Hello. I'm starting out this blog to chronicle my family's move from a cluttered life that's too financially and emotionally stressful to one that is smaller, more manageable and simpler. We are a family of three, dad Dan, mama Ann and son Sam along with our black Labrador Easy living in a house in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our house is not big by today's standard, at least in the United States. It has a footprint of 750 square feet with a full, but unfinished basement, and a 300 square foot 1/2 story upstairs. It was one of the houses they built right after WWII to accommodate for the baby boom and all those growing families.
When we purchased this house we were only the second family to own it since 1945, and very little had been updated since then. We could barely afford it, which shocked us as our mortgage was $20,000 less than the bank said we could afford to purchase - I guess they thought food, heat and gas were optional items in our life. We had to upgrade the electric right away and the roof was on it's last legs. Then came a new furnace (the old one was the original), a remodeled bathroom so we could have a shower, new back door, outside lights, lots of painting interior and exterior, appliances...you get the picture. Much more still needs to be done to this place, but we find we don't want to put more money into this home that will take us 28 more years to pay off.
It wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't refinanced a couple of times since we purchased the house in 1997. Our reasons for doing so were to pay for the updates we made and the infertility medical bills which made having our son Sam a reality as well as the classic reason of living above your means. We have since reigned in our spending and payed off all of our debt besides the mortgage. Still life is expensive here. We live in a small house, own one vehicle, don't take vacations (minus a camping trip or weekend hotel stay somewhere drivable) and our biggest luxury is I don't work so I can homeschool our son. But to accomplish all this my husband works on average about 60 hours a week leaving before we wake up and coming home after dinner. I'm sure this is not a unique situation, and we're very lucky in many regards, but we're finding that something needs to change if we want more time together as a family.
So, we've decided to get rid of the last of our debt and sell our house with the next step being we'd build a much smaller home in the country that we would own outright - no more mortgages! But, for this to happen we first need to empty out this home, do some more repair, and figure out new employment that's not location specific. Piece of cake - right? Well, not exactly a piece of cake, but definitely doable. I plan to chronicle the steps on this blog as a way to help me see we're making progress towards our goals while keeping clear on what still needs to be done. Won't you join me?