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The Next Step

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It’s been exactly a week since we left my parents today and three days since I broke the news to the kids.  In exactly 7 weeks to the day, we must be out of our home.

My biggest fear in all of this was that I would make an unwise move both emotionally for the kids (like moving them away from their comfort area so unexpectedly,) logically (moving so far out that the time spent in the car commuting to activities would be counter to any savings,) or financially (committing to too much because of the rush, just to have the security.)  My friends continued to send me an overwhelming number of places that they thought would work for us…often times they were comic relief!

  1. Sending me a 3 bedroom, $500/month rental sounded great until you read the fine print that they were only renting a room for that amount.
  2. A beautiful piece of land, super cheap that had an existing building on the premises…it was a church and the land was zoned as a commercial property.

It was stressful and nerve racking, but some amazing things began to happen.

First, my kids immediately began to embrace what was coming.  They rested assured in my promises and began to share the news that we were moving.

Second, my heart full of anger and hurt opened. This curse was truly a blessing in disguise, immediately relieving me of my debt to my dad as the selling price for the home will surely before more than that total.  The weight of that debt was enormous emotionally. And I began to open myself to the possibilities of truly going anywhere after this promised year.

So as I started really evaluating what was to come I knew three things:

  1. I need less stress in my life.
  2. I need less financial obligations in my life.
  3. No matter where we go, we will be alright, the kids will be alright.

So as of an hour ago, I received the call.  We have been approved for a 2 bedroom apartment, literally just 3 miles away from our home.  They will take our big dogs. They are right next door to our favorite playground, across the street from some fun stores to visit and have a dog bark park across the street from our soon to be apartment home.

Not only will my monthly financial obligation drop by several hundred dollars every month between lower rent and less utilities, but because we are moving in the fall when fewer people move…we got a fabulous move in special.

This concludes today’s housing drama.  I hope I have been clear and attempted to be as forthright and transparent as I could without compromising my dad’s privacy.  I took my younger two to see our new apartment yesterday…they are ecstatic.  I think this new chapter in our lives with be a positive thing for us all.  The twins are very happy that if we have to move, at least we are moving somewhere that they can still walk to visit their neighborhood friends, not to mention, there’s a Gamestop within a stone’s there.  I know there will still be some emotional fall out for all of us.  It will be very hard to say goodbye to this home where our family was built, but I am certain that we are moving in the right direction for our financial freedom!  Thanks for your patience with me.

Debt update coming in the next couple of days….

 

Hope

Follow a single mom's journey to be DEBT FREE while managing this crazy life's conflicted choices with regards to kids, pets, homeschooling days and self-employment!
The sorrow and joys of this roller-coaster overwhelm her at times, but she is committed to this course.
Hope plans to dig out of debt using any resource possible including her small business EPOH, her blog and any other resource that comes to mind!

Latest posts by Hope (see all)


92 Comments

  • Reply Mysti |

    I am guessing 3 boys in bigger room, and you and daughter sharing the other?

    I am also guessing Dad knows his daughter and the only way to REALLY get you on a better path is to pull the rug out from underneath you. Sometimes it takes a major shake up to kick start things.

    • Reply Hope |

      You are probably right on the last part…a major shake up normally does me good as I operate at my best under high stress situations.

      • Reply emmi |

        Whatever your dad’s motivation (it’s really unwise to draw conclusions as a reader of your blog, even as tempted as I am) you will be better off independent of him, making your own decisions, for your own reasons.

        Strength to you. I think the apartment will be a good experience.

    • Reply Hope |

      Hi Gayla,
      We will. However, the children go to a homeschool co op two days a week for several hours, and with apartment being within eyesight of the largest playground in our area, we can school outside whenever the weather permits.
      Not to mention…there’s the library, Barnes and Nobles, Starbucks as locations we can work and homeschool. I know many of these concerns (not just yours) are because of our homeschooling, but homeschooling does not look like traditional schooling with children lined up at desks all being taught the same lesson.
      Sorry, not trying to preach, just share, I guess.

  • Reply Walnut |

    If you will all end up in a 2-bedroom apartment, I will also gently ask the question of if you have considered public school for the kids. It’ll be quite cozy with all of you there all day long.

    • Reply Hope |

      No, public school is not an option. But I will probably look to increase our time spent elsewhere for schooling. Last year we did 1 day a week at the public library…we will most likely increase that and include schooling at the playground we can walk too, the apartment clubhouse which is open and free to use during the school day and anywhere else that we can find.
      The joy of homeschool is in the flexibility of where and what you teach, not to mention how and when! This will be a great adventure for our family. And apartment living will give us many chances to learn lessons that otherwise would have been missed.
      The first lesson we will learn with this, is how to live with less. People do it every day, and find joy in it, we will too.

  • Reply Mary |

    Respectfully, this is a bad decision. Run to the phone, call your Dad and do whatever it takes to keep your house. Two bedrooms is not only too small but in terms of the larger picture, most apartments won’t take that many pets…if they do, it’s typically not an apartment in a great area or not in an apartment complex that you want your kids around. That’s just the reality and not related to you or anyone else. You can also find a lot of information out about an area by going on a website called, “homefacts.com” It tells you if there are sex offenders in the area, shows you a picture and tells you their offense. An apartment complex that is willing to approve 4 kids and 3 dogs in a 2 bedroom apartment does not speak well for the complex. Once you get in these leases, it’s really expensive to get out (read the fine print it’s several months rent to break the lease) so if you are in a bad apartment it can be hard to get out. I just purchased a townhome after years of renting where my new upstairs neighbor played drums or some acoustics all night (turns out the bass equipment was right over my bed) so he could sleep. It was horrible. And I lived in a luxury apartment complex on a golf course that was very quiet compared to others! I think there is a 3 day cancellation policy on most leases; take advantage of it. I am sure your Dad does not think this is a wise decision which is why he is not being flexible. Your Dad has made very good financial decisions from what you have relayed to us so far. I think in this case, he may be right.

    Hope, I really do want the best for you and your family. This just doesn’t seem wise. You have a modest house in a great neighborhood if I recall; I’d do anything to stay there. If you buckle down, you could pay your debt and get the house in your name by selling your vehicle. LIke I said earlier, meet with a mortgage banker and see if with your car sale and credit cards paid off, if you could qualify for a loan. I am really sorry I can’t be more supportive of your plan.

    • Reply Hope |

      Mary,
      I appreciate your perspective, I truly do. If I had to leave my younger kid unattended or have them get off a school bus or let them play outside unattended, I would be saying the same thing you are. But I don’t.
      I work from home. I have extremely flexible hours. I can work from the playground or library or car for that matter. I am ALWAYS with my kids.
      This apartment living will allow me to teach my kids lessons that would otherwise be missed, it will allow us, rather force us to live with less, be more accommodating of each other and others. (Unfortunately, we would probably be that neighbor living above you as we tend to be loud and night owls…)
      The car…it’s on the chopping block. This move is temporary, as soon as my home sells, I will be adamantly searching for a permanent home for us whether it be near or far.
      Deciding not to buy my house was not an easy decision, especially knowing my dad was at the other end, but I KNOW it’s the right one. And I’ve taken almost two years to make it, it was not rushed.
      I appreciate your perspective and your thoughts, I can see we are alot alike in what we value…please continue to be the devils advocate for me as I move forward with the plan I laid out, I am confident this temporary move will be good for us and that it is temporary!

  • Reply Connie |

    I have to agree with Mary. You would be better off with a cheaper car and staying where you’re at. If you’re feeling stifled having given up your dining room/office, how are you going to feel with 2 BR, not 3? Meet with a banker, sell your land yacht, make your dad happy, save the money a move will cost, keep your kids stable. Really think about all this again. I think your emotions are running this show instead of your thinking process.

    • Reply Hope |

      The car is still going. This move is temporary…just to give the kids the school year here and to give me time to search for the best possible place size and money wise for us permanently. I am not tied by work.
      As soon as my house sells that search will start. And with paying significantly less on a monthly basis…well, my debt load should decrease by leaps and bounds. I am determined and motivated like never before!

      • Reply emmi |

        I think if you share the experience as a family and add on a treat or two that will still make your numbers work because expenses have dropped so far, I expect your kids will be happy they can help out by supporting the move.

  • Reply TPol |

    Hope, I pray for you and your kids. I do not think this is a good decision. I agree with what Mary said above. You may be relieved for now but it will be a very cramped space for all of you. I think you are rushing to a decision which you may regret big time but that is what I think. May be you should get a 3-4 bedroom place and may be you should really sell that car and get something smaller which will still meet your needs. I know you have more kids in mind but, once your debt is paid off you can always get a newer and bigger car. Wish you the best of luck.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, TPol. The car is still on the chopping block. And this move is only temporary. As soon as my home sells, I will begin searching with urgency for our permanent home whether it’s near or far only God knows at this point.
      You are right, it is rushed, that was not my choice…my plan was to have until the spring to make a permanent move. Since that choice was taken out of my hands I must make the best with what I’ve got and I’m confident that this will be a good step toward a more stable financial future for us.

      • Reply TPol |

        After reading your replies to other commenters, I now think you can manage the situation with work and home schooling for the school year. The library and the clubhouse seem to be great options. Having a background in Contract Management, please do read the early termination clauses of your contract and try to negotiate that if you need to. Wish you the best of luck…

        • Reply Hope |

          Thank you, TPol… that is a great suggestion. I will definitely review it carefully when I go sign the paperwork next week.

      • Reply Mysti |

        I am still confused. Since the house is not yours legally….why does it matter if or when it sells? Is Dad still making you pay the mortgage if you aren’t living there? Or is this the money you owe Dad?

        I understand a need for a temp move if you are trying to clean up debt prior to purchasing a home. ..but I am not following how the house you live in now is a factor.

        • Reply Hope |

          Mysti,
          Assuming the house sells for a decent price which is should based on comparables and condition, I will receive monies from the sale towards my new place (monies I’ve put in over the years we’ve lived here.) Of course, the monies owed to my dad will be taken from that, but I am anticipating a decent if not abundant return to make a permanent move possible by the end of my apartment lease if we live frugally and look in more cost efficient areas. Make sense?
          The temp move being that it going to be several hundred dollars cheaper per month will not only allow me to pay off my debt more quickly, especially if I stay really tight. Needless to say this move is a highly motivating situation.

          • Mysti |

            I hope you have all of this in writing. You are assuming that if you put 10,000 in you will get it back. Dad may feel since it was his credit on the line that he should get the profit.

          • Hope |

            There are no words to answer this. I’ll say this…1) I’ve definitively learned my lesson about family and money which I hope I will abide wisely by as my own children get older; and 2) Whatever monies I will receive I will count as a blessing, not my due, both for my sanity sake and because I KNOW that without my dad helping us into this house four years ago, my life would be very different then what it is today.

  • Reply SAK |

    Good for you. Sounds like it will be a tight year (literally) but will give you breathing room to decide where to move that meets your family’s needs.

    • Reply Hope |

      SAK,
      Exactly my thoughts. Although my dad rejected my plan for the year to evaluate a permanent move, this apartment has bought me the time I need to process, evaluate and find the right long term home for us, and gives the kids a chance to remain in their comfort zone and time to prepare for what could possibly be a big move.
      Thank you for understanding.

  • Reply Joe |

    Hope,
    I can appreciate the learning to live with less as being a worthy endeavor. I am also of the mind that kids will adapt to whatever situation so I’m not so concerned with the space issue.

    I do agree with the above that you should consider switching to public school, even if its just for a year. If not this year, then next. I have nothing against homeschooling (although having gone through public schools myself I’m a strong supporter of the public school system), but this would exactly be in the same vein as the sentiments you describe in your post of “trying something new, learning lessons that would be missed otherwise”. I obviously am not familiar with your school district, but even if it really is “a bunch of kids at desks learning the same lesson” (which somehow I think is vastly oversimplifying things), at worst it gives your kids (and yourself) a different perspective and you can supplement any deficiencies at home.

    The positive side is that I feel like this could immensely help your situation, from a stress perspective. You’ve expressed how overstretched you feel constantly at various times in the last few months. I personally feel you’re doing an incredible job under the circumstances, but sometimes you just need to make things easier for yourself.

    Just an ‘out of the box’ suggestion to consider.

    • Reply Hope |

      Joe,
      I appreciate your sentiment, but on the homeschooling vs public schooling option I am just going to have to respectfully disagree.
      I’ve responded to a few of the homeschool comments that I believe sum up my choice about it, and I certainly appreciate the sentiment, but I know that homeschooling is the right decision for my children.
      I think overall apartment living is going to make my life abundantly easier in and of itself…no weeding for a year, no grass to cut for a year, no garage to clean out for a year, no house maintenance work/cost for a year. I think this will be a nice break. And with all that time I am going to have I can do science experiments with my kids, read books to them, put together puzzles, play card games, see if we can grow a potted garden.
      Ok, I’m sure you see my point. My kids go to classes almost every day whether it be at our local homeschool coop or their varied activities. I am very content that homeschooling is the right decision.

  • Reply Zebbie |

    It sounds like the apartment is in an ideal location, and using the apartment clubhouse is perfect! You are going to have a heck of a garage sale in the next few weeks.
    Your kids are lucky to have you.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Zebbie…you are right. This will be my garage sale to end all garage sales…and I HATE having a garage sales, but this time it will be necessary.

  • Reply Morgan |

    I had no idea that you had so many pets. I can’t help but feel that being a pet owner is irresponsible at this point in your financial life. I know you value the life lessons that your kids get from various situations, and perhaps this is another opportunity for that. Pets are a luxury, a want, not a need. Do you have a family friend that provide a more suitable environment for them?

    • Reply Kerry |

      I disagree with you, because pets are also a commitment. However, 5 people, three large dogs and a cat in a two bedroom apartment is INSANE.

    • Reply Hope |

      Hi Morgan,
      So many pets in such a small place is going to be, well, interesting to stay the least. But these animals are just as much a part of our family as anything else could be. And they bring such joy and comfort to my kiddos.
      I will say that I have explored the option of fostering our cat elsewhere for the year, but nothing has been decided yet. It breaks my heart to even think about it, but I am possibly open to that.
      And just as a side note, our pets don’t cost us more than $35 per month in food and provide endless hours of exercise, entertainment and snuggles. For less than the cost of a gym, I/we get most all the benefits…okay, I know you don’t snuggle at a gym, but you get my point.

    • Reply Christi |

      We have three large dogs, and it wouldn’t matter how big our home was they all like to be in the same room as their people anyway!

      • Reply Morgan |

        Different strokes I suppose. I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving an animal the same standing as a child or spouse.

  • Reply Katie Elder |

    Hi Hope! I am a fan from afar and almost never comment. I will say this: we are a family of 5 and a dog, we live in a 850 sq feet apartment and we homeschool. More importantly our family is full of love and joy! The stress that not owning a home relieves us of is amazing and although our complex has issues and the people here are more “interesting” than I would choose sometimes I wouldn’t trade the experiences we have gained. You are going to be fine! I will suggest getting rid of everything you possibly can 🙂 but otherwise I know you are going to gain so much from this experience!

    • Reply Hope |

      Katie….right on! I bought a pack of multi colored post it notes and am going through each room with 3 colors….
      Green – goes to the apartment
      Pink – goes to storage
      Orange – goes away
      Starting now so I have a couple of weeks to evaluate before we start moving stuff. But I for one and definitely looking forward to less “stuff.”
      Thanks for the encouragement!

        • Reply Hope |

          Yes, I can. I am working on that now…so will definitely do some downsizing posts including sales/donations and storage.
          Thanks for asking.

      • Reply Juhli |

        Can you get a friend to provide free storage in their basement or somewhere? That would also help your budget tremendously.

        • Reply Hope |

          I’ve thought of that, but don’t know of any one that really has room especially for that long of time. But keeping my options open at this point.

          • Walnut |

            Perhaps you’ll get to the end of your ‘storage unit’ pile and determine there isn’t as much there as you need. At that point, it’s worth selling things off and then re-purchasing when you’re ready in a few years.

  • Reply Financial Fan |

    I do hope this apt.will be very temporary! As a child, our family of eight lived in a 2-bedroom, one-bath flat for nine years before my parents bought their first home. My parents took the living room as their bedroom (it fortunately had pocket doors for privacy), the dining room became the living room, and the two bedrooms were for us six kids–three girls in one and three boys in the other. We were all young–no teens yet, so it worked quite well. But it was crowded, and we didn’t even have pets. Hope, I fear that reality will set in! (Although, when I lived in Germany and Poland, I saw many families living like this.) Order will be of the utmost importance! I wish you luck, and I hope it will be a fond adventure you to look back on.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, FF!
      I appreciate the sentiment, and as much as I love wide open spaces I am certain after a year and probably earlier I will start to get a bit claustrophobic. I am committed to the year limit for the apartment.
      I too hope that this experience will be a positive one for all of us, learning lots of lessons, bringing us closer and moving us forward more rapidly on this journey to be debt free.

  • Reply Alexandria |

    Whew, I am exhausted just reading everything. I think it’s for the best you had some time to process and make decisions before you had to share with this opinionated bunch. (While advice is often very helpful, I think the mix of opinions would make my head spin!).

    I think this sounds like a wonderful change. In Part 3 or Part 4 I thought that “staying put for one year for the kids” was maybe more stress than it would be worth. But, as I read through the whole thing, I do think it sounds great to just take a year to regroup. I didn’t read any of this as a permanent change. But letting go of the financial stress of the house and the family strain resulting from that sounds like a great decision, to me. AND, taking a year to regroup and come up with a long-term plan sounds very good. Anything else is just going to be a rash decision at this point. Just remember that none of these changes are permanent. The apartment sucks? So move on then. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Kind of how I feel about it.

    It sucks to have such short notice. But, I do think it really sounds for the best. Take care – I think you will be very very busy!

  • Reply manda |

    I have just 2 humans in my home, but it can tell you that whether I lived in my 1 bedroom condo or a 5 bedroom house, all three of my pets (big dog, 2 cats) would be in the bathroom with me when I shower or brush my teeth and would be in the kitchen with me when I cook. You can do this. Go get ’em!

    • Reply Hope |

      Ha, Manda! You know the joy and trials (tripping over the dog laying at your feet every time you turn around) of pet ownership. I agree that losing our animals would be devastating to us all emotionally and on a month to month basis are not cost prohibitive by any means.
      Thanks for your support!

  • Reply revdrnd |

    Hope,
    Thank you for sticking to your convictions regarding homeschooling. It sounds like your next few weeks will be busy moving, but I am glad that you have some closure to what is happening with your house. Having closure definitely helped my stress levels reduce when I was struggling to get out of debt. I also think that with the elephant (or house) out of the room when you are with your family, relationships should begin to be better. You will be cozy in a two bedroom apartment, but you will grow as a family. I am glad you see the extra costs of being a homeowner and the savings and time you will gain by not having to care for a yard, repair things that break, and so forth. I have a great sense that all is going to work out well for you.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, revdrnd!
      I think this will be a positive move for us too on so many levels. I alsoI know that all of my children will catch whatever I’m feeling very quickly so by focusing on the positive elements and possibilities this experience can be quickly turned from a trial/curse to an adventure/blessing.
      Now to get down to the business of moving!

  • Reply Therese |

    A hundred years ago the average family was five people and the average home size was 600 square feet. It just means for the time being you will have a little less stuff and a lot of togetherness. I’m sure you guys will be fine. Hopefully in the near future you will have your house, but wherever you are together will always be home.

    • Reply Hope |

      Therese, I did not know those statistics, but I do know that lots of families get by with WAY less, and that we are making this choice eyes wide open and it is a CHOICE for us. I think those two things alone make a difference.
      I appreciate your understanding and share your sentiment that as long as we are together we will be home wherever and however that may be!

  • Reply Jen |

    Great job Hope! I feel a very strong kinship with you on many levels. We come from different backgrounds, but our lives have followed a similar trajectory. I will tell you from experience, this will work and can be a great stepping stone in your debt repayment intensity and for your life in general.

    When I divorced my husband, I moved from a 2000 sf two story into a 360 sq ft 1 bedroom with my two kids and a dog. They shared the room with me and we had a fantastic time during the year and a half that we lived there. It was such a lovely place to regroup and being a rental it gave me the freedom to leave when the time was right. I was able to successfully right my financial ship and open my heart for the wonderful events to come. You can do this and I know you will all be just fine. You are blessed to have the fantastic children you do and I commend you on your ambitions. Congratulations on making the “curse” into a blessing!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Jen!
      I’ve certainly found that until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes understanding their logic can be challenging, I appreciate having that common ground and understanding, the encouragement means that much more when someone’s been down the path you are taking.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply Adam |

    Hey Hope,
    There are larger families who live in smaller places. The 2-br may be tight but I think you will be fine if it’s temporary. You’re right that it will force discipline on your lifestyle. It’s not how a lot of people live so I can see why some people might bristle but I think your family is pretty unique.

    That said, I am confused on your plan for the house. Your dad owns the house. Why do you get any of the proceeds from the sale? Is it because you’ve invested in the upkeep of the house over the years? Or are you a joint owner in some way?

    As other readers have said, a contract in writing is best but often unrealistic in these situations. Do you have a verbal agreement or some understanding with your dad on the proceeds? Or are you hoping he will see it the same way you do and split it with you fairly?

    Your plan seems clear enough that I would guess you have this worked out with him already, but I am seeing some uncertainty in your comments…

    • Reply Hope |

      Hi Adam,
      Thanks for understanding the choice to go smaller for now.
      I’ve not done a good job of explaining the house. But in the end, my dad did not purchase the house as an investment, he did it solely for me and the kids. With that being said, after the monies he put in and the later loan to me paid back, he will give me the remaining monies from the sale, essentially the money I’ve put in over the last four years accounting for upgrades I have made to the house, etc. Does that help?
      Again, any money received will be a blessing…not my due as the house purchase was from his heart.

      • Reply adam |

        Much clearer now, and you might have explained this at some point in the past – forgive me that I can’t remember if you have.

        So he purchased this house with the idea that it was always “your house,” and that you would buy it from him when your situation warranted it, so even though the mortgage is in his name, you’ve essentially been paying it as if it’s your house, and so any proceeds, less what he put in and what you owe him separately, are sort of yours too, in your mutually agreed understanding. Your house, your upgrades, your investment, just the loan taken in his name.

        If that’s your understanding, I hope he chooses to follow through. Reading between the lines, and totally speculating, but I get the impression he is a man who values fairness and justice. So if you had an agreement, I imagine he will follow through, even if the “just” result is that he could keep all the proceeds from his investment. Also he loves his daughter.

        It is totally right of you to see it as a blessing and a gift as opposed to something due you. That attitude will take you a long way in life.

        Makes sense now. Financial theories don’t really explain family dynamics.

        Thanks for taking the time to explain. You have been super commenter on this series. Glad to have you back.

        • Reply Alexandra |

          I’ve been a little unclear on this too, so I appreciate the clarification! I also agree with Adam regarding your attitude toward the proceeds you’ll receive. Good for you. Love that you are treating this as an adventure with your kids as opposed to facing the changes with a “woe is me” attitude.

  • Reply Tania |

    When we first came to the US, there was 7 of us and we lived in one (1) rented room for a year before we moved to a 2br 1b house. Mother, dad, 5 children from ages 9 to 18. We eventually added a dog. It wasn’t a catastrophe. Crowded? Sure. But we didn’t mind it and we learned to live with each other. Before everyone was scattered to the wind, we moved to a 4br house 2b house, and it was quite an expensive improvement. It can be done. So best of luck on the new journey. Not all choices will appeal to the public, so do take all comments with a grain of salt; only you know the full details of what’s going on.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Tania, for your encouragement. I am convinced it can be done and will be a positive experience for us on so many fronts.

  • Reply Christi |

    How are you going to fit four kids into a two bedroom apartment? In our area, that is not even legal. You can only have two people per bedroom living in a residence.

    I would drive through the complex at different times of the day and night to get a real feel for what you are getting into, and sign the shortest lease allowable so that if it doesn’t fit your family, you can get out of it easily.

    • Reply Hope |

      Christi,
      We live in a relatively small town especially if you removed the college and tourists and this apartment complex is in the residents side of town rather than the touristy side. I am EXTREMELY familiar with the area as we have frequented the playground that is next door to it for YEARS! I appreciate your concern and have certainly taken the condition, location and security into account when making this selection.

    • Reply hannah |

      Not legal to have more than 2 people to a bedroom? That’s wrong, and dumb. I can see it if they are adults crashing into someone else’s house, but it is certainly illogical from a family perspective.
      Someone could easily have a 8 y/o, 6 yo and 4 y/o of the same sex, and the new baby in the parent’s room. A pretty normal scenario and it would be absurd to say they have to buy a three bedroom now just because of a dumb law like that!

  • Reply ECD |

    First off, Hope I applaud you for making these tough decisions for your family. I know that you will be in a much better place (financially, emotionally, …) after this next year is up.

    I’ve read through all of the other comments and Hope you responded gracefully to each. One common theme kept popping up – the ‘need’ for more space. Space itself is a luxury – its expensive to rent/buy, its expensive to fill (furniture, decor, etc.), expensive to heat/cool, time consuming to clean, etc. There are so many advantages to downsizing. It will bring you closer as a family – yes there will be challenges, but you’ll make it through. It will encourage you to enjoy your surroundings more to get out of the cramped space. You’ll have an abundance of space outside of your apartment to live in! The small space will limit your purchases since there’s no where to store extra stuff. You’ll become more creative as you find multiple uses for items you thought only had one. I could go on and on.

    I think the decision to downsize is excellent. It will give you much more than just some extra money at the end of every month. I recommend you look into minimalist blogs – they’ll have a lot of tips/tricks that will help you prepare for this life change!

    • Reply Hope |

      ECD…minimalist blogs, now that’s the information I needed, thanks for sharing! I am already evaluating each existing piece of furniture not just for size but also for dual functionality…like a dresser as the TV stand in the living room and instead of side tables take the filing cabinets, etc.
      So again, thanks for the recommendation!

      • Reply Walnut |

        Blonde on a Budget just did a series on minimizing all of the stuff in her life. You might enjoy the read.

      • Reply hannah |

        This is an expense you probably don’t want at the moment, but the best thing you can do in an apartment is hang the TV on a wall ( if it’s a flat screen). You have so much space freed up without having a TV stand!
        We hang our TV on the wall, and then run the cords/cables along the wall and behind the couch to where the sound system/xbox/etc is stored. We also contemplated building a shelf over the doorway to put the electronics on so they’re out of the way.
        Hey it may look ugly-ish but in small space you have to get creative!

  • Reply Ashley |

    Whoa – hardcore! I definitely thought “2 bedroom” was a typo, also! I am sure the next year will be full of sacrifice, but it helps to know that this is a short-term (not permanent) situation and it certainly serves a valiant purpose (get out of debt asap!!) This is a serious inspiration of learning to give up all excess and focus on what really matters (family!) because, at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. Also – great attitude looking at this as a blessing in disguise. It will be tough, no doubt, but I can’t wait to see the progress it allows you to make on smashing your debt! It will be incredible to watch and cheer you on from the sidelines! : )

    • Reply Ashley |

      PS: I can’t help but to read between the lines….not sure if you want to say, but are you hinting at moving to a whole new state (next year)? You’d talked about being relatively alone in your current location….might you be considering moving closer to family??? Sorry if this is prying! Like I said, I couldn’t help but to read between the lines and I’m curious/nosy! ; )

    • Reply Hope |

      Ashley,
      Thanks for the encouragement! There’s probably alot being said “in between the lines” 🙂
      But in all honesty I have absolutely no idea where we will go in a year. I’ve always said I would never move the kids away from here, but I’m definitely trying to open myself to any opportunity…looking for cheap and big and close enough for the kids activities (gymnastics team, etc.)
      So only time will tell what happens next. Once this house sells…well then the search and thoughts will start in earnest.

  • Reply Andrea |

    As a fellow homeschooler – I agree that going to public school at this point is a bad idea for all the reasons you already know. And, just think how fast the past year has gone. This year will do the same!

    I know you want to buy a home so you can help more children, but keep an open mind as you go through this year of rental. You might find its the right choice for you for a while longer.

    We have lived in many different sized homes, and no matter what the age/stage/pet count, etc., we are usually all in the same room anyway. My husband jokes we should just move into a gym so we’d have one large room to share.

    • Reply Hope |

      Andrea,
      That last statement resonated SO much with me…an open gym with two bathrooms and a kitchen and we would be totally set!! Great minds!

  • Reply SB |

    Are you going to have to budget money for a storage locker with the move? I’m assuming it would offset some of savings from the less rent.

    If the children are home schooled, how does the school year and activities play into the location? I guess without knowing how home schooling works I don’t understand how moving the kids now to somewhere else (i.e., out of state or to another city) would matter now or after the school year ends. Is it just to give the kids more time to adjust?

    • Reply Hope |

      SB,
      We belong to a homeschool co op that the kids take a variety of “school” classes at such as art and drama, etc. Then they are involved in a variety of competitive teams: gymnastics, robotics team, basketball, etc. You get the point. This year will give them and me time to wrap our heads around leaving this area IF that is what works out to be the best fit. I am completely open in where we go….so only time will tell!
      As far as storage, yes we will need one, I am exploring those options now and will report back.

  • Reply Kay |

    I don’t rememeber if you said you pay the mortgage on this property or not, but if you do who will pay it once you move out? Is it a guarantee that the house will sell for enough to cover closing costs and what you owe your dad? I hate to be negative but I have seen situations were people think their house will sell fast and/or at a good price and then a couple months later they have to drop the price of the house as they misjudged the market.
    I think moving out is the best idea a simply from a family relations aspect if nothing else.

    • Reply Hope |

      Kay,
      Yes, I do pay the mortgage…I pay EVERYTHING to do with the house…HOA fees, taxes, insurance (and renter’s insurance.) No, my dad is going to take over those costs when I move out. That was one of our points of contention as I wanted to live here while we got it ready to sell, so the costs would be covered by me. He wanted to do it more quickly and didn’t feel that could be done with us living here, and he’s probably right about that. SO he will take over costs when I move out and deduct that from the cost of the sale.
      His money will be returned to him first with the sale of the home, any monies outside of that, he has agreed to return to me as I have paid everything for the last four years plus made improvements.
      Hope this clears things up a bit.

      • Reply emmi |

        Just FYI, the legal concept you are alluding to is “sweat equity” in case you need to research it. Hopefully not.

  • Reply adam |

    One more thing I thought – sounds like you loved the apartment you found, but if you haven’t paid them anything yet, you do have some time you could keep looking if there’s any part of you that is unsure about it. Last minute deals do pop up at the end of the month sometimes. It all depends on the renter’s market in your area. Sometimes you have to sign and commit way in advance if you find anything that fits, other times you have more flexibility.

    Also I bet you’ll use the clubhouse constantly.

    • Reply Hope |

      You are right, Adam, I do love it. The kids loved it when I took them back to see it too. And a deciding factor on this complex is that they will take our big dogs which most of them won’t! Not to mention the location is perfect for the least amount of disruption!
      And yes, I too think we will be schooling outside of the apartment pretty often!

  • Reply teresa |

    I have become obsessed with the show Small House Nation so a 2 br apt is huge compared to these homes. Just remember that in most countries it would be considered a huge waste to have so much space for 5 people. As you prepare to move only keep what you absolutely love and use often, and that it’s all just “stuff”, it won’t get offended if you get rid of it! I agree with you that attitude is everything and your kids will “catch” whatever one you have. Good luck!

  • Reply Jackie |

    You’ll do great. Many have lived with a lot less. These days people have way too much stuff! Most of it’s not needed. It’ll be an adjustment for sure. I hear you on the big dog and renting. We lucked out that we found one that would take our dog, Mox. He is a 130 pounds. We also have 3 cats, 1 guinea pig and 1 parrot in a huge cage. I’m glad your sticking with homeschooling too. I’m not impressed with public schools at all and we live in a nice area. Kids just don’t get the individual attention that some need. Good luck!

  • Reply Jocelyn |

    One book I love that helps me purge stuff is “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh. If you can get it at your library, you might want to check it out!

  • Reply Allison |

    I think you’ve made a great decision to simplify your life. I think some might not be able to relate, but if you are a single mom it makes total sense! It’s also a temporary thing to get u back on your feet financially. I’m considering doing the same thing. It’s scary and will take work, but I see the end result that u do! One year will fly by and I bet u will be in such a better place! Good luck and I hope u continue blogging here thru all these changes!

  • Reply Anonymous |

    Do you have to sign a year lease? Just six months? Hope, I predict that this apt. situation will not succeed. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. Where will you do your work? Will you have a dedicated work space that is somewhat quiet?

    Also, I was curious about something that I have not seen addressed. Do you receive any kind of subsidy for the twins since they were probably considered a hard-to-place adoption? Or are subsidies just for a foster care situation? Does your ex regularly help with child support for the two younger children?

  • Reply Anon |

    Do you receive chld support? If so, how much? Does your ex know that you are planning on living in a 2 bedroom apartment? How does he feel about that? Does he think that his kids should be living in a 2 bedroom apartment?

  • Reply hannah |

    Wow some big changes lately!
    I think the 2 bedroom is totally do-able, many families have lived in small spaces forever and done just fine.
    In my opinion the most important rule will be keeping STUFF eliminated. We have lived in some small spaces, and the only thing that makes it feel cramped is stuff. Stuff overflowing closets, filling walkways, stacked to the ceiling etc. Once you make an effort to eliminate ruthlessly, you have so much space and can Breath!
    Get the kids in on the ruthless clutter elimination and let them learn the joys of a simple, clutter free existence.
    I think you guys will have some struggles adjusting to a definitely more cramped space. But so long as you all remember to take a breath, calm down and not lose it on each other, you will come out the better as a family for it.
    The only thing I worry about is three big dogs crashing around a small apartment….. lol.

So, what do you think ?