A recent situation has me thinking more and more about buying a house. But I’ve also been thinking about getting Mrs. BaconSandwich a used Volt so that all her driving around town will be on electricity only. (Both of our current vehicles are 13+ years old and have > 230,000 km on them). But I’m not seeing how we can comfortably have both, at least not without having a mortgage. This got me thinking - how do you Oppos afford what you have?

I like to think I’ve been pretty good with my finances - I’ve always avoided debt, didn’t have school loans, and save pretty much everything I can. After four or so after I finished my Bachelors, I decided to go back for a Masters, met my wife, and we got married. We now have an adorable little nearly-nine month old girl, and eventually plan on having at least one more child. Since we got married, I finished my masters and landed a job locally. It doesn’t pay tons, but it’s comfortable. We’re also currently house-sitting for a relative for a year and a half, so we’re be able to save a bit more. But after that year and a half, we’ll have to find a different place to live. This is what has got me thinking about buying a place. The trouble is, almost everything here is really quite expensive. I suspect the average house price is > $275,000. There’s no way we could do that without a mortgage, but that’s something I’m not terribly comfortable with. I’m also not totally comfortable spending all of my retirement savings to have a house.

The way I see it, financially, a person can do a few things:

  1. Make more money
  2. Spend less money
  3. Borrow money

We’re already doing quite well for #2 - I’m not sure there’s much more that we can do there to live more frugally. Option #1 would require me finding a different job - likely in a different city which would have higher living expenses, so I’m not totally convinced that we’d save that much more unless I found a really high paying job. I’m not terribly keen on option #3. Up until this point in my life I’ve always been earning interest, not paying it. And the prospects of job loss are always somewhat worrisome. There’s also a number of predictions of a housing bubble burst up here in Canada, which would be a pretty bad thing if we bought a house before it does burst (if it does. If we were able to buy after a burst, it would certainly work to our advantage).

So how about it, fellow Oppo members? How do you manage to have nice places to live and drive nice vehicles? High paying jobs? Mortgage on the house? Or do you manage to get by with what you have?