My Scarlett O’Hara declaration

My Scarlett O'Hara declaration

“I’ll never be hungry again!”

Say what you want about Scarlett, but she was one determined lass who always came out on top.

In that vein, here is my commitment to myself:

One day, the sooner the better, I will live in my own house. I will never scrub mould from the ceiling or walls again. Never see my breath in front of my face while indoors. Never come across a mushroom growing through the carpet. Never come home in winter and cross the threshold to find it just as cold inside as outside. Never get into the car only to find it warmer than indoors.

The next couple of years will tell whether buying a house is a possibility. Depends what life decides to lob our way. (If there’s one thing in life I hate, it’s not being able to plan.)

If not, I’ll have to come up with a backup strategy … one that somehow incorporates renting a decent, healthy and reasonably modern property to live in and raise kids in – such properties are expensive and rare – while ramping up retirement savings way more at the same time to compensate for the lack of home ownership.

Not too far off impossible, then.

25 thoughts on “My Scarlett O’Hara declaration

  • Reply Kirsten September 8, 2014 at 07:37

    Such a funny coincidence! I had kinda thought about writing an article Scarlet style. GWTW is one of my favorite movies and her spunk and determination always inspire me.

    Good luck getting the house. Make sure you can pay your taxes so you don’t have to marry your sister’s fiancé 😉

    • Reply eemusings September 8, 2014 at 09:59

      Unfortunately I don’t even have that option, I don’t have a sister! Boo urns.

  • Reply The Asian Pear September 8, 2014 at 09:20

    Duuude. I knew you lived in a not so great apartment with not so great insulation. But uh… mushrooms growing through your carpet? =/

    • Reply eemusings September 8, 2014 at 10:00

      That’s a big reason why we left our last place and also a tiny factor in pushing me over the hill and deciding fuck it, let’s go travelling.

      Current place is even colder unbelievably, but at least it’s nowhere near as damp.

    • Reply femmefrugality September 9, 2014 at 15:31

      Those were my sentiments exactly! I think I would have taken a world tour to get out of the place, too.

  • Reply Lucinda September 8, 2014 at 13:59

    Good luck – I really hope you get your wish! It’s funny, but your list really highlights the differences in our climates. I live in sub-tropical Queensland, and the ONLY one on your list that I could ever reasonable hope to put on mine is the mushroom through the carpet thing (ew!).

    Here, I wish the mould would stay to the walls and ceilings – I have to scrub it off leather furniture and shoes as well. It doesn’t matter how nice your house is, humidity doesn’t care. I’ve lived in several houses that are as cold, if not colder, than outside during winter because ours are all built to stay cool in summer, therefore retain very little heat! Of course, our winters are MUCH warmer than yours, but 3 or 4 or 5 degrees inside is still bloody cold (and you can see your breath over breakfast).

  • Reply Sense September 8, 2014 at 15:16

    Hear, hear! I vow to get outta dodge (meaning NZ, or at least Auckland) to be able to afford a dog and house after my PhD is over. Maybe even slightly before, in that weird stage when you’re still writing up your results. I seriously cannot deal with housing prices and conditions in NZ–Auckland in particular. I HAVE HAD IT.

    Maybe moving and commuting is the answer? Are Taupo or Welly homes/markets any better? Or perhaps a move to Helensville or south-south Auckland is in order?

    I sat here, in my parents’ lovely super-duper insulated, central air conditioned, triple glazed to-the-max house today and told my mom for the 40th time about carrying hot water bottles to bed, while she audibly gasped and shook her head at the poor, circa 18th-century conditions her daughter was living in. While she and my father can control–TO THE DEGREE, like, let’s see, do I feel like walking around in 71 F or 72 F in my house today?? In EVERY room, all the same temperature. No reason to close doors or plan bathroom breaks or don or shed multiple layers of clothing between rooms. It is effing BUH-LISS.

    When I described the latest in NZ heating/cooling–the heat pump, my mom told me to tell folks in NZ that we have what is essentially a heat pump–IN OUR GARAGE. To heat/cool the area where we have to walk from the house to the cars, naturally! That is how it is in the US…and we are relatively poor. Climate control is just a must where I’m from. It’s pretty mild in Auckland, but I’d argue it is also a must for 8- 9 months of the NZ year in Auckland, as well–and the full 12 months of the year when you have damp/mold everywhere.

    It just isn’t right. WE LIVE IN A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY. Yet you really wouldn’t know it from the places some of us are forced to live in.

    • Reply eemusings September 8, 2014 at 16:10

      Swanson, maybe, near the train line…

      Not willing to leave Auckland. Even so, Welly and Christchurch aren’t really any better. You gotta go smaller, like yes, Taupo, for significantly better prices.

      I KNOW there are decent houses in Auckland. I grew up in one. It galls me so much – everyone deserves a basic healthy level of housing, no matter what type of dwelling, what suburb or what price they pay in rent.

      Housing is NZ’s equivalent of healthcare in the US.

  • Reply Sense September 8, 2014 at 20:16

    You are SO RIGHT!! Unfortunately, I think they are equally about as likely to be fixed to a palatable level anytime soon.

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank September 8, 2014 at 22:03

    Be in control of our own destiny! the sooner the better, I will live in my own house! This dream will be a reality one day.

  • Reply Michelle September 9, 2014 at 01:29

    I just don’t understand why there isn’t a higher standard in building/heating? Are people protesting this state of affairs? As fabulous as New Zealand is-this takes points away from it. If you can’t live in a healthy, warm and dry environment it’s not ok!

    At least if I go to the doctor I’ll have excellent care…I might be broke and alive, but I will have received excellent care 🙂

    • Reply eemusings September 9, 2014 at 09:26

      We have had such a high level/culture of home ownership that rentals just haven’t been on the radar. Older houses that haven’t been fixed up, newer cheap nasty places built in a hurry with who knows what shortcuts taken. This election *might* mark the turning point – I’m seeing a LOT more talk about the state of rental housing – but even so it’ll still be years before anything changes.

      Mmm, I still see them as pretty on par. Both healthcare and housing are basic human needs. In both cases the good stuff comes at a steep price – you need $$$ (here, either to rent a decent place or to heat/dehumidify a crap one). Either way, it’s not right.

  • Reply Debt and the Girl September 9, 2014 at 11:01

    I LOVE Gone with the Wind. Say what you will about Scarlett but she was badass especially for the time and place. I hope you get that house that you want soon.

  • Reply debs @ debtdebs September 9, 2014 at 11:28

    Visualize your dreams! Make a plan. Can you rent out the basement or a room to help pay for the mortgage? Sounds like it would be worth it if it means getting away from the awful rental conditions. And you could charge more for the rent because the standards would be higher.

    • Reply eemusings September 9, 2014 at 11:44

      You can’t count on that kind of income to qualify for a mortgage – you need to be able to afford the payments on your own. But ultimately it’s the down payment that’s the biggest hurdle – I’ve said it before, it’s not the payments so much as the deposit. And with prices continuing to increase it’s looking less and less likely that we can save at a rate to catch up. Hence why I am starting to acknowledge the possibility that we may have to rent for life. I’m a realist.

  • Reply Manda | musicalpoem September 9, 2014 at 12:57

    I know I’ve said this before, but I still can’t believe a mushroom growing out of a carpet in an NZ rental is the norm, not the exception. Or even if it’s not technically the norm, it’s at least not unheard of. !!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Anne @ Money Propeller September 10, 2014 at 01:52

    I didn’t know things were that bad in Auckland, that sucks. I was in reasonable housing on the south island, but even then, it wasn’t great at all. There are a lot of tradeoffs that make NZ housing a very oddball market; like insulating dramatically increases the cost of initial construction, but makes homes much, much more livable and sometimes energy efficient.
    I like hte picture on this post.

  • Reply Holly@ClubThrifty September 10, 2014 at 02:14

    Wait, have you really found a mushroom growing through your carpet???

  • Reply Tracey September 10, 2014 at 13:19

    I own my house. Yet I still see my breath in front of my face inside in winter, still find it just as cold if not colder inside than outside, still have to wash mould off the ceiling in the bathroom. The problem is the poor build quality.

    Since moving in, I’ve replaced all the windows with double glazing and insulated half the ceiling. I can’t do the other half because of there’s not enough space between the roof and ceiling, the floor is carpet/lino laid straight onto concrete slab, and I can’t insulate the walls without extreme expense.

    So buying your own home isn’t the answer – buying a QUALITY home is 🙂 Or having the money to completely gut the place and start over. I would love to build my own home and have complete control over the outcome, but it’s very, very expensive to do so.

    • Reply eemusings September 10, 2014 at 13:25

      Oh, I’m aware. But as a homeowner you have the OPTION, if you don’t buy an already nice house, to do those things. As a renter, I do not. I’ve said it before on a different post – if we buy an older house, then at least I can DO things to ensure I never have to go through this stuff again – addressing the cause if you like rather than the symptoms.

      No, not every owned house is great and not every rental is terrible. But it’s fair to say the overall quality of rentals is far inferior, for obvious reasons. I have yet to step foot inside an owned house that is as cold as any of the rentals I have experienced. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the warmest driest place we ever rented was a flat that was part of the landlord’s house.

      Also, you’re in Christchurch, right? Lot colder down there.

  • Reply Teffany @ RideShare Guy September 10, 2014 at 23:01

    I have a younger sister and I’m happy that she’s wiser now especially on financial matters. That mushroom that grows in the carpet is really gross!

  • Reply Sally September 11, 2014 at 04:43

    Are there any vacant lots in your desired areas of town?

    • Reply eemusings September 11, 2014 at 08:59

      Hardly any. The few that are would start from $250/300k at the lowest. I’d love to build my own place like my parents did but land prices then were a fraction of what they are today and there was more of it…

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