Before we signed the lease, we sat down to talk through our finances and figure out whether we could afford the hefty price tag that came with the place. (It's not that bad. It's not like it's doubling in cost. And our old place was so reasonable. But it's not cheaper than our old space.)
We talked about how much I spend on clothing, the gym, races, hockey, and other things that cost money. (Yes, my finances were in question here because see above, I am not making any money, and we were talking about whether we could do this on one income.) I plan to cut these things if I don't have a job, because I refuse to spend Mark's hard earned money on shoes and fun stuff for me to do.
There was one area we refused to cut though - food. Not going out to eat, because we don't do a lot of that anyway. But the way we spend money on food now is somewhat expensive. We have, in the last six months, shifted to buying mostly organic foods, mostly local produce when we can get it, and living in a socially conscious way that costs a little bit more money. When we talked though, we both agreed that we really like the way we are eating and shopping now.
(This is where we get most of our food now, cuz I think Whole Foods is for posers and also because the Columbia location is usually on our way home but Whole Foods involves sitting on Lombard Street.)
So the food is staying. I'm not sure if we were prompted to eat and buy more locally because of what we learned about sustainable foods in our search for a caterer, or if this was just a gradual progression of our weekly farmer's markets visits. Or if it's because the Shoppers in Federal Hill is terrible.*
The big thing that we did that makes it easier to stomach a more expensive apartment is that, for the foreseeable future, we are sharing a car. This is a big deal, and something that we have been wanting to do for a long time. We've held off because well, I couldn't drive stick. Not that I didn't know how - I literally couldn't handle it. When we sold my car though**, we decided to commit to trying car-sharing out. I learned to drive stick well enough to be able to practice, and Mark learned to be quiet and let me "drive". This has taken considerable sacrifice on both of our parts, but is both an eco-friendly and budget-friendly way to work things out for now. If I do get a job in the fall, we may have to purchase a second car, but I will have a job, so it won't feel like as much of a financial strain.
It doesn't strike me (hey, you're still reading, that's pretty cool) as much of a coincidence that these two decisions we have made came as we were wedding-planning, feeling more like a partnership than ever, and also as we are making conscious decisions to put our money where our mouth is and live in a way that works for us and for our values. I don't think we would have been able to car-share if we weren't engaged (in fact, I know, because I told Mark I wasn't giving up my car until we were engaged), and I think making the right decisions for our health and the environment food-wise is a sign that we are growing as a couple and committing to things together in a way we didn't used to.
Has your wedding prompted you to make any major decisions about your lifestyle?
*You hear that, Shoppers? You are so awful that you are DRIVING PEOPLE OUT OF THE CITY TO BUY FOOD!!!!
**Thanks again, Dad! You guys, my Dad cleaned out, took through inspection, and sold my car for me so I didn't have to worry about it while I finished out the semester. How cool is that?