I Can Afford 3 Times My Current Mortgage. Here's Why I'm Not Upsizing

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  • My income has grown since I bought my house over a decade ago.
  • While I can afford a more expensive home, I'm not motivated to buy one.
  • Living below our means is a smarter move in case we lose household income, and I prefer to spend on other things besides housing.

Even though I can spend more on housing, my plan is to stay put.

When my husband and I bought our home 13 years ago, we specifically made sure to take on a mortgage we could afford on one salary -- his. I had recently become a full-time freelance writer and knew that my income would be variable, so we wanted reassurance that in a worst-case scenario, we'd be able to cover our housing payments on one income alone.

Since then, my husband's income has thankfully increased, as has mine. Not only that, but I've had a more steady workload over the past few years than I did 13 years ago.

Because of these changes, my husband and I are now in a position where we can afford a more expensive home. In fact, I recently crunched the numbers, and it turns out we could technically take on three times our current mortgage payment.

Despite that option, we have no plans to move anytime soon. Here's why.

1. I like to have a cushion in case our household income declines

You never know when your household income might take a hit. Many experts are warning of a recession next year, and if the economy takes a dive, it's hard to say how it might impact us. I may find that clients aren't willing to give me as much work because they need to cut back, for example.

That's why I like keeping our housing expenses low relative to our income. It gives us more flexibility to absorb an income loss without having to worry about falling behind on bills.

2. I prefer to spend money on other things

Having a nice home is important to a lot of people, and understandably so. But I'd rather have a slightly less nice home and have more money to spend on things that mean more to me, like travel, great food, entertainment, and experiences and activities for my kids. By keeping my mortgage and housing costs low, I free up money for other things that make me and my family happy.

3. My home is perfectly comfortable

I don't have the nicest, largest, or fanciest home in the area. And there are certain features I'd like in a home that my current house doesn't have. But all told, another reason I have no plans to move is that my home suits my family's needs just fine. We have enough bedrooms for everyone to have their own (though my daughters still want to share), and we have more than enough space to spread out and stay out of each other's way as needed.

I'd perhaps be motivated to move if we were cramped for space and out of storage. But thanks to our basement and its multiple closets (plus my constant toy purges and decluttering efforts), we're fine in that regard. So to me, it makes no sense to increase our mortgage payment and deal with the hassle of moving when our setup works for us.

Lots of people make the decision to upsize or upgrade their homes once their income gets a lift. But that's not my plan, namely because I'm happy with my current home and the financial flexibility it gives us.

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