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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bigger House vs. Simpler Life

As many of you know (because I've been shouting it from the rooftops) we're about to have our house paid off in July or so.  We have been debt-free (all but the house) since last April, and since the beginning of last year we've been on the journey to financial peace, all thanks to Mr. Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University.

With the prospect of having a few extra bucks in the bank after the house is paid off (in half the time of our 15 year mortgage, if I might brag), we've developed quite the wish list of items to buy when we're not putting every single spare cent into the house.  And yes, we have a spreadsheet of such items.  Here they are (without prices):

Invisline (for Michael)
Sprinkler System
Driveway expansion
Replace tile floor in kitchen
Front bathroom remodel
Paint exterior of house
Paint kitchen cabinets and new hardware
Kitchen counters, backsplash, and island butcher block
New stove/oven range
Michael's car or truck
Michael's wardrobe update 
Annie's wardrobe update
Dining room and living room window treatments
Living room furniturePiano (I want the boys to have piano lessons.)
Tummy tuck (aww year - don't hate)
Computer (something faster so that Michael can work from home more easily)
Landscaping for front yard
Dining room sitting area/desk

But then that got me to thinkin'.  (Uh-oh, there I go.)  

So we really value a simple lifestyle.  We don't like to accumulate stuff and are relatively comfortable in our 1,330 sq ft house built in 1955.  We don't feel the need to compete with the Jones (even though I'd be lying if I said we weren't tempted from time to time).  We don't over-schedule our lives or the lives of our kids.  We stick to our budget (to a fault sometimes), and we're pretty disciplined.

So here's the big but...BUT I'm worried that we will be sinking a ton of money into our house when we possibly should upgrade to a slightly bigger house.  I've always thought that the perfect sized house is between 2,200-2,500 sq ft.  It's big enough to have a big family and to entertain comfortably but small enough to not lose your kids in it and to not allow them to be autonomous from the family (and small enough to not spend all your time cleaning it).

I've also said, though, that I wouldn't want to have to redo everything in a new house to have my personal style all over again.  So that would mean that I should hold off on all of the above house projects on my list so that I could possibly spend that money on a new house instead of further investing in this house.

There are lots of pros and cons to both options, though, so it's not such an easy decision.  I think we'll hold off on any projects until we definitely decide what we want to do.  So we'll just be saving for a bigger house or for remodels.  Either way we're paying cash.  :)

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