We made our first mortgage payment – the biggest payment either of us has ever made – and it actually felt good. Not only did paying our mortgage for the first time make me feel like a real, honest-to-goodness adult, it made the whole first home thing official. My wife and I have lived in that house for a whole month now and at times it felt like we were just playing house. To me, that first payment signifies ownership. We are paying for it so it is ours. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this will be the last mortgage payment welcomed with such kindness and warmth.
Along with that first mortgage payment came an adjustment – a considerable modification to everyday life. As I mentioned, this is the most amount of money I’ve ever committed to paying. The planning and budgeting certainly helped but this isn’t a scrimmage anymore… we’re in the game. We’ve cut back on things like dining/drinking out but there are some instances you can’t plan for. You don’t plan for your hot water heater to explode or your roof to cave in. But it happens. That’s why we’ve had to adjust now in preparation of these worst-case scenarios. Here are a few ideas that help:
Get a handle on all new expenses. I touched on this a bit in the last post but it bears repeating. If you’re moving into your first house, chances are you’ll be inheriting quite a few new bills. For us, it was gas, water, sewer, and trash bills. Get an estimate of these bills before you commit to the house and budget around that. Also, when available, I enrolled in budget billing. It seems like a smart idea but we’ll see.
Stay away from big and unnecessary purchases. We moved into a big empty house so of course we wanted to run to Ikea right away and pick out the perfect furnishings. Of course a new PS4 would work out wonderfully in my new basement. Avoid big purchases when you can. Spend slowly over a period of time.
Pay your mortgage on time. We set up an automatic payment on the same day of each month. Let your budget get into a groove. This may seem obvious, but avoid late mortgage payments. You don’t want that hit on your credit report.
Keep saving. I know it’s hard with a fresh mortgage and a wave of new bills, but maintaining a healthy savings account is crucial. Like I mentioned above, sometimes the unexpected happens. A little nest egg will come in handy when your AC fizzles out. Something will happen and it will probably cost a decent amount.
Check back next week for another update. Do you have any tips for adjusting to a new mortgage? Let us know in the comments.