My Week Is an Example of Why Renting is NOT “Just Throwing Money Away.”
One of the things that annoyed me was that earlier on in our marriage, several well meaning people asked us when we were going to buy a house. They either had no clue of our six-figures-in-student-loans, or they were being nice, or whatever. Anyways, the question usually came with the whole, “renting is just throwing money away” thing. Honestly, I had never really considered this true before, and for a few reasons that you may want to consider.
- Flexibility. Not renewing a lease (or even finding a sublease) is a heck of a lot easier than trying to sell a house. A house is something that truly ties you to a location. Look what happened a few years ago. Most people were not in a position to sell their home.
- The main reason I decided to write this post….unexpected costs. A lot of older (in my observation) people seem to be pushing the house thing more than our peers. Perhaps that is because they are also out of touch with the reality of student loans, but again finances come into play. It’s imperative to have a decent emergency fund in place. We had (keyword!) about 4 months of all expenses, and that’s a little on the LOW side. Just this week the following things happened…
- Our riding lawn mower died (yea, this one we were looking at came with the price tag of $1500)
- Our AC died. And actually, we still don’t know how much this is going to cost. Unlikely to be more than 4 months expenses at least.
- We got water leaking through a light fixture in our downstairs. Emergency plumber visit (because of course this happened at night) and some minor repairs? $300.
You guys, do that mental math. Let’s make up the number of $1000 for the AC repair. Who knows, it could be way more or way less. So lets just put it at $1000. Add that to the other two things, and you’ve got a total of $2800 in costs. Um….that was more than three months rent in our old duplex. Yes, it was much smaller and older, but that’s a lot of money! In ONE week. Now, I love our house, but I would never advise someone to buy a house without asking several questions to get a better grip on your financial state.
And even if you are financially okay…is owning a house REALLY better? If you ask me right now, the answer is still yes. If you had asked me this 16 months ago, my answer would’ve been hell no. Not just no, hell no. Because renting for us was a form of financial security. We did not have the extra money to repair a roof, or an AC unit, or whatever. We were paying off student loans and living on less than 25% of our take home pay. A mortgage would’ve taken away that progress AND our financial security AND freedom to move.
Really, this post is more of a rant because in addition to what I’ve mentioned, I’ve also had health issues (which I’ll likely share after I see a specialist and hopefully get some sort of an idea what’s actually going on), and our puppy ran away tonight. Yes, he’s safe at home or I wouldn’t be writing this. But that happened about an hour after the emergency plumber left. So it’s really just been a whirlwind of the word I really can’t stand, “adulting.” We have adulted a lot this week, and I’m really ready to relax now 🙂
If you got through this, thanks. Feel free to vent to me below too. Solidarity.
Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd, Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)