Getting the Itch to Upgrade

by Mrs Money

houseLately I’ve had the feeling that I would like to move to a bigger house with more acreage.  Our house is just the perfect size for us right now, but we wish we had a garage and more property.  Not to mention, if we end up expanding our family it would be nice to have an extra bedroom to put our office and guest room in.  We have a three bedroom house right now, and it works because we’ve got the master, Penny’s room, and then the third bedroom is the guest room and office.

I feel conflicted because I am a huge fan of minimalism, I don’t like clutter, and I have always felt like a smaller house is better. Smaller houses cost less in upkeep, property taxes, heating and cooling, etc.  I have to say I kind of hit a plateau with decluttering and I feel like we are doing pretty well with the amount of stuff that we have and bring in.  I do continuously go through things and as Penny outgrows clothing, I keep a lot of the nice stuff but the stuff that’s not my favorite I usually pass on.

Moving would also cost us a lot of money, so that’s something I’m trying to take into consideration as well.  We’d have to pay closing costs, the moving trucks, etc.  If we stayed put, we’d end up saving money because we wouldn’t have all those expenses.

My parents bought their house right after they got married, moved in, and stayed there ever since.  The house was a small “starter home” and they added on as they had kids, but the house isn’t huge and I feel like my mother would have preferred a larger home while she was raising kids.  I know for a fact that she would have liked a bigger kitchen!  She still complains about that to this day.

One of my biggest fears about moving and looking for a new house is that we’d find a house that needed a ton of work, like new floors.  I don’t want to install flooring again!  I don’t mind a house that needs paint because that’s not a huge deal and I actually like painting walls.  I just don’t want a fixer-upper that we’d have to spend a ton of time fixing up.

I guess a good plan of action would be to just stay where we are for right now and see what the future brings.  I’ll still keep looking at the real estate listings to see if there was something we’d HAVE to have, but as of right now it just makes the most sense for us to stay in our current house.  Over the past seven and a half years, we’ve really worked at making this house our home and we’ve done a lot of work to beautify our house and I’m really proud of it!

Do you ever get the itch to upgrade?  Have you lived in your current place for awhile?

 

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529 Plans versus Savings Accounts

by Mrs Money

Shortly after Penny was born, we opened her up a savings account. Any money she receives from birthdays, holidays, grandparents, etc, we stash in her savings account. She’s got a nice little nest egg that hopefully we’ll be able to help her grow over the years. Now that we finally got our IRAs opened with Vanguard and we’ve been really happy, I’m considering opening up a 529 plan for Penny with them.  I have some hesitations, and I definitely need to do more research but it’s something that probably would be a really good idea.

A 529 Plan would allow us to save money for her college education while receiving tax advantages.  The downside is if she decides not to go to college we’d be subject to income tax plus a 10% penalty.  Ouch.

One of the biggest concerns I have about opening a 529 plan is if Penny decides college is not for her and the money will be taxed and penalized.  Of course we would love for Penny to attend college and become something she would love, but if it’s not in the cards for her then I hate to lose the money.

A lot of states have programs where the money has to be used at an in-state school, and being that Mr. Money is from Colorado and I am from Michigan, you never know where we may end up.  We think about moving closer to family a lot, and I can’t guarantee that we will stay here when Penny is old enough to attend college.

It’s hard for me to commit to things so I think we’re going to just keep her money in a basic savings account for right now and maybe as it grows re-evaluate.  I don’t like taking risks with money generally, so this will probably be the best option for us right now.  I guess we will just wait and see how it goes.

How do you save money for your children if you have them?

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