Over the past couple of weeks I've been spending a lot of time with numbers- numbers relevant to my ability to afford to move to the pricier neighborhood as planned. As long as I was already working on my tax returns, I thought it made sense to go all the way and figure out exactly where I stand financially.
The result stopped me in my tracks. In fact, it stopped my heart from beating. The ugly truth uncovered this week is that I can't even afford the house I'm already living in!
How could this have happened? Well, I hate to be money-obsessed, so I pay little attention to it. Some people call that "denial". I make sure I have extra padding in my checking account, and I have all my bills paid by automatic withdrawal from that account. No problem ever presented itself. Why worry? I had a vague awareness that during some months, I had unusual expenses and had to rely on savings, but that's why I kept extra money in my checking account.
I had used every online calculator available to figure out how much house I could afford. I'm sure that, on some level, I knew that the resulting numbers would be somewhat askew in my case because those calculators don't take into consideration things like babysitting costs, video games, repairs for 16-year -old Hondas, or beginning orthodontics. I score well on the calculators because I have no debt. (A mortgage is not considered a debt for some mysterious reason!)
But I grabbed those numbers and ran with them, all the way to my realtor's office. And, as some of you know, I spent the past 7 months attempting to attain my dream of living in a Victorian house near downtown. My current house has been for sale all that time. It was actually in contract last August, but the buyers backed out after changing their minds. I did insist on selling first before buying- at least I had that much sense.
So the ugly truth revealed during my recent financial fact-finding mission is that I've been spending more money than I earn since my child was born. (I guess I should be thanking my lucky stars that I had savings before he came along!) I had ought that was happening sometimes, some months, but I never realized the extent of it until now.
The Law of Attraction states that we should NOT face reality unless reality is exactly what we want it to be! I'd love to flamboyantly embrace that declaration and use it as my motto, thereby justifying continuing to try to sell my house. But I can't. The new neighborhood is more expensive. I'm already overextended financially in this cheaper house. My choice has been taken away.
When I called my realtor to tell him this, his response was unexpectedly gracious, considering the amount of money he would have gained from my move. He mysteriously said something about having a feeling that something would work out, and said he'd just remove my house temporarily from the market. He was probably just trying to ease my pain, or maybe he was trying to hook up my dream to life support.
Since then, I've experienced many different reactions, from utter despair to gratitude, then back to despair again, then to imaginary bargaining with the universe. Then I'll go back to those online calculators and run the numbers again. And again. I can't bear to visit the desired neighborhood anymore.