We’re engaged, should we buy a house now?

Screen shot 2013-02-20 at Feb 20, 2013, 8.50.46 PM

John Doe writes in…

Ninja! I read your blog everyday, it’s awesome! I recommend it to everyone I talk to… My fiancé and I have been together for 6 years and recently became engaged. We have lived together the last 3 years. We are really interested in buying a house. We are getting married in September. Should we wait until we are married to buy a house? Why?

We are both 24 years old. No credit card debt, 2 car payments that will be paid off within 4 months, and I have student loans I am punching. We live in a small Texas town so housing prices are a little different then what you have in Seattle.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks.

Don’t do it!!!!!

How’s that for telling you what I think? Haha! I guess I should preface this post with the reminder that I love me some Jesus. As a result, I do my best to follow his teachings. Back in October 2009, I wrote a post titled “Leave me alone, I don’t want to live with my girlfriend.

Marriage to me is a pretty big deal. I didn’t want to play the part until I was actually married. That means, even though Girl Ninja and I dated for 4.5 years, we never had sex, slept in the same bed together, went on trips together, etc previous to getting hitched. This also means, I didn’t think it was appropriate for us to start combining our finances until we were legally a family. Her money was her money, and my money was mine, until legally we became one family unit.

Okay, so those are my personal convictions and since I was asked for my opinion I thought I would share them. That said, I don’t live under a rock, and I realize people don’t necessarily value my values. Regardless of my personal moral convictions, I would recommend you hold off buying a home. Here’s why…

  1. The possibility exists that the wedding day never comes. It’s probably a small chance, like not-even-1%, but it’s still a possibility. Until you’ve said “I do.” nothing is official. You’ve waited all this time, another seven months isn’t going to kill you. No one wants to own a home with an ex-fiance.
  2. I don’t foresee house prices or interest rates changing dramatically by fall. Sure prices could go up a bit, or interest rates my raise half a percent or so, but I don’t think there is going to be a huge change. I’m far more concerned about the layout, condition, location of our future house than I am about a 3.5% vs 4% interest rate.
  3. You live in Texas, and as you mentioned, it’s a different market than Seattle. I remember being on business in Houston seeing some AWESOME homes for sale for like $120,000. It boggled my mind. My understanding is the market it also a little more stable than Seattle (not as many ups and downs). If a house bumps up from $120,000 to $126,000 (a 5% spike) in the next year, that will have a negligible effect on your monthly payment.
  4. You still have other debt. Granted it doesn’t sound like it’s an overwhelming amount. But if you wait to buy a house AFTER you’ve paid off your cars (and/or student loans), you should qualify for a larger mortgage. Maybe this would afford you the opportunity to buy a better house in a better neighborhood? I plan on skipping over the “starter home” neighborhoods and buying something we could be happy with for the long-term. Real estate transactions are expensive, so the less of them you have, the more equity you get to keep.
  5. Why do you want to buy a house now so badly? Is there something I’m missing that makes buying today a better decision than buying tomorrow? Try and keep emotions out of the house hunting experience. Wait on a great property. You should be comfortable buying a house two years from now if that’s how long it takes to find a place that meets your standards. I’ve been saving our down payment fund for five years now, it’s been a very slow, methodical, and intentional process.

As I always say when I throw out my two cents, I’m just one person, with one opinion. You have to do what you think is best for you.

Let’s see what some other PDITFers have to say. Would you buy a house with your significant other prior to tying the knot? Why or why not?

I’m buying.

I dated Girl Ninja for 3.5 years before I popped the question. During those 3.5 years we went out to dinner at least once (usually twice) a week. Since we didn’t live together, and we were both relatively busy, dinner together was the easiest way to guarantee some quality time. I’m just ball parking, but I’d guess we ate out about 300ish times together during our dating years. Some meals were cheap (Rubios) and others weren’t ($190 valentines dinner). Wanna know how much all those meals cost Girl Ninja? Probably about $100.

And thus brings today’s topic: Who should pay for dinner when on a date?

Personally I’m a big fan of chivalry, and part of that (to me) means picking up the tab…every single time. Can it be expensive? Sure. Is it a great way to show your significant other you like to provide for them? Abso-freakin-lutely. I could afford to pick up the bill, so I did. Not because Girl Ninja expected me to. Not because I felt like I had to, but because I wanted to. Nothing more, nothing less.

That said, I know that not everyone shares a similar belief. The other day I had a lady friend tell me that her boyfriend rarely offers to pay the whole bill. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for her to pick up the tab instead. She was wondering if that was a bad sign.

Do I think it is weird for her to want to be provided for? Heck no. But I also don’t think that it’s fair to expect him to pay the bill. Would Girl Ninja like it if I opened the car door for her every time we drove somewhere? Probably, but I wasn’t raised in the south and often forget that opening the door for a woman is a sign of respect and love.

I don’t open doors and my friends boyfriend doesn’t pick up the whole dinner tab. Neither of us are horrible people, but we both have some work to do to become the husbands/boyfriends these women deserve. It’s a continual learning process!

Now that I’ve had my few moments to preach, I’m curious to hear your thoughts…

Men: Do you pay the whole bill when you go on a date? Once you get in a serious relationship do you continue paying the bill every time? Do you think women should pay their share? What does chivalry mean to you?

Women: Do you expect to get a free meal on a first date? Would it bother you if your boyfriend asked to split the bill every time you went out (let’s assume said boyfriend is financially stable and able to afford it)? What does chivalry mean to you?

Help me convince Girl Ninja she’s crazy.


I was asking Girl Ninja
what I should blog about tonight (she is often the source of inspiration of my posts) and we began talking about dedicated savings account. We ended the conversation agreeing to disagree. She likes the idea of multiple dedicated savings accounts and I hate it. We debated for about 2 minutes about this before she began beating me profusely and yelling “Girl Ninja owns you!!!!”

….Yeah, that’s exactly what happened 🙂

Here’s my opinion:

Multiple savings accounts, while probably a good idea for most, seem totally inefficient to me. I love keeping all our money in one main account and watching that sucker grow as much as possible each month. It promotes intense focus and allows us the ability to achieve our BIG goals faster. As you know, we are working towards a $100,000 savings fund. By putting all of our discretionary savings in to one account, we will be able to reach that down payment goal pretty quick. If we were splitting our savings amongst a dedicated house fund, vacation fund, new car fund, furniture fund, etc, I would feel like we were barely making progress. Essentially I like to check one goal of the list before moving on to the next one.

Girl Ninja’s opinion:

My hotty with a naughty body, however, thinks dedicated savings account are pretty darn terrific. For her, it supports guilt free spending. If the travel fund has $2,000 in it, and an opportunity to go to on a sweet vacation cones our way, we book the trip no questions asked. Instead of picking one thing and focusing on it, she’d rather make a list of all our goals and work towards accomplishing all of them at the same time.

Since this is MY blog, and not hers, I declare myself the winner of this argument!

Booya for winning. Haha, kidding. I imagine most of you probably set savings goals for a whole bunch of things, but hopefully there are at least a few of you that side with me. Anyone, anyone? Bueller…Bueller?

How many separate DEDICATED savings account do you have and what are they for?

If you only have one primary savings account, do you ever feel guilty taking from it to do other things like go on vacation, etc?

If you have multiple savings accounts, do you ever get frustrated that you aren’t able to check goals of the list as quickly?

WHO DO YOU SIDE WITH!?

It’s what you’ve all been waiting for: A post from Girl Ninja!

Ninja loves to shop.

If you have to read the above sentence one more time, I understand.  Let me explain….

Yesterday, something very unusual happened in the our household.  Ninja spent money on himself – a lot of money on himself.  Unplanned.  No budget saved up, no pre-meditated spending limit.  And guess what? I LOVED it (and I think he did too).

It all started with a trip to Costco to stock up on some birthday, BBQ, and camping supplies for the near future.  Ninja’s transformation began when I picked up one dress shirt that caught his interest, priced at an affordable $19.87 (Costco always has weird prices at the end…why is that?).  The stack of dress shirts brought us next to the table of khaki dress pants. Knowing Ninja’s normal shopping attention span is about 2.8 seconds, I immediately began digging for his sizes before he mentally checked out and gave up.

Before I knew it, I looked up to find that he had wandered over to the next table – and then the next – and then the next.  He was quickly committing to purchase after purchase, filling our cart with clothes. I didn’t push, bribe, or persuade in ANY way,  pinky promise.  By the time we were ready to move onto our actual Costco shopping list, Ninja had impulsively picked out a dress shirt, dress pants, casual shorts, and board shorts.

From previous posts, you might know that I have a monthly budgeted spending allotment, Ninja does not.  We also have very different spending habits.  Ninja shops semiannually;  Once in the summer, and once in the winter.  Over the course of a year, I probably spend more than him in total (don’t tell him I admitted that).  My purchases are more frequent, but typically not as much as Ninja spent yesterday (with the exception of the Nordstrom Sale….I have my presale appointment tomorrow!!!!).  However, when he does take these unexpected shopping sprees, I LOVE it because I hope it reminds him of  few things about spending:

  1. Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you see it
  2. You can’t always plan on when you are going to find a good deal….so you can’t pass it up!
  3. Lighten up about spending money.  We save, share, and invest….and its’ not ridiculous to spend money too.  You don’t always have to say no, just because you weren’t dreaming about it for months and months, and didn’t research all possible options.

We have been married for 2 years, and we still have our spending habit differences…  BUT, we are definitely learning from each other, and figuring things out.  I’m thankful for what he teaches me, and I hope that he has learned a little from me as well (today’s shopping spree sure seemed like he did 😉 )

Do you shop more like Ninja (a few big sprees each year) or like myself (picking up things as you need them)? Anyone else excited for the upcoming Nordstrom sale?! Do any couples actually have the SAME spending habits as their partners?

 

 

A trip a year keeps the babies not near.

So when Girl Ninja and I went through pre-marital counseling – which I would highly recommend to any engaged couple – we obviously spent time discussing when we’d like to have kids as how many we want. Girl Ninja wants four. She is one of four. Her mom is one of four. So to her, it’s only fitting that we have four kids. I, however, am not so jazzed on four kids at this point. Every time we talk about kids I always say the same thing “You can’t ask me to have four kids, before I’ve even had my first.”

Babies are seriously foreign objects to me. I know nothing about them. They make me super nervous when they can’t even keep their head up (nervous they are going to suffocate on the ground, a blanket, my shoulder, etc). I’ve never changed a diaper in my life. I have no concept of how much a kid eats. Nor do I understand exactly how much work caring for a kid can be.

Before we married, I made a rule that we shouldn’t even consider having children until after our first anniversary and ideally we’d wait two years before we started talking about it. Next month concludes that two-year mark. So is it time to get pregnant?

HECK NO! Well, I guess theoretically we could get pregnant since abstinence is the only sure-fire way to prevent it, but you get what I mean.

In fact, I’ve wised up and learned that since GN’s baby-urge could come at any moment, it’s in my best interest to start bribing her to hold off. That’s why I’ve made the promise that for every year we DON’T have children we can go on a bigger vacation.

Since she is a teacher, the best time for us to travel is in the summer (Thanksgiving, Xmas, and Spring Break are freakin’ expensive times to sightsee). I asked GN where summer 2013 should take us and right now Costa Rica is at the top of her list.

Seeing that I know absolutely nothing about Costa Rica, and that I don’t think I want kids in the next 12 months, I need any of you that are familiar with the country to throw out some recommendations on places to stay, things to do, and pros/cons of Costa Rica in the summer.

All I know is flights will cost about $600-$800 a pop, and that’s it. I don’t even know what cities are the most popular tourist destinations, which hotels/hostels are nice, nor do I quite understand what one does on vacation in Costa Rica. If you’ve been before give me the downlow. Or if you know of another vacation destination that would be under $4,000 hook a Ninja up and let me know. I gots to keep this baby situation under control 🙂

I want to marry 68% of you.

An updated throwback that should piss half of you off…

I’ll never understand why some married couples keep their finances separate (yes, that is me quasi-judging some of you). Maybe it’s the traditionalist in me, but when I asked Girl Ninja to marry me, I asked her to marry ALL of me. This includes (but is not limited to) my sense of style, my obsessive compulsive behaviors, my smelly farts, my sucky artwork, and of course my finances.

Before our wedding, I wrote a about how Girl Ninja was not only marrying me, but also my student loan (I think at the time I still owed about $10,000 to Sallie Mae). Whether she liked it or not, my debt was now her debt. A handful of commenters, however, disagreed. They felt that since I had acquired my student loans before I even knew Girl Ninja existed, they were solely my responsibility to pay back. One comment read, “I agree also that GN should have no part of your student loan. That was contracted before your marriage and is solely your obligation.”

Alright commenter, I’ll play your game. Going in to the marriage I was making $63,000/year. Girl Ninja was hovering around the poverty line bringing in about $20,000/year. My income was over triple hers. It seems that if I followed the logic of the commenter above and kept our finances separate, I would then have three times as much influence in our financial decisions, or at the very least, should be allowed to spend three times as much on miscellaneous categories like entertainment and dining out. If she has no obligation to my pre-marriage debt, what right does she have to my pre-marriage income? You can’t have your cake and eat it to.

I know Girl Ninja had no legal obligation to my debt, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a marital obligation to it. The second she said “I do“, my debts became her debts. My income, became her income. And my love for California burritos, became her love for California burritos…oh wait…not so much on that last one, but you get the point.

I don’t even know how separating finances in a marriage would work. Do you literally say “Alright honey, you need to transfer $50 in to my checking account ’cause I just paid our cell phone bill”? Do rent payments get split right down the middle since you both share space equally or does the larger income earner have to pay a larger portion? How would it have even been possible for me to pay my debts back separately, since any money put towards that debt effects us equally regardless of whether it comes out of my account, her account, or a joint account? What is the point of separating accounts from your spouse?

Someone enlighten me? 

p.s. if you weren’t aware, I actually ended up paying off my student loans about a month before our wedding, so Girl Ninja never had to worry about Sallie Mae 🙂

p.p.s. I’m super pissed at Girl Ninja right now as she just committed the cardinal sin in the Ninja house. She put the toilet paper on the roll facing the WRONG way! Ugh, it ruined my night 🙁

The best man

So my former college roommate was a groomsman in my wedding two years ago. At my wedding he did a peculiar thing. He fell in love with one of Girl Ninja’s bridesmaids. Well, not just any bridesmaid, but GN’s older sister. They hit it off that night and started dating shortly after.

On Sunday, he stops being my old roommate and instead, will become my brother-in-law. How weird is that? I remember the days of running around in our underwear on our college’s campus, chasing lightning at 2am. I remember eating so many California burritos with this guy that I felt like my stomach was going to explode. I remember him buying me a tub of ice cream, chips, oreos, and a bunch of other junk food after learning Girl Ninja and I had a temporary falling out my Junior year of college in an effort to console me (picture from that night below)…

Yes, I am eating ice cream with a pasta utensil I was that depressed.

As weird as it is to think about this guy, who I know so much about being my brother, nothing creeps me out more than thinking about him being my children’s uncle. Seriously, not gonna let me kids around him unless I’m supervising. Just kidding...kind of. 

Since Girl Ninja and I are the only reason future brother-in-law met Girl Ninja’s sister, he asked me to be the best man in his wedding. I’ve been a groomsmen before, but this is my first time sitting in the big boy chair. It involves a bit more planning (we will actually be participating in bachelor party activities all day long today), I’ll be decorating their wedding night hotel room, and I of course have to give a speech (where I plan to share every embarrassing story possible about him), but in all, it hasn’t been too overwhelming.

I’m pretty pumped to be his best man and I hope I can live up to the title. Welcome to the family, brother. 

Have you been a maid of honor, or best man before? Did the responsibilities that come with it stress you out? Isn’t being a groomsmen or bridesmaid the best, you get all the fun, without any of the responsibility!