Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Great Australian Upgrade

Now that Seb has joined the family bringing our total up to 5 it is getting harder and harder not to buy into the Great Australian Upgrade.
The McMansion. I wish.....
I would LOVE to move to a 4 bedroom home - preferably a 5 bedroom home so I can have a guest room.
I would LOVE to be driving an SUV, something that means Madeleine isn't squished in the back with 2 car seats
I would LOVE to replace some of our shabby, 10 year old, cheap to start with, furniture.
I would also LOVE to not have to share our 1 and only computer with Husband, Madeleine, and these days even 1 year old Lolly. DPCon12 REALLY made me want an Ipad more than ever.
There is so much that I want, but I try to put our genuine needs in perspective. It's not that big a deal for 1 year old Lolly and newborn Seb to share a room. Not for a few years anyway. It's also not that big a deal for Madeleine to be a little cramped in the backseat. It's only when we are out as a family, the rest of the time she can sit in the front.
And much as I hate my furniture and general household fitout these days, it all does the job.
We have avoided refinancing the mortgage over the years, and have made sure we've never bundled in anything. I've watched friends and relatives make use of their equity to buy cars, payout credit cards, fund holidays, and felt jealous of the lifestyle they enjoy. But it still wasn't enough to tempt me to do the same. We are 10 years into our mortgage. Our payments are very reasonable compared to rent these days, ($425 per week) and we will definitely own the house by the time I am 49. Earlier if we can get more paid of it which I know we will once we have a more steady income for a longer period.
Since 2010, we have pretty much managed on 1 income for the majority of that time. Either my husband was out of work, or I was on unpaid maternity leave. Its only been for short periods that our incomes have overlapped. And keeping away from the Great Australian Upgrade has been a big part of how we have managed, and how we will continue to manage through 2013 while I try to stay off work for a while longer.
Even though I want all these things so badly, I want my life to continue to be free of the money stresses that I know can kill a marriage and consume so much of your life. I've watched too many people I love go through hard times because of money worries, and even at our very worst when Husband had been out of work for 7 months and the savings were all gone, I still didn't feel nearly the stress that I've seen others go through. 
So, I still don't need pay TV. The Internet connection can be a little slower, and I can play nice and share the computer. I really don't need the latest and greatest gadget, and I guess I can make do without my McMansion with the spa bath and storage space a plenty.
Maybe one day. When I can do it with cash without taking away from anything else. So my big tip to everyone else is to avoid the Great Australian Upgrade unless you can do it with cash. Reconsider what your needs actually are. Sometimes those "needs" are actually wants, influenced by the people around us.

This post found time to be written courtesy of my older daughters My Little Ponies, which my 1 year old cheerfully got stuck into knowing that it is forbidden fruit. It was worth the wrath of Madeleine when she gets home from school and realises. She doesn't play with them anymore anyway. Time for her to embrace handing them down to Lolly.

Did you buy into the Great Australian Upgrade? Do you have any regrets or is the lifestyle completely worth it?

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