This was something that seemed so unattainable a couple years before. But it happened. I found a two bedroom two bath condo. The place is large, with skylights, high ceilings, fireplace and an open concept living area. All my HGTV dreams came true. What was even more awesome was the fact that the appraiser knocked the price of the place down $20k and the inspector recommended that the HVAC be changed prior to sale saving me an additional $7K. I was the happiest person ever. I think this is the best decision that I ever made. It’s a beautiful home that I’m proud to call mine for a price I can afford. The total of the mortgage and condo fee combined is less than the average cost of rent for a decent place in the DC area. It has also been a major source of income. I host international students that come to the States from all over the world to learn English through a language program. I get to make friends I can go visit in other countries. The stipend I receive from this program pays almost all of my mortgage. I’m only left with a balance of $51 to cover. Again, best decision ever!!
I think I might only be able to maintain my discipline during the struggle. I have yet to learn how to maintain it when all is good and well. I was in the best position I have ever been in. And then I went crazy. I maxed out my credit card buying household items, a sectional, flat screen TV, expensive kitchenware, a bedroom set etc etc. I also hosted two housewarming parties back to back for 20+ people each time. Top shelf everything. And to make it worse, as if all this was not bad enough, I also booked a vacation! It was a great deal I found on Groupon and I thought I needed some R&R after everything I went through. You see what I mean about extra income and the feeling of wanting to spend it all? I felt like I relapsed into some sort of addiction. This was a lesson I didn’t learn the first time around and now it’s being repeated. I now have to dig myself out of this credit card debt I piled up and cannot move up my little pyramid of financial well being until I do so. All my fault. I have been making some progress on my credit card debt. I created an accelerated payment plan that will allow me to get back on track. If I can stick with it, I’ll be able to reel it in by early next year. But the point is that having gone what I had gone through, I should have understood the value of discipline and stayed the damn course. The opportunity cost of wasting this amount of money alone is immense. I could be saving money to buy a rental property with what I’m about to spend on this. >( I really need something to keep me on the course.
Lessons learned: Again, practice self control. Don’t celebrate excessively, rewarding yourself with things you can’t afford is like punishing yourself. Don’t try to make your home look like a model home for an HGTV show. The happiness you get from buying stuff does not last.
Do you have any pointers? What helped you stay disciplined when you had disposable income and free time? How do you stay the course?