“How did a cross country move turn into a 20 mile move first?”
I said that yesterday, both in my head and outloud on a number of occasions. We recently figured out that to embark on our westerly cross country move, we first needed to move a little closer to home.
We love living in a small town, but the price of getting Damian back and forth to work isn’t helping the strain we feel trying to save money (and let’s be totally honest here, trying to save money when your annual income is less than the national poverty rate is hard enough in and of itself, but especially when you couple that with the fact that you make TOO much for any kind of assistance. How does that even work?!). Another factor is our house. To the vast majority of people I have spoken to, our house is their dream, and maybe for awhile it was for me too. There is a lot you don’t know about big old farm houses, and one of those thing is how much they cost on a month to month basis, factoring in that we live in frigid Illinois.
Living in a small town automatically guarantees a lower violent crime rate, it’s one of everyone’s favorite reasons to live in small communities. There is a sense of security that larger cities can’t provide, and generally enough hometown pride to make you want to vomit on occasion. The school’s generally have a smaller teacher to student ratio, there is a 99% chance you will have a fair every year, and the neighborhoods are generally more….well….neighborhoody. Small towns also mean higher grocery prices at the local store (if you even have one), and very little in the way of job opportunity. Most people in the smaller communities around our area work in the larger cities that are between 20 and 30 miles away. We have a Mitsubishi Outlander which gets excellent gas mileage but it still costs us close to $200 in gas every month to get Damian to work, me to get groceries (seriously, 3.25 for a gallon of milk in our hometown, or 89 cents 20 miles away?), doctors appointments, clothes shopping, etc etc. Almost every resource we need is cheaper 20 miles away, which is okay but in the long run is really hurting our budget. Even if we shopped locally though, our grocery bill would most definitely sky rocket and out-weigh the money we could theoretically save not driving that far for everything.
The house is a beast in and of itself, it’s big, it looks scary in stormy weather and EVERYONE thinks its haunted (for the last time guys, it’s REALLY not). With all that Halloween gloriousness happening, there are easy things to forget about big old farm houses. Since we are already on Halloween, lets talk about the fall and winter seasons. In Illinois, sometimes it snows on Halloween, sometimes its nice and your kids can wear their costumes without 2 layers under and a big coat, sometimes you have to drive them around because there is freezing rain. We start getting cold pretty early around here, and that means kicking on your furnace; and that means your gas and electric bill are about to rise.
While there is a whole list of reasons why we love our house, right now, our house is going to bankrupt us. We decided it needs to be time to downsize, right before our family upsizes! We are selling probably 60% of our things, donate a bunch more and get rid of most of the rest. The good news is we are moving north west, which is the general direction in which we eventually intend to go! It may only be about 20 miles but hey, at least its a step in the right direction! Getting rid of all of our stuff seems daunting, we have a lot of stuff, but with garage sale pages on social media and probably eBay for quite a few of Damian’s books (I want you to think about what 3 closet shelves in separate closets, 1 entire hope chest style chest, and 2 entire book shelves full of martial arts books looks like. Visualize the ass kickery.). The only things we really intend to keep are everyone’s clothes that fit, most of our wall decor, the kitchen stuff, and our washer and dryer; the good news is, tax season is coming.
We are lucky to have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore close (if you don’t know what this is, here is a link) and can get deals on almost everything else we will need. Everyone will get new beds, none of us like our current ones and it seems like a good time to complete this task. We feel an overwhelming need to essentially start over, on good terms that we have planned out; we are kind of rushing this, but we are trying to give ourselves time as well.
Has anyone else ever needed a smaller move stepping stone that lead to a bigger move? Let me know in the comments!!