I Can’t Go to Target Whenever I Want

It’s very surreal to see our house on Zillow.com – again. The first time it was listed for sale there was when we were looking for homes! (We bought the house from its first owners.) I love a lot of things about where we live now – it’s a city in the best kind of sense: not too difficult to drive around (I’m finally figuring it out after about 4 years…), great restaurants, good library, people, fun things to see and do, and – as I always say – I can go to Target if I need to. Small City is awesome like that.

Not that I go there that often. But seriously, as I told people when we moved away from Small Town we hope to move back to (see here), just knowing I could go to Target if I wanted meant a lot to me. I don’t care for small towns, in general. I like knowing that people are around, and that I have the freedom to go when I want to go!

I also like having more options than just a crappy Ingles and Walmart.

On the other hand, I’m telling myself that we’ll save money. (This is probably just an excuse, as – again – I don’t go to Target that often, because we’ve been on a budget for a while, and I hardly go to said places.) We will not be able to get pizza delivered, though – that may save us $20 a month alone!

(This is all dependent on the house actually selling and us finding a place to live in Small Town, of course.)

But will I throw myself a Pity Party for moving to Small Town? No! Not only do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but I have also built myself a safety net! I had signed L up for ballet (this will be her third year!) at a ballet school in Small City. Not only will she get to see her best friend (since they were 3) once a week since they’ll be in the same class, I can go to Trader Joe’s, Target, or anywhere else I decide I need to go. ONCE A WEEK. This is pretty much my regular Small City shopping schedule anyway!

We factored in the gas cost for this kind of travel (actually, we factored in 5 trips to Small City a month), so when we are able to move, we know that we can do this comfortably within our (admittedly small) budget.

I’m sure as the year progresses, I’ll have more musings on Small Town vs. Small City living, but this is what has been going through my mind at the moment.

That, and I’m super excited to be embarking on basically a whole new career – scary, but we know it’s the right thing to do.

Well, readers… do you have any tips for moving from city living to town living?

Jobs, Changes, and Finances

Here it is, halfway through the year, and we’re about to make a huge change for our family. I felt like it would be best to put this in a separate blog post than the regular monthly one.

So… here are the updates!

Awesome Job / Opportunity:

Well, I’ve already been a part of the Opportunity (my sneaky pet name for the sweet gig that was made available to teachers in my state who applied and were accepted to do some awesome work on the side for the state’s educational system) for a bit over a month now. I went to the initial meeting, I met with some great teachers who are going to do amazing things for the educational system in my state (I hope people listen to them!), and I figured, “Sure, I can handle this for a year!” It did seem like a lot of work, and I wasn’t looking forward to the minutiae and organization it was going to take… a teacher’s time is already divided between so many different tasks that it can be overwhelming.

As for Awesome Job, I got the call for the interview back in June and they asked me to prepare a presentation. The interview was scheduled for a month later – in the middle of this month (July). So I went crazy and did a crap-load of preparation. I probably spent 8-hour days prepping (during my summer “vacation”) in addition to doing my part-time side hustle for the same institution. I used literally every bit of time I could to prepare, down to the wire. I spoke to 5 different individuals who know about the topic (and they were all lovely people who really helped me out), and I spent hours researching and constructing my presentation. I practiced it 8 times the day before my interview, and I was feeling ready to go.

I went in that day feeling great, and I came out feeling great. I got a great vibe from the interview committee, and I thought, “I’ve really got a shot at this!”

Long story short, I didn’t get offered the job – however, feedback I received indicated that at least one person on the committee thought my presentation and interview were the best of all the candidates. When HR called, they told me that they really wanted me on the team full-time. They said that they couldn’t offer me the position I interviewed for, but would I consider another full-time position with their institution if they could wrangle more money for the position (the one I hadn’t wanted to apply for, because it was below my teaching salary)? I said I would consider it, and that I’d have to crunch some numbers. When they were able to tell me later that they could kick up the salary to a little more than what I make teaching, H and I decided that we should go for it.

That means giving up the Opportunity (and the money) as well as the part-time position with said institution (and the money). They won’t let me keep both the full-time job and the part-time position (which would have been amazing). But it also means that eventually we should be able to move to that town (where H works already) and cut down on our combined daily commute  (of 2 hours and 40 minutes) and gas money.

The big benefit, of course, is that I won’t be teaching anymore. I’ll still be working with people, and I’ve met (virtually) the woman who will be my new boss (the one who got the job I interviewed for) and I think she sounds pretty great. I’m looking forward to working more with adults rather than children, having fewer pressures and fewer distractions, and different kinds of challenges. I’m also excited to be entering a field where there’s actually room for advancement (say, like Awesome Job in the future!), rather than no options (unless you are a teacher who wants to be a school administrator – which I don’t).

The Changes for Us: 

As I mentioned above, we’re going to be trying to move back to the smaller town where we’ll both be working. Things to consider are:

  • Selling our house as soon as possible
  • Registering L for kindergarten (!!!)
  • Commuting for two hours (an hour each way) as a family until we sell the house (we can’t pay a mortgage and rent simultaneously)
  • Whether I want to teach classes at the same institution to bolster our income (seems like a good idea, but I’d much prefer for them to be online if possible!)
  • Helping L make the adjustment to kindergarten, the idea of selling our house and moving, and commuting an hour until we can do that
  • After school care until H can get off of work to pick her up and then come pick me up

Financial Priority Changes: 

Knowing that moving is on the horizon, there are some new financial considerations:

  • Prepping the house for moving (we’ve already spent money on yard tools, weed killer, etc)
  • Cost of hiring moving truck, possibly movers, and packing materials (if needed)
  • Renting a place when/if house sells (landlords often require first month, last month, and deposit – oof)
  • Money commuting (that we wish we were saving, because part of the reason for taking a job in this town is to eventually have a much SHORTER commute!)
  • Possibility of renting (and hiring property management company if need be, taxes associated with rental income, etc.) if house doesn’t sell

Right now, any extra money will be squirreled away in our savings fund. The “moving fund” currently has about $1k in it, but I’m feeling very uncomfortable that we don’t have more of a cushion. We have spent quite a bit this month on food (way over budget) because we had friends visit and there were some business meals that will be tax deductible. That doesn’t help us now, of course. So there are some charges on the card that I was hoping to zero out at the end of the month but I’m not sure how much I’m going to pay down on the CCs (which will be frustrating, because we always pay off our CCs each month) because when I get my side hustle income, I’m going to want to save it all for upcoming expenses. Ergh.

Other thoughts:

There’s a group of people and friends we already know in the small town – friends our age with kids, friends from the church we used to attend, and new friends to make! We’re certainly going to be welcomed with open arms… when we finally are able to move.

I’m just really keeping my fingers crossed that our house sells soon-ish (not expecting miracles or anything) and for enough that we can afford to pay a realtor, all the fees that come with selling a house, and then have some left over! We certainly can’t afford to sell it at a loss, because we have only owned the house four years and haven’t got enough equity in the house to sell it for less than we bought it for. (We’re not under water, though, at least, unless you look at the tax assessment…. which I hear isn’t an accurate assessment for buying/selling. Eep.)

I spent a lot of time prepping for that interview – and while I’m glad it paid off (just in a different way than I planned), I’m sad that it took me away from my family so much. H was amazing and did all sorts of wonderful things to help me out – food prep, being with L, house stuff, basically being my servant while I was (in essence) working from home. But L had some really hard times – she became very clingy to me and it was really frustrating for H – plus the stress of some other things going on at the same time. It really took its toll on us.

As I type this, I’m on my way with my parents and L to the beach. It’s a tricky time to be going, but it had been scheduled, it’s being paid for (not by me!), and although my parents said that given the situation, we could stay home after all, H and I knew it wouldn’t be right to do that. Not only do I not want my parents and L to miss out on the beach because of this, I really want to go to the beach as well! Honestly, just the idea of being in a hotel is like a vacation to me. H will join us later in the week – he kindly volunteered to stay home for a little longer and take care of some house things so we can get it on the market asap.

So, while the rest of the summer has made us into a big ball of stress, I’m hopeful that at least some time at the beach with family will make me feel like I’ve had SOME kind of vacation this year.

Also, can you imagine how awful this move would be if we had all of that consumer debt left to take care of? I’m feeling super relieved that we got the car paid off!

I hope your summer has been going well – whether you’re working or on vacation – and if you have any advice on the following topics, I’d love to hear it!

  • moving
  • selling a house
  • renting out a house / working with property management companies
  • transitioning a 5-year-old to kindergarten
  • commuting for two hours a day with a kindergartener (sad face)

I’ll be back in a few days for the update on July 2014’s finances.

– M.

P.S. Honestly, I don’t intend for my posts to be a million words long….