June 03, 2012

$100 a Week - Motivation

I have always been a big believer in small steps that lead to bigger steps which lead to big achievements.  I learned this back in college some 35 years ago when it came to writing a term paper.  It looked overwhelming as a whole, but broken down into smaller steps made it attainable and easier to work through.  The same goes for finances.  $100 a week in one year is $5,200 and in three years it is $15,600 and in five years it is $26,000.  Why is this important?  Because it just is PERIOD.

In the past year I have had a feeling that we will need to sell our house prior to retirement.  Actually – before we hit 60.  (I am 53 and my husband is 54.)  Now, we have a hard time sometimes admitting to our age since my husband has run marathons and just yesterday he ran a half marathon and about 5 weeks ago he ran another half marathon.  I work out at Curves and I watch what I eat.  I also walk everywhere possible.  I tell you this because even though I am physically fit, I have terrible lower back pain and on occasion hip and knee pain.  This led to a discussion tonight that we have talked about casually off and on. 

Steep "farmhouse" style steps to the upstairs
We are going to sell our house in 3 to 5 years. 

Why?  For retirement and the long term I need to live in a one story house.  Also we want to downsize so that we have a house that is newer and easier to maintain.  We aren’t looking to build or buy new.  We would look at a house that had been built in the past 30 to 40 years.  In fact we are considering a two bedroom home if the bedrooms are big or a three bedroom ranch.  The house we live in now was built in 1892 and has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.   

We have a lot of work that needs to be done on our house and 3 to 5 years is very, very doable.  Our youngest will be out of college in 3 years and that would be the earliest that we would be able to move if we can get done in 3 years what we need to do.  Also if we are ready to sell in 3 years, we can take a year or so to find the right house. 

Whether we sell or not, this long list of updates must be done so I am making a list and we will be doing the majority of the work ourselves.  So we need to pace ourselves as to the work and we also need to pace ourselves in the way of resources to pay for the updates.  I am also going to be sensible about these improvements.  Putting granite countertops into our kitchen is not going to happen.  Laminate is perfectly fine for this house. 

So here I sit tonight making a list of what needs to be done, with the approximate cost and calendaring when or what year we will get this done.  I am sure we will be able to sell our home, unless the market is quite depressed, but in that case we have a home to live in and we can wait it out.  Hopefully by downsizing and going smaller we will be able to come out ahead or just even.

So now we have a new direction and a goal.  What am I looking to in the next house?  A kitchen that doesn’t have to be gigantic, but have a little more counter space and is laid out a little better.  We want a two car attached garage, 2 to 3 bedrooms and 1 ½ bathrooms.  My husband wants a screened in porch and if our new “home” doesn’t have one, we can add that later.  I want to keep with a retro theme so a small ranch built in the 1950’s that has been well maintained is not out of the question for us.
We aren’t looking for a huge “McMansion” house but something that just fits our needs. 

This leads me to a new direction and new goals for us over the next few years, namely how we spend our money. If we are planning to downsize, we don’t need to buy anymore stuff.  We need to direct money to home improvements.  Also, for the first time I am getting excited about a financial goal.  It is one thing to save money for an emergency, which is important, but another to get excited about saving money for something more tangible.

When we purchased our house 15 years ago the market was a Seller’s market and we purchased this home as it was frankly about the only one that we could afford and it met our needs.  So I now feel as if I am going to get the home that I really have always wanted – a simple, modest home on one level. 

Now as to the $100 a week that I started this post with, I am so glad that I started to do this as we will need this money for savings and for updates/improvements for the house. 

In upcoming posts, perhaps once a month, I will post about what projects we are working on and the cost of each project.  As I stated earlier, we will be doing as many of these projects as possible.  There will be a whole lot of sweat equity going on for sure.  


Debby said...

This past month my hubby and I too realize we won't be able to keep up our place in old age. Selling is going to be very hard as we have been here over 20 years and brought up our children in this home. Leaving my garden, flowers, trees and all the rest that I have worked on over the years....sigh.. I look forward to having your attitude in time. Financially we will be able to sell and pay cash for what we will need with $$ leftover, it's the heart part I am going to have to work on.

Martha said...


We have been in this house for 15 years. Our youngest was 4 years old when we moved in and the place does hold wonderful memories. The challenge of staying here into our retirement years is not realistic and we know it. It is hard, but I have at least 3 years to get used to it.


Maureen said...

Of course your home holds memories, but how exciting to think that in a few years time you will be ready to make more.
What you will have in the future is the home that your Grandchildren will remember visiting for the rest of their lives, so as long as you fill it with love and cuddles and baking, it will become a very special place.
How exciting Martha can't wait to hear all your plans.....

Dani said...

Reckon it's a realization we all come to at our age. Once the family has left home and we don't need the "extra" space, we start to consider what it is we REALLY need - and stairs aren't one of them LOL.

Once the kids leave home, it's almost seems as if it is now time for hubby and I to start anew - to start our own chapter - finally LOL Perfectly natural. Pity I didn't plan it like you did, and make provision for the finances for those improvements which are necessary after a family (and two businesses) have occupied the space :)

Juhli said...

You are so wise to make this decision when you have time to address preparing your home to sell and to find the home you want. We are a bit older and won't be moving until my hubby retires in 5 1/2 years because then we will relocate. I wish we were clear where we will move but we are very clear that it will be into a smaller one story living space.

Trish said...

We're also going through this thought process. We're planning to build a house (ourselves) in the next few years. I'm 50 and hubby is 51, and I'm trying to think of things that will make living here easier for our aging bodies. I hope to remain living in Honduras as long as possible.

One thing is that I'm planning is for most of my kitchen storage to be above waist level. I foresee that going down on my hands and knees to get items from the backs of low cupboards is not in my future! (and purchasing those lovely pull-out shelves isn't an option here) We're still drawing plans right now, but we tentatively have a wall of cupboards (with no counter, just cupboards) along one wall. I can still put large, seldom used items (like stock pots) down low, as long as they aren't in deep, but keep most things higher, where I can get to them easily.

Kimba the Mighty said...

I'm actually going to be selling a 3 bedroom ranch which even has grab-bars already in the bathroom.
...but you'll have to move to IL. ;D

Glad you're thinking ahead- better while you have time to find what you want and not rushing.
Good Luck!

Kimba the Mighty said...

I'm actually going to be selling a 3 bedroom ranch which even has grab-bars already in the bathroom.
...but you'll have to move to IL. ;D

Glad you're thinking ahead- better while you have time to find what you want and not rushing.
Good Luck!