Thursday, February 13, 2014

Settling in To Our New Home

When we first decided to make a move back to Houston, near our hometown of Wharton, I didn't really know where to begin. It started with a job opportunity that my husband had heard about and turned into a real conversation as we drove from Houston to Austin during a weekend trip. Once that conversation took a serious turn, from could we move to Houston to when we move to Houston, I knew there would be some real work to get this to happen.

Looking back, when we moved from Huntsville, the home of my alma mater, Sam Houston State University, we blindly moved into an Austin apartment without knowing the city at all. There were some downsides to this, including the leasing agent telling us the traffic wasn't all that bad going from Northeast Austin down to San Marcos, where my husband would be attending school for a another few years. Yikes. It's little tidbits of information such as this that can really impact your move and time during your stay there.

Fortunately, my husband's cousin was living in a house alone and was just a couple of years younger than us. After weeks of searching for jobs, my husband was the first to receive a job offer, and I jokingly mentioned to his cousin that he may be having a roomie soon. I wasn't sure what all that meant, and whether or not we'd be crashing for just a short while during our search for an apartment, or if his cousin would even share his house at all.

After moving cities on New Year's Day, my husband had just a few days of vacation before he began to work at his new job. He moved in with his cousin the Sunday of his first work week, and I went to visit him a couple of days later. That was over a month ago, and we've certainly transformed his room into ours with personal belongings, furniture, and some light decor. This living situation is working out great, and saving us tons of money.

Apartments in Houston go for around $800 in the area that we'd like to live, not including electricity, internet, water, and gas, which can easily total over $1,100 a month. Then there's the pet deposit for our beloved Taffy. We've currently slashed our housing expenses by nearly two thirds and are able to save it or reallocate funds as necessary. A couple of new expenses that have popped up recently: my new car that I purchased in November and my husband's totaled car that he just wrecked last week.

After much pleading and over a dozen follow-up calls to my old apartment complex, I am also happy to report that the $912 ($227 for prorated February rent and $685 cancellation fees) were completey waived during my final call to check in on what I owed to settle up. This was a huge relief to me financially, as I had planned to take the hit, but really didn't want to. Even though my husband wrecked his vehicle, our budget and lifestyle changes have put those financial fears at ease. Once I knew he was not hurt in his wreck, I knew that we would be completely fine purchasing another, due to our mad budgeting skills!

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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