Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One mortgage payment down ...

... three hundred fifty-nine payments left to go!

I was pleased that exactly the right amount was debited from my account on exactly the right day. I'm not a fan of debited payments - I'd rather automate checks via my bank's website - but this one went okay. I'll keep a close eye on it, and this is why I use a separate account for bill-paying: if they make a mistake it SHOULD have limited effect on my other accounts.

The mortgage payment (including property taxes and home owner's insurance) comes to $253/month more than my rent was - that's including my repayment to my parents for their contribution to the down payment on my house. All in all I'd say it's a deal!

However, the wild card has always been all the other stuff I have to pay: in my apartment, my monthly expenses were:
  • $73 for renter's and auto insurance
  • $50 for landline/internet
  • under $10 for electricity (even in winter!)
  • $33 for my awesome no-longer-available cell phone plan
Now that I'm in a house, I've got a lot more to pay for:
  • ~$45 for car insurance
  •  $117 for landline/internet/cable (I get reimbursed by work for the phone/internet portion but I still have to front the payment) (also: this is the first time in my life I've paid for tv)
  • approximately $30 for electricity
  • $55 for my upgraded but still-a-good-deal cell phone plane
  • $24 trash
  • approximately $80 for gas (this is heat and hot water; Jan was very cold so I'm hopeful this will come down for much of the year)
  • the final wildcard: water. I haven't been billed for this yet as it's done quarterly. I'm guesstimating $50/month and hope that's high. 
So the numbers start to diverge quite a bit. Before, my costs on top of rent were $166/month; now my costs on top of my mortgage are $401 ($324 after my employer reimburses me) - or $235/month more than in my former life. So moving from a one-bedroom apartment in the Bay Area to a three-bedroom house in Portland costs me $488 more per month - in a month when nothing goes wrong!

I think it's important to note here that my apartment was considered a very good deal - a little over $1000/month for a lovely one-bedroom; and also that I bought a house in semi-far-flung Portland to keep my costs down. By being lucky and careful, both my rent and my mortgage wound up being quite a bit lower than they could have been.

The idea, of course, is that I've bought an appreciating asset that will help me out down the road. We'll see about that. I guess it's worth almost $500/month to find out! Hopefully Old Me will be very happy with this set of choices.


  1. Hey, Beth. That’s a great idea using a separate account to pay for your debited payments. If anything goes wrong, you have some money stored elsewhere that you can pull from. About the cost of gas, might I suggest cutting it off when the season gets warmer? That should save you a couple hundred bucks for several months a year

  2. Cutting off the gas is a good idea, except it heats the water. I'm not feeling quite so pinched that I'm going to take cold showers!