3 Budget Changes I've Made Since Becoming a Homeowner

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 5, 2021

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A couple look over and discuss their budget.

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Owning a home often means making sacrifices to keep up with the costs.

When I bought a home a little over 10 years ago, I knew that there would be pros and cons. On the one hand, I'd have a place to call my own and the chance to build equity in a property that could gain value over time.

On the other hand, I knew that my mortgage payments would eat up a lot of my income and that I'd have to make certain sacrifices to stay on top of my new set of expenses. Here are three specific changes I've made to my household budget since becoming a homeowner.

1. I've factored in more money for repairs

Before I actually purchased my home, I knew to include some money in my budget for inevitable repairs. I've since tripled that amount after having seen my fair share of things go wrong with my home.

Now to some degree, I can't fully budget for home repairs because major issues could arise at any time that my monthly earnings can't pay for. Recently, for example, my air conditioning system had to be replaced at a cost of about $7,000. Allocating that much money for repairs on a monthly basis isn't feasible.

But I do allocate many hundreds of dollars for repairs on a monthly basis, and any month that they don't spring up, that cash gets added to my savings. That way, when costlier bills arise, I have that cushion.

2. I've cut back on travel

Before owning a home, I spent a pretty significant amount of my paychecks on travel. I enjoyed getting out and seeing different places, and because my rent didn't eat up so much of my income, I had the flexibility to do so. Once I purchased a home, I couldn't afford to travel as extensively. Instead, I had to cut back on not just the frequency of my trips, but also, the cost involved.

3. I've allocated less money to dining out

Although I love to cook, dining out is something I also really enjoy doing. It's awesome to get to experience different cuisines, and socially, it's a good activity to enjoy with friends. But dining out is a lot more expensive than preparing food at home, and now that I have a host of expenses to grapple with related to my house, I don't have the same financial wiggle room to eat at a restaurant twice a week.

The good news is that while I'm dining out less, I also have a large, comfortable kitchen that makes cooking a lot more enjoyable. Before owning a home, I lived in a tiny apartment with an even tinier kitchen, so it was easier to justify the expense of dining out.

Owning a home often means having to give up some of the luxuries you once enjoyed. But is it worth it? For the most part, yes. Owning a home gives me a degree of financial stability I won't get with renting. And while I do sometimes resent having to spend less on the things I love, I recognize that it's a necessary sacrifice in exchange for a comfortable living space.

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