It's been almost two months since our move from the two-bedroom house to the one-bedroom apartment. Now that we're here, I can't believe I stuck it out for so long - eighteen months! - in that money-pit. To be nice, it was a lovely house, and I really liked it, but I can't say it was the most enjoyable experience living there.
It was 100 times better than the apartment we rented previously. I can't even go into how horrible that was. The house was clean, self-contained, and the rent was quite cheap ($900 a month). We moved in there in September 2007 and the landlord installed a brand-new high-efficiency furnace in October. Still, the heating costs were high, and I can't even imagine how much previous tenants were paying with the old heating system. As well, there was a monthly hydro bill, which was never under $100, even in the summer. I think it was high because I was using the dryer all year round, having never bothered to install a clothing line across the backyard.
As I was on my own with Bean, I really needed a lot of help keeping the place livable. The clothing line is just one example. The neighbours on either side of us seemed to enjoy watching me mow the 200 foot back yard, even though I was in obvious agony because my arms were too short to pull the engine cord, and the grass was so thick that the mower would conk out every five minutes. I was rarely offered any assistance, and ended up visiting the chiropractor weekly with a back injury.
Similarly, last winter was the worst for snow, and I was out there almost every day shovelling The Longest Driveway Ever. One day I thought I was going to pass out from exertion, but I had to keep going and get Bean into the car and up to daycare, and myself up to work. The neighbours came to help shovel a couple of times, but for the most part were content to sit on the porch, smoking and chuckling at my pain and bad temper.
So far, the apartment is great. It really is. It's quiet and very warm and very bright. Bean is happy to share a bed with Mama again, and enjoys having the living room as his toy domain. Every thing is in working order, and if anything breaks, I just have to put in a notice with the property management and it is supposed to get fixed right away. No more lawn care or snow shoveling for me.
The best part is how much money I have saved in the past couple of months. I have a savings account AND I am chipping away at the debt. Payday is like christmas morning every single month, because I have so much more leftover without having to give it all to utilities companies each month. At this rate, my consumer debt will be paid off in less than two years, and then I can begin tackling my student loan. If I qualify for DRR, I can instead start aggressively saving up for a property of my own.
Not looking forward to snow and lawn care though. I'll have to have someone come around to help out, or maybe a I'll have a tenant!