Last year here on Making Sense of Cents, I talked a lot about us buying a new home. However, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we have not bought a new home yet. Some of you have even emailed me asking if something went wrong.
So, what gives? Why haven’t we bought a house yet even though the plan was for us to buy one in 2013?
Well, the thing is, we don’t know what we want to do. Do we want to stay here in St. Louis? Do we want to move to Memphis where W’s parents just moved? Do we find an entirely new place that has awesome weather and is beautiful?
Now that we are both location independent (because of the business), we can really live anywhere as long as we can afford it. We don’t have to feel stuck in any one area. We have a lot of options and a lot of things to think about, so we are trying to take our time and not rush the process.
There are many different factors that we are thinking about:
We have both lived in St. Louis for a very long time. I lived in Chicago for a little bit when I was younger (from the ages of around 8 to 13), but for the most part I have always been here in St. Louis.
Many people have asked me why I would even want to live in St. Louis. Well, I like it here! It’s affordable, there are outdoorsy things to do, all my friends are here, I grew up here, and it’s a great place to eventually raise a family.
However, I have lived in St. Louis for all of my adult life, and it sometimes makes me wonder if I am missing out by not moving somewhere else and trying something new.
I wish I could just pick up my friends and move them with me honestly! A recent article on Newlyweds on a Budget pretty much summed up what I’m afraid of – leaving my awesome friends and being lonely wherever we move to.
St. Louis is a cheap place to live. However, there are even cheaper places to live. We were looking at homes in Memphis, and the homes are incredibly cheap. They are a great value compared to what you can get in many other cities, including St. Louis.
I will say that I am not interested in moving to a place where housing is super expensive. Just can’t do it. I’m too cheap I like my low cost of living cities.
Hawaii would be amazing, but it’s expensive. If you are interested in Hawaii (many people are), I recommend that you read Budget and the Beach’s article The Cost of Living in Paradise, and also Young Adult Money’s article Why Living in Hawaii Sucks.
We’ve ruled Hawaii out of our list (it’s expensive and far away), but we are now thinking about Florida. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and there are many positives, but also many negatives that I found as well. If you live in Florida, tell me what you think about where you live!
W’s family moved to Memphis earlier this year, and we have been thinking about following them there. My sister is planning on moving to Chicago, and once that happens I won’t have any other family here in St. Louis. We will have W’s side of the family here still, but we still want to be closer to his parents and his younger siblings.
We have a lot of expenses coming up in the next few months (wedding, home repairs/renovations, travel, etc.), and because of that we are looking into new credit cards to apply for so that we can take advantage of better rewards and new bonuses.
It seems like using credit cards for a reward/bonus is becoming more and more popular. However, is it for everyone? I think there are advantages to using credit cards, but there are also disadvantages.
Side note: I also think that credit cards can be used responsibly. If you want to learn more about how to use credits cards responsibly, read my staff post on Credit Walk about How To Use Credit Cards Responsibly.
Positives of using credit cards:
Credit cards are not hard to use. All you have to do is pull it out of your wallet and the exact amount will be swiped. No need to look for change or carry any coins.
You also don’t have to worry about losing your credit card as much as losing cash (you still shouldn’t try to lose anything though). If you lose cash, then it’s pretty much just lost forever. However, if you lose your credit card then you are mostly protected as long as you report it right away.
You also have credit card protection. You can dispute a charge with your credit card company if the place where you bought something from won’t refund your money.
Using your credit card means that you can gain points and get things for free or cheap such as airplane tickets, gift cards, hotels, cash, etc., all for using your credit card. If you are going to pay for something anyways, then you might as well get something for free out of it, right?
Credit cards can be used to pay for many things – almost everything you can think of besides your mortgage. We have a lot of expenses coming up, and using credit cards can be a way to get something back in return.
We have around $10,000 in wedding costs that can all be put on our credit cards, a few thousand in expected travel, and probably a few thousand in home repairs/renovations. All of that adds up very quickly!
I like credit cards because I can easily track my transactions and see where my money has gone. With cash, I always find myself wondering what I spent all my money on.
Disadvantages of using credit cards:
Yup, I have this on both the advantages and disadvantages side of my debate. Credit cards may mean that you spend more because it’s there. It can be easy to get approved for a really high balance on a credit card.
Recently, I was approved for a high limit on a credit card – $30,000. I don’t even know why I was approved for such a high limit.
Can I afford $30,000 worth of credit card debt? NO! I don’t want that either. If someone who can’t control their credit card spending had a $30,000 limit, they might go crazy and buy everything.
Many people find themselves spending more in order to reach a bonus, such as if you have to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months in order to qualify for a bonus. If you weren’t normally going to spend $3,000, then the bonus is not worth it.
Not many places do this, but some companies do charge a fee if you want to use a credit card for purchases. The fee is usually around 4% or 5%, which then makes using a credit card almost always pointless (unless you have an amazing rewards program) because you won’t be earning the same amount in rewards back.
Also, some places will even give a discount on purchases if you use cash, so in these cases cash would most likely be best.
If you don’t use credit cards correctly, it can lead to it decreasing and possibly ruining your credit score. There are correct ways to use your credit card:
Hey everyone! I found the picture to the left the other day in a photo album.
My dad LOVED taking photos and I still remember when we would go to the store all the time to buy a new photo album for all of the pictures that he would get developed.
I didn’t really think about it when I was younger, but I’m so glad that he took the time to leave me all of these photo albums (our guest bedroom and living room are filled with albums – there are probably around 100 or more).
I found this picture of us on an airplane (flying planes was his other love) and I can’t stop looking at it. Love you and miss you always Dad!
Anyway, I hope everyone had a fun weekend. No, I did not watch the Super Bowl. I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t but I never watch it so that’s nothing new Today is also W’s birthday! Happy Birthday!
January was another great month. It started off slow business-wise, but the last two weeks were definitely good.
Now that it’s February, some of you might have already forgotten about your 2014 goals. Many people drop their goals within the first month. However, don’t be one of those people!
How did you do in January? What is your main goal for February?
What tips do you have to keep your goals?