I have heard a lot of people say you do a lot of growing up your first year of marriage, for me, this really wasn't true. I felt like the first year of marriage, although sometimes being tough wasn't really a huge adjustment. I think the big change came over two years after the wedding when we bought our house. Lately I have been thinking about this change a great deal. It has only been about 9 months since this major life changing event and I think if you put my life pre-house next to my life now, you would see two very different people.
For one, my priorities are totally different. This time last year I was thinking about how amazing it would be to get new furniture and a TV. And while I would still love to get rid of all our heavily used furniture and our TV that takes five minutes to turn on, it is in no way, shape or form on top of the priority list of what we should spend our money. I think the only way we could justify it now is a smaller purchase like buying that used couch that is still in good condition since ours is on our last leg....I would post a pic but it is pretty frightening I feel like we should put more towards our huge debt (house, car, student loans) or get a good chunk into savings then spend money on material stuff.
Another thing is the actual house itself. It is a great house, but when we bought it we kind of considered it just a jumping off point. I told DH living here 5 years would be my max, and I would probably start looking at new houses around year 3. That just seems ridiculous now. First of all, we probably won't have kids by then, so why in the world do we need to move to a bigger house? This house is plenty big for the two of us, the dog, and even a child. We have plenty of room to entertain and we live in a neighborhood we enjoy. Plus, while a bigger house would be awesome, it is just more to clean, up keep, etc. and I seem to spend a ton of time doing this to our current home so I can't imagine the effort I would have to put into a bigger home. If you put into the equation that if we stick to our snowballing debt plan we could own the home in about 10 years, that makes it very tempting to stay as long as possible and then make the most money when we do sell it.
While I have always been very aware of money, I feel like now I am extremely financially aware and I didn't think so long term with money pre-house. When you shell out a ton of cash in 10 months for things like a water heater and a sewer line, you definitely start to think about the importance of a paycheck. What is so crazy is that right out of college when I worked for Red Lobster as a manager I made the same I make now and I felt like that was soooo much money. Nathan and I actually looked at buying a luxury car right before the wedding because I could afford it. I mean my fabulous apartment wasn't that expensive, so we could afford it, right? THANK GOD that didn't happen, since I decided a few months later that I was terribly unhappy working for RL and I would spend three long months without any kind of job to speak of and then right after I found something Nathan lost his job. I pray that never happens again, being jobless sucks.
Speaking of jobs, another recent revelation is that even the most fabulous jobs are going to have a downside, but sometimes you just need to tough it out and put in your time. I love my job now, but definitely didn't 6 months ago. And had I not hung out and tried to make it would have been that much harder to find something steady or a "real job" because I didn't have any long term experience with any one company, I just job hopped after college. I am not saying that everyone should stay at one job forever, but you have to realize and accept there is always going to be at least one idiot, two slackers, and one person that REALLY needs to get a clue at any place you are employed.
So what is the moral of the story? Think really hard before you buy a house because all those blissful "live in the now" emotions will be gone. You will have to start thinking long term and it kind of sucks.