Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Upgrade, Downgrade, or Stay?

Whenever you have a change in the size of your family, whether it be kids coming in or moving on, it's a good time to reassess how much space your family needs. Should you upgrade to a bigger space? Keep the space you have? Or is it time to move into a smaller home? Each situation is so unique- there isn't one right answer. I'm not at the stage of my life where I have kids moving on: we're still adding on to our family! So, here's a few tips based on my own experiences and observations.  

When to get a upgrade:
There are a few factors to consider when you are making this decision. In my experience, sleep and space are two very important considerations. Obviously, there are legal and financial considerations, too! And...after having moved three times with a little one, I promise it is something you want to avoid if you can help it.

  • Legal: If your contract says you can only have two people in a one bedroom apartment, you will need to upgrade! 
  • Financial: If you don't think your budget can afford an upgrade, it might be better to try to stay in your current place. However, sometimes you can find a larger place in a different part of town that costs about the same. If it is closer to where you work, you will be saving money on gas, which would help offset the cost of a larger place. Sacrificing certain amenities can also help offset the cost.
  • Sleep/Sanity: Are you a light sleeper? Having a one bedroom apartment with kids is probably not for you! Every time they get up, or every time you get up, it has the potential of waking up someone else. I feel like sleep is directly connected to my sanity, happiness, and well being. And when I am happy, the rest of my family tends to be pretty happy, too!
  • Space: If you need some space, and don't feel like you can have that in your current dwelling, it might be good to upgrade. Sometimes it is nice to have a room where I can keep certain things away from my very curious toddler. 
When to stay:
I feel like this is one is the most cut and dry. If you can get some sleep, still have space, and can still reasonably fit all of your children in the rooms you have, then by all means, STAY! We currently have a two bedroom apartment. We just had our second child, and even though we now have one boy and one girl, they are young enough that I don't think they need their own room. And, there is nothing wrong with kids sharing rooms when they are older, too! Besides, who wants to move when they don't have to? 

When to downgrade:
This isn't something I know anything about! But, it seems like it might be a good idea to downgrade once your children have left the nest. Not only would it be less to maintain as you get older, you will also save money on the utilities and other upkeep expenses that come with a larger house. 

Some disadvantages to downgrading are:
  • Leaving your home
  • Lack of space when the kids come to visit
A decision this big shouldn't be taken lightly- make sure you consider all of the ways moving would change your life. I want to stress that financial considerations are important, but there are a lot of other factors to consider! 

Recently, we thought we'd look into moving into a cheaper place that was closer to my husbands work so we could put more money towards our down payment. (Someday, we'll be ready to get a house. At least that's what I keep telling myself!) When we broke down all of the costs, it really didn't save us that much money! There were other unanticipated costs that added up a lot faster than we had realized! The new apartment didn't have a washer or dryer, and even though my husband could bike to work every day,  and we could get away with only one car, the extra fees and the month we'd have to double rent basically killed all the savings we would have had. Also, we didn't really like the area as much, and the complex wasn't nearly as kid-friendly, which is a very, very important consideration for us! 

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