Sometimes it’s frustrating being in a tiny house, driving an old vehicle, wearing out-of-style clothes, or being in other situations that you’d love to solve by just throwing money at the problem to make it go away. Everyone wants the newest, best, most stylish things, but is throwing money at the problem really going to solve it, or will it just buy you a short reprieve from your current situation?
I read that the Duggar family lived in a two-bedroom house until their 16th child was born. I’m sure they wanted a bigger house, but they were committed to not going into debt, so they saved for years until they had enough money to build the house in which they currently live. After it was built, they went a year without air conditioning, and saved up to afford that, too.
To be honest, I really admire the Duggars. I only have 3 children in our 2-bedroom house, but sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t get a bigger house soon. Can we afford a bigger house? Sure… if we borrow the money. (We’re actually still paying on our current house.) I wish I had the resolve that the Duggars do, but I’m weak and selfish sometimes. I want a bigger house, and I want it now! As a fellow parent, surely you understand where I’m coming from.
So then, why are we still a family of 5 in a 2-bedroom house? There are other houses for sale in our area, not many, but a few. Most of them are camps, mobile homes, and other houses smaller than we’ve already got. The bigger houses are outrageously priced and/or in desperate need of major repairs.
Sure, we could buy an expensive house and enjoy the extra space, but we’d have to drastically cut back on our other expenses (toys, food, and maybe even electricity) to afford it. And we’d be at a loss if we needed a vehicle repair or got some other type of random bill.
After weighing the pros and cons, we’ve decided not to throw money at the problem until we believe the time is right. When will that be? I wish I knew! Like I said, sometimes I don’t know how much longer I can last here, but throwing money at the situation right now would just be a temporary fix, an oh-so-tempting temporary fix.
If we bought an expensive house, or one that needs expensive repairs, not only would we have to scrimp on other expenses for the foreseeable future, we also might be too far in debt or unable to find a buyer for that house if a better or more reasonably-priced house went up for sale.
Our situation’s not ideal, but I haven’t exploded yet. We can comfortable afford all of our bills and a few occasional “treats”. I’d hate to have a mortgage so big that I couldn’t afford to make special memories with my kids. We love going to the petting zoo (with $1 admission), the public pool, and even buying special treats at the grocery store. I take tons of pictures of them, and batteries don’t last long in digital cameras, and I hate to be so short on money that I couldn’t afford batteries for the camera or to get the pictures developed.
Sure, cuddling under blankets on the couch while watching tv is a special time, too, but it’s special because we do it occasionally and voluntarily, not because we can’t afford heat! I’d love to throw money at the problem to make it go away, but if I really look at the situation, I realize that it’s not worth it. If we have to save up for years to build or buy a bigger house that we can comfortably afford, so be it. It beats buying a short reprieve that could end up costing us more in the long run.
So, my advice to you (and to myself) is this: Before throwing money at a problem to make it go away, ask yourself if throwing money at it would actually solve the problem, or if it would just buy you a short, and possibly very costly, reprieve.
Article by Randi Millward