Lijit Ad Wijit

Monday, June 21, 2010

Musical Chairs, Houses, Cars...

Does life always feel like its in transition for everyone else? Maybe my life always seems transitional because I married a visionary of a man :) Ben is always dreaming big dreams and then I come in scrutinizing the details and plan of action. It's really quite a nice balance.

What's so transitional these days? Well, we've rented and moved out of our Yacht Cove condo. We're living with Josh & Melissa. We'll be moving into our Friarsgate house sometime in July. We bought a new (to us) truck for our family. We almost sold Helga (but didn't). And now we're going to sell Fonda (that's our 2005 Honda Civic). And, oh yeah, we're transitioning from "just us" to "us + a baby."

During these transitions, would you like to know the most important lesson I've learned? Assumptions are misleading. We've seen this play out in almost every area of our lives - finances, emotional expectations, and starting a family.
  • Example #1: Renting out our 2 bedroom/2.5 bath condo would be difficult. Not true! It was rented FOUR days after listing it.
  • Example #2: There's no way we can live on less than what we're making. Try again! Last summer we lived on 50% or less of the budget we originally had when we married. (Thank you, Lord!)
  • Example #3: Being a two-car family is a necessity.
Let's talk about #3. I grew up with two parents who both worked full-time jobs. My mom's job almost always required a 45 minute commute (at least). My dad needed to be mobile throughout the day for various meetings, counseling sessions, and congregational member visits. Plus, someone needed to be home when my sister and I came home from school. So it's easy to see why two cars were a necessity for my family. And thus my assumption about needing two cars.

This assumption is misleading because Ben & I lead a very different "home" life than what I experienced growing up. While Ben is a pastor (like my dad), he can work from home, Starbucks, or really anywhere. While I also work a full-time job, I enjoy a lot of flexibility with where and how I work - only absolutely needing to be on campus when I'm teaching a class. It's easy for one of us to drop the other off, run errands together, etc. And with a baby coming, I hear that our mobility will be more limited, anyway. So all of a sudden the "need" for two cars wasn't quite so compelling. Owning two cars is, for us, simply a convenience. Having two close couple friends who each only own one vehicle has also helped convince me of this even more! (One of these families even has three kids.)

So why sell Fonda and not Helga (who is a 1982 F-150!)? Afterall, Fonda is newer, more reliable, and has a back seat suitable for a carseat. Helga is much, much older, no longer fit for everyday travel, and only offers two pull-down jump seats in her extended cab. But the problem is my assumption kept getting in the way of realizing a much better alternative. We can make (much, much) more money selling Fonda, which will help us move forward with our financial goals to be debt-free and to be more generous with others.

We'll rely on the new Silverado (which has a carseat suitable backseat) as our primary vehicle and keep Helga around as a beater and emergency backup vehicle. Being (essentially) a one-truck family will take more planning on our part, but hello, planning is our m.o. May I be more limited in what I can say yes to and what I may have to decline? Sure. But the convenience of two (technically three) cars (and the cost of upkeep) does not outweigh the freedom that comes from not being, well, tied down to more stuff.

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