For the first 6 years of my adult life (21 forward), I lived with roommates in apartments and rental houses paying 300-400 a month for my share in housing. Then at some point, I decided I needed to own a home and my housing expenses doubled. My husband and I bought one, we were both making good money at our jobs and I figured we could afford the place if one of us lost our jobs. Both of us lost our jobs.
I could go through all the things we did to try and save our house, we had two roommates, cut every imaginable expense. But when it came right down to it, we bought in good times expecting them to continue and for us to both continue working, the good times ended, we are in a great recession. And like many American’s today, we can’t keep our house.
When I was laid off again from the job that would have allowed us to modify our mortgage. I cried for a day. Then I let go of the house in my mind. A huge load was off. I stopped crying. I am sure it helps that so many others are doing it, that I know first hand others are doing it because I work in bankruptcy law, and that I know how because I work in that field. There are multiple options for letting go of an underwater house. I think the simplest in our area, is just giving the house back to the mortgage company.
I think my personal downsizing story is kinda sad, but I am writing about it to give people hope. One of our roommates was too broke to continue living with us and moved in with his girlfriend because both their hours were cut at work. However, our other roommate wanted to move with us. We found a cute rental duplex that was a bunch cheaper and still has plenty of room. Its closer to public transportation, the little downtown art community, and the library. I am returning to my pre-mortgage life of about $300-400 of housing expenses per person, and it is freeing my life up so much.
And good news folks, my boss that had to recently lay me off, found me a new job! I interviewed for it and a I start in January. It wouldn’t have been enough or in time to save my mortgage, but it will mean I can comfortably begin to regrow our emergency fund, and actually start saving for retirement.
Sometimes endings signal new beginnings. And this is definitely one of those times.