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Why I Was Okay With Going Way Over My Housing Budget



Currently, my fiance and I spend a combined $2100 per month in rent to live in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. I know it’s a lot, especially since it’s only about 750 square feet of space for him, our cat, our dog, and myself. My family back in Kentucky told me my rent was higher than any mortgage payment they’d ever signed up for. Yet, since we were downtown in a relatively big city, we felt it was justified.


We signed that contract nearly two years ago. At the time, my fiance’s commute to his medical school’s campus and my commute to my job at a tech startup were about the same. Things have changed a lot in fewer than 24 months. The fiance is going to start his rotations in a hospital in Boynton Beach (about an hour north) and I have switched jobs a couple of times and now have a 30-minute commute (also north). Tired of paying so much for so little space and wanting a more equal commute, we decided to move to Boca Raton, Florida. It makes our commutes about even.


“I want to stay around $1700,” I said at the beginning of our search. “$1900, max,” I added. I wanted to save more for after the fiance’s graduation. Getting matched with a medical residency at the end of medical school is kind of a toss-up. You can list which cities you prefer to live in, but in the end, you don’t have much of a say. Who knows how much cash we will need to move if we don’t even know where we were moving?


I also wanted to save on rent simply because I thought we could. Boca is a little bougie, but it’s not like we were trying to live downtown again. There were cheaper places that could fit our needs, I thought. But as I looked at more and more apartments and townhouses, I realized I was wrong.


We just signed a contract for a townhome that will cost us a little more than $2300 per month, and I’m overjoyed. Here’s why I’m totally fine that we went over our budget:


1. My salary is significantly higher than when we first moved here.


When we first moved to Fort Lauderdale, my salary was 20% lower than it is now and we were getting along perfectly fine. I was even putting quite a bit away into my savings account. My habit of always acting like I make less money than I do was getting the best of me, and I realized that I could be passing up an opportunity that I could actually afford this time.


2. Saving is still a priority.


Just because our rent is higher doesn't mean I’ll be skimping on saving. I have a few different automatic savings tools set up that I don’t plan on turning off any time soon. The Qapital app, for one, has helped me save hundreds of dollars for moving, my wedding, and more. I also have an automatic transfer from my checking to my savings account so the money gets transferred before I even miss it. The fiance and I have even agreed to cut costs in other areas of our life to make up the difference.


3.. We spend more time at home than I thought.

I really thought that living downtown would mean I would be going out all the time and having an easy time making friends. Turns out, living in a densely populated area doesn’t make you any less of an introvert. Who woulda thunk it? Anyway, because I finally admitted that both I and the fiance spend more time at home than almost anywhere else, we felt that investing in a better place to live was totally worth it.


We'll soon have 2 bedrooms, a garage, and a side-by-side washer/dryer set for only a couple hundred dollars more than we were already paying. Our cat and dog will have some breathing room, and we'll have a space for guests that isn’t the floor. So, am I okay with the fact that we went way over our housing budget? Absolutely.

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