridiculous:
One place I looked at:
$1,400 rent (one bed in a 2 bedroom)
$70 cats ($35/cat)
$160-$250 parking

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163 J. Money June 28, 2016 at 8:27 am

Yeah, it was those cat fees that really sealed the deal for us…

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164 Mark June 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm

My family of 6 lives in a 1950s one story house with a 1,000 sq footprint. Most of the basement is finished. including a bedroom. So our actual living space is closer to 1,700 sq. We have 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Read it and weep, we bought the house in 1998 and have a $1,050 mortgage payment. We’re on schedule to pay off house 8 years early.

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165 J. Money June 29, 2016 at 6:49 am

BOOM! It’s a beautiful thing!

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166 James June 29, 2016 at 10:20 pm

I live in Orlando, Florida. I was really lucky that back in 2010 I started renting a 2 BR/2 BA house for $700. About 6 months later it was foreclosed on and I was able to buy it for $43,000. I did a 15 year mortgage and including escrow my monthly payment was $400. I paid it off earlier this year and am living mortgage free and just paying about $150a month for insurance and property taxes. The house is probably now worth about 3x what I paid for it. It’s the third house I have owned – the first 2 I lost money on, so I am especially excited.

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167 J. Money July 1, 2016 at 12:07 am

Hell yeah man!! Way to nab that come back! I’m 0 for 1 right now and not too excited to try buying another anytime soon, haha… But hearing stories like yours does make me double think it because a mortgage-free life sounds pretty damn good! Well done, sir!

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168 Tonya June 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

I love the tiny free libraries. We have them around a few neighborhoods here in Chicago.

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169 J. Money July 1, 2016 at 12:08 am

Cool! :)

I’m going to sneak in finance books in ours and see if anyone takes them, haha…

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170 Jacq July 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

$50/cat fee. …my apartment complex wanted a pet deposit $350 and $75/cat or dog per month. That’s before food, vet, etc. That was part of my motivation to buy vs rent.

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171 J. Money July 9, 2016 at 7:48 am

Yikes!

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172 Christy July 10, 2016 at 6:15 am

Catching up with older posts! Chiming in late. I live in close-in SW Portland, OR. Portland is a hot rental market with increasing rent and home values as much as 20-30% in the past year. I bought my current home with my husband in early 2014 for 40% less than what it’s worth today. A 3br/2.5ba 2000 sq ft single family home. Monthly PITI is $1700/mo. We’re renting out our first home and are cash flow positive $700/mo not including the principle payments our renters are making for us. So between two houses we’re only paying $1000/mo! We also had roommates for a while getting $880 per month but had to kick them out with baby #1 on the way!

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173 J. Money July 20, 2016 at 7:21 am

Oh wow – killing it!!

And congrats on that baby – they’re so precious!! :)

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174 Nathan August 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Been meaning to reply to this, time gets away… My wife and I live in a farming community in TN and rent a 2500 sqft 4 bed 2.5 bath house for $700 per month. We can see two of our neighbors house lights at night, and it takes 3+ hours to mow the lawn. My family has lived in the area since the early 1800’s and we are renting from a cousin, so the price is discounted. We are blessed.

It’s AMAZING to see the cost / square in other parts of the country. I don’t know how people afford to live! But I guess what we gain in peace, quiet, and affordability we lose in amenities. It’s at least 30 minutes to a grocery store, and we’re running internet on a cellular jetpack…no broadband. Still, I would’t trade.

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175 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Wowww – incredible!! Sounds so peaceful there! Love that your family has been there since the 1800’s – you don’t hear that too often these days :)

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176 Vikki October 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

I have to say I thoroughly enjoy your blog/posts/humor/outlook/advise… Just read ur emails that I’ve saved since Mar of this year & stopped at this one. I need to eat so I can binge read more of these! lol!
I pay$1463 for 2626 sq ft in So Ca, purchased during housing drop 7 years ago. I haven’t had a car pmt since then, but will be facing the decision to buy something next yr and pay it off in 2 yrs or less (just read your post on the SUV u got), my ‘oldy’ is a 2003 w/ 265,000 mi on her & she’s getting tired. Just dumped my cable, changed cell plans, stopped spending as much on my grandson, moving folks out of my home that are costing me money & I’m going to create a net worth sheet. Time to do this right…I’m not getting any younger and your posts motivate me more than Dave Ramsey! Go J. Money!

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177 J. Money October 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

HAH! Take that Dave Ramsey! :)

Really appreciate your kinds words. Takes a lot more time to run a blog that it looks, and getting nice notes like this helps power us through.

So thanks! And congrats on all the smart changes coming up! Sounds like you’re on a mission over there and no one’s stopping you :)

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178 Anna January 15, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Just found your site and absolutely love it – THANK you for all of the information! My hubby had to tell me to go to bed at 2 am last night – I couldn’t stop reading your posts!

We live in a little town called Issaquah, about 20 minutes east of Seattle. Our house is 1920 sq ft, 3 bed/2 bath. We pay $2,800 PITI for a 15-year fixed. We bought our house as a short sale two years ago and already have $250K equity (NOT kidding on that – the housing market here is insane). We are settling down for the long haul in this house as we can’t afford anything else around us! But we do have a Little Free Library in our neighborhood (very charming to see one) – I’ll sneak a finance book in there and see what happens. :)

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179 J. Money January 16, 2017 at 6:20 am

Do it! Haha….

And so glad you’re enjoying the site, Anna – thanks so much for telling me :)

I hope it helps you along your journey!

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