This society is overrun with bells and whistles — and the damn things are quite enticing. I’m pretty good at ignoring upgrades when everything is clipping along at a normal place. Our digital camera, bought two years ago, is probably considered prehistoric by now. But until it stops working, it seems silly to get a nicer one “just because.” And while smart phones are quite impressive, I can’t bring myself to pay $60 more a month just so Tim and I can text or surf the web whenever we want. Especially given how often we’re at home, with our computers.
Similarly, I was pretty content with our apartment until the renewal notice arrived.
We like our apartment now, but if any non-emergency maintenance needs to get done, you essentially have to hound them. It took three tries and most of a week to get standing water in our sink taken care of. Tim’s been asking off and on for 11 months about getting a freezer that worked for everything we put in there. (Ours seemed prejudiced against ice cream, popsicles and any other semi-solid type items.) Finally, he went into the office and politely but firmly told them just how ridiculous it was. I believe, as usual, he had to threaten to call the corporate office. That’s usually what does it.
So we decided to look around and, thanks to the universal law, found plenty of things slightly nicer, but nothing quite comparable. Almost every place that met our standards wanted us to pay electricity. Not exactly a ridiculous request, but down here that’s a big deal. It could easily run $100-150 in the hotter months. Maybe even more.
Still, we found ourselves rationalizing things. Yes, the electricity issue was worrisome, but we’d get more space/a washer and dryer/two bathrooms. Despite trying to be careful with our money, it’s kind of appalling how quickly we started finding excuses.
The worst came with the apartment we saw yesterday. It was a peaceful spot and only about half a mile from a card shop where Tim could go to play Magic. It was also huge. For $765 (with pet rent), we’d get 1450 square feet. I actually had the woman repeat it, thinking I’d misheard her.
I doubt I need to explain why it was pretty tempting. Except that, even before electricity costs, we’d be paying nearly $100 more than we are right now.
The manager lives in a three-bedroom apartment — an astounding 2000 square feet — and she said her last bill was $265. She tempered this by saying that her apartment gets the sun all day. (Ours just gets a little morning sun.) Then again, she is also in the office 8 hours a day, whereas Tim and I would be home that whole time.
In all, it’d be smart to assume $100-150 a month (minimum) for electricity. In other words, our rent would go from $676 to $915. That’s still only a little over 25% of what I make with my job and a little contract work. But that’s a big jump.
Of course, the lady was quoting a bill from one of the hottest months. Especially with judicious use of fans, we could pay significantly less in the cooler months, which make up about 8 of the 12 months in the lease. Or, since it’s a second-floor apartment, it could trap heat regardless of season. There’s really no way of knowing, which is probably the scariest bit of all.
And yet, it’s tempting. Tim is going to try to do sales from home. Given that we’re home all day, every day, extra space is always great. And a bigger place would help us better delineate our respective work space.
But we also have enough room in our current apartment. It’s just so easy to believe that more is better.
So we spent most of yesterday discussing the pros and cons. We knew the financially prudent thing to do was to shrug it off. It was just hard to do. Even though we’d consciously avoid filling up the space with “stuff.” Even though we wanted something on the ground floor, and this was upstairs. Even though, we still wouldn’t have a washer/dryer. We just kept coming back to how much bigger it was than our current place.
Tim and I did finally agree that it wasn’t a good idea. But, if we weren’t both so exhausted by the idea of moving, I wonder if we’d have talked ourselves into it.
Have you found yourself rationalizing anything lately? Would you have taken the ridiculously big apartment?