I just wanted to share my story for the readers of personal finance. I know sometimes it can be tough making sound choices while your peers happily stretch, so I hope my story reassures you. Original post was removed, Reposting and editing to address Rule 6 – hope I did this right.
TL;DR living below our means is saving our sanity right now due to unexpected medical diagnosis.
For 18 years, I lived in a small, 1 bed condo in a popular neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest. I got married, so rather then renting it out (it was 60 plus years old with a list of repairs to the building piling up), we decided to sell.
The big decision was to buy and stay in the city, which was seeing housing prices for a modest home run up to 800k or move somewhere cheaper and commute.
It was a hard choice, but we did not want to be saddled with a high monthly mortgage and property taxes, so we left my beloved city and moved south to a town on the train line. Commute would be 40 minutes by train, but we found a great house on a third of an acre that we could work on. It sold for less than my 700 sq foot condo was sold for despite being three times as large.
But it was hard. I missed walking to work. We missed our friends. I started doubting the wisdom of our judgement.
Until my wife was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s been a hard few months and the medical bills are starting to roll in. She has insurance, but had we maxed out our living budget on a house in Seattle, I don’t know if we could handle the stress of a potential job loss down the road. As it stands now, the monthly mortgage is the least of our concerns and we had enough saved due to our lower cost of living that we were able to pay for embryo banking prior to starting her treatments without taking on additional loans. Stretching would have meant deciding on another loan just for the chance of having children in the future. If and when she has to leave her job, we can get by on a single salary.
It is still an incredibly stressful situation, but one that is made just a little less so due to giving ourselves some breathing room.