House Hunting and Shifting Priorities

Just a quick post today, because I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with different things going on….

Selling a house, finding a new place to rent, and moving are pretty big deals, but I’ve been preoccupied with a few other things. Things like:

  • If we have room in our budget (as I think we may) when we get settled and are both getting our regular paychecks, how should we allocate that money?
  • What kind of benefits should I sign up for at my new job?
  • Should I open up a Capital360 checking account? A savings account with them?
  • What should our savings/debt eradication goals be?

From what I can see, we’ll have MAYBE $600 wiggle room in our budget, though I’m hoping for more, considering that our rent should be lower than our current mortgage payment. I know the fastest way to save money each month is to have a low rent. Finding a place in the town that we’re moving to is proving to be just as hard as it was years ago when we lived there. Last time we lived there, we moved three times in the course of about 3 years! Not fun, but we finally ended up in a place that didn’t have bugs or was about to be foreclosed. Then we bought a house an hour away. šŸ™‚

What to do with that $600? It’s a hefty chunk of change, but when we’re looking at our goals, it doesn’t seem like we’ll get anywhere very fast. Our goals are:

  • Save an emergency fund (we’d like $2,000, but I’d settle for $1,000)
  • Save for our travel to France next year for H’s conference ($5,000, to be on the safe side)
  • Save for retirement (my IRA is pitiful, by PF blogger standards)
  • Pay down student loan debt (we have over $60,000 of that, so……)
  • Save for a 20% downpayment on a house (if we wanted a fancy house at $240,000, we need $48,000!)
  • Save for L’s college fund (but that’s pretty low on the priority list, which makes me sad)

Now, we don’tĀ haveĀ to have 20% for a downpayment. It is just what we’d really like to have.

So, I know there are tons of articles and blog posts about this, but I’m not sure whether to prioritize Saving or Debt EradicationĀ or to split the $600 to do both. Of course, by splitting it, nothing gets done quickly. I do like to have goals that are within reach.

We do have one debt that will be paid off in June of next year (the Citibank card balance that is made up of the transfer from H’s private student loan), and that $450 would be snowballed into that $600, and then we’d have more to work with. But June 2015 isĀ soooo far away.

It’s discouraging to see that we’re not going to meet any of our goals quickly, but I knew that the money wasn’t the reason I took this job.

My mind has been working overtime on all of the changes going on, but I have caught myself thinking, “Hmm, what side hustle could I pick up so that I can speed up our financial freedom?” One of the things I had told myself (and my family!) is that when we get settled in a new place, I will be able to spend more time with my daughter and husband and focus on things other than work. Things like cooking healthy meals, maybe investing in a hobby (I have that sweet camera H got me as a Christmas/Birthday/Graduation gift in December)…. not being tethered to a computer in the evenings once I get off from my regular job.

I’m really struggling to get my priorities figured out. Anyone have advice about this? I know it’s personal, but what would you do?

– M.

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