On Putting Money where My Heart Is

by littledodogirl

You were looking a father goofing around with his little girl on the swings!

Dear Lily,

Your father and I got ourselves into big debt but for a good cause (I think). I never had debt before in life (nothing significant anyway) not because I’m naturally spendthrift or anything but mostly because my mother was. Your grandmother’s aversion to anything debt or overspending rubbed on me, despite my spend-happy nature (more like your grandpa, my father). I like buying and I get a kick of purchasing new things, especially New new! Used things don’t give me the same kick.

So before baby (that’s you sweety!) I took money out of my account and saved it automatically before I had time to look at it. It fits my nature, basically spend spend spend until the bank account runs dry.

But now we wanted to have our own home, your childhood home, and we wanted it comfortable with some outdoor space. So we bought a place, a smallish Condo (around 86 m2 or 925 square feet) with a 15 m2 balcony plus an 80 m2 roof terrace. We have more outdoor space than indoor! For the money we spent, we could have bought a huge place outside the city but we went against the general attitude and decided to stay in the city mainly because:

  1. We will need no car, we can still walk to work.
  2. We will still be close to friends, parks, the zoo, all within walking distance
  3. Small place means less maintenance and less stuff.
  4. Part of me does not want you to grow up self-entitled. I want you to share a room with a sibling and earn the things you desire. You will probably both resent me and be grateful for that, at different times in your life.

And weirdly enough, I am excited about the debt. It has given me focus and goals for my life. I want this mortgage paid as quickly as humanly possible but I don’t want to feel deprived while we tackle it. Dilemmas are good. This particular one has me evaluating every aspect of my life and really questioning it’s worth. I’m just sitting here and thinking, where did I spend money and felt it was so worth it, and where did money go down the drain on things/experiences I don’t care for. Reflecting (but not dwelling) on the past to understand yourself is the lesson here. So here goes:

  • I love sharing meals with friends, more so at home or at the park more than at restaurants. I love cooking for them. I love going out for a coffee with a friend and just chatting. I enjoy long walks whether in the city or nature. I think generally I love being out and about.
  • Shopping is a dicey one. I absolutely hate having to shop for a particular thing but I do enjoy relaxed and aimless shopping strolls, as long as they are under an hour.
  • I love reading. I love a good story and I equally love a good idea.
  • I love going out with you. As soon as we are outside the home, I relax and my todo lists stop running in my head as an endless news ticker. I am able to just enjoy myself and your company.
  • I did not like all-inclusive vacations. I like hotels, but small family-run ones. I do not like those massive ones with hundreds of people staying there. I didn’t like eating from a buffet three meals every day. I love staying in smaller places where there is an element of the unknown, going on mini-adventures, long walks and trying out local restaurants off the beaten track (thank you Google! And thank you the people who review said resturants).
  • What I don’t do yet but I really want for it to become part of our family is giving to charity. I feel happy when I can give someone else something they need and I don’t. I suppose this happiness is part of our human nature and I want to feed it. This is on my Christmas to do list.

Keeping up with the restriction theme from a previous post, this restriction on our spending is bringing me closer to the ideal of putting money where my heart is.