Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Priorities

In May, we signed a lease on a brand new, massive, fabulous apartment that was a few blocks north of our current place and we moved in in July.  It's huge and awesome.  The downside?  It's more expensive and I don't have a "real" job, and I'm not sure if I'll have a job after the primary until I get results, which means I could be unemployed from September to December.

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?  

6 comments:

  1. Not necessarily because of the wedding, but just as a result of becoming homeowners and getting engaged there have been lifestyle changes. Especially with money.

    I also want to second just how horrible the Shoppers in South Baltimore is! We end up going north to Wegman's, or across the harbor to the Canton Safeway. I've never been to MOM but may have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you have any CSA's in your area, or that deliver to your area? When I lived up north, there were several to choose from and the one we chose was all organic and delivered fresh from the farm produce (a whole crate full!) for 20 dollars a week. It made choosing sustainable produce a much more do-able commitment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We do have CSAs around, but a full share would be too much and we never got around to finding anyone to split one with (since our neighbors across the street signed up for one through work and split with a coworker). Even a half share would overwhelm us at the moment while Ellie is living in Bethesda...

    ReplyDelete
  4. The shoppers certainly drove me to shop at Whole Foods and eventually to my CSA :-) I've tried Safeway, Wegman's and Trader Joe's, but none are close/easy enough to go to regularly. I've heard rumor of a store in Mt. Vernon which I've been meaning to check out...

    PS Your neighbors might have more eggplant than they can handle :-P

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, once we got engaged I started spending money differently or at least thinking about it differently. It was hard to spend money on "fun" things when I realized this money could be saved and spent on "us." And spending money on us felt so much more meaningful, useful, and just plain good.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It wasn't really about getting engaged, but committing to a long-term relationship has caused both of us to move across the country multiple times, caused Daniel to agree to live with my parents twice, and caused me to hold off on plans to travel abroad and pursue a different career choice. There have been a lot of sacrifices we've made to stay together, but what can ya do?

    ReplyDelete