Home ownership means living within your means

I was in one of my favourite consignment stores the other weekend and was trying on some designer label dresses (Dolce and Gabbana! Cynthia Rowley!) when I slipped on a gorgeous maxi-dress. It was beautiful, it would be perfect for the stinking hot summer months; it would be great on a patio.

It was also $300. Not bad for a silk designer dress but the first thought that popped into my head after, “Oh my God, I love this dress!” was “That’s a property tax payment.” Welcome to the world of first-time homeownership.

A friend of mine bought her home two years before I did and once told me that it takes a few month to get used to the rhythm of home expenditures and she was right. For the first three months I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money in my account to cover my bills and I’d be hit with an in-sufficient funds charge. Suddenly $25 becomes a large sum of money when you own a place. Prior to buying my home I had a decent disposable income. I contributed to my RRSPs and I could also drop $300 on a dress I didn’t need and not feel the pinch.

These days I can do that once in a rare while but even when I can, I find myself thinking, “This could go towards my mortgage payment.” I have to remind myself that owning a home means many things but it shouldn’t mean being unable to enjoy yourself – just being careful to live within your new means.

Renee Sylvestre-Williams is a writer, new homeowner and savvy consumer who hates paying full price for anything. You can email her at renee.sylvestrewilliams@gmail.com and also follow her on Twitter @reneeswilliams.

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