Delayed gratification is a concept that the hubby and I have been battling with for years. Many of our friends can vouch for this – I think that more than a few of them think we are quite mad!
Our delayed gratification means that we have always lived in lower socioeconomic areas (except for one year of renting on Auckland’s North Shore) and have always driven older, sensible, economical vehicles.
Our honeymoon was 2 years after our wedding. We felt that paying off the home loan was a bigger priority.
I was very fortunate when I met the hubby – he had already purchased his first home in Lower Hutt. He’d also decided to cut back on his travelling with the tenpin bowling league so that he could put the money he wasn’t spending towards the home loan.
We met when I was a student at the University of Canterbury (it’s a long story!). I was living in a caravan at a holiday park in Prebbleton.
When the hubby sold his house and moved to Christchurch (he also moved into the caravan) we found and purchased our first Christchurch home (which was the cheapest that we could stand to live in – that was our actual criteria!). Hubby had the opportunity to attend University and complete his BSc in Computer Science.
There were times in that first year when we were down to our last $1. We’d walk down to Burger King and buy a couple of icecreams. It was an outing!
It’s interesting to look back now and see that we actually have come quite a long way – although it has been a long process too.
In the not-too-distant future we’ll be moving into our grown-up house in Auckland’s Whenuapai. It will be lovely to have a decent amount of space, good garaging, and some room for a vegetable patch. People will tell us how “lucky” we are. We believe that luck is when opportunity meets preparedness!
I thought that you might be interested in the timeline leading up to us finally moving into our grown-up house. This could be an interesting read for people looking to buy their first home and wanting to start at the level that their parents are at. It is most definitely a progression and a ladder is a good description of the process.
February 2003 – bought first home together 90m2 dwelling on 570m2 with single garage, on busy road in Hei Hei, Christchurch
February 2004 – bought first investment property, 100m2 dwelling, cross-lease with single garage, on busy road in Hornby, Christchurch
September 2004 – got married with a small group of 20 guests and a budget of what would fit on the credit card!
August 2006 – finally went on our honeymoon to the Gold Coast, Australia
May 2010 – bought ‘upgraded’ home – 80m2 dwelling on 809m2 with dilapidated garage but in lovely tree-lined street in Redwood, Christchurch
April 2011 – moved to Auckland (thanks earthquakes!). Lived in tiny sleepout on my mum’s property for 2 months.
June 2011 – rented a 1 bedroom ‘granny flat’ in Unsworth Heights, Auckland’s North Shore
July 2012 – moved to a different rental (first one went to auction for sale) in Glenfield, Auckland’s North Shore
November 2012 – bought 70m2 dwelling, no garage, tiny crosslease section, in Henderson, Auckland (after Glenfield rental also went to auction for sale)
April 2014 – bought future home in Whenuapai. 120m2 dwelling, triple garaging, 1108m2 reasonably flat section with option of adding minor dwelling
April 2014 – promptly put tenants in the above purchase! We were about to embark on our first serious overseas trip that had been in the pipeline for 5 years
August 2014 – depart on 6 week adventure in the USA and Canada
May 2017 – move into grown-up house!!
As you can see from this timeline, by the time we move into our “average” Auckland home, it will be more than 14 years since we bought our first home together. Even longer for hubby who had already bought his house prior to meeting me.
I can honestly say that it is, and has been, tough putting up with less than ideal living environments for many years so that we have a chance at a comfortable lifestyle later on.
We have made things a wee bit more complicated for ourselves by not selling the previous properties when we’ve moved on (we have 3 rentals in Christchurch). The reasoning behind keeping these houses is that we think it’s better to have multiple cheaper houses than to have 1 really expensive one. Maintenance costs are definitely higher, but it does reduce our risk a bit when we have multiple income streams to help service the loans. Hopefully by the time we retire, the properties might actually be making more than just their costs!
When we purchased our Christchurch properties, we had an old and wise solicitor who said to us “one day you have to be kind to yourselves”. We’re almost at that point now.
We are also planning some serious travel in the next decade (including Africa and Europe), but we’ll have the security of assets to come back to. We’ve come to the same conclusion as Emma at Money Can Buy Me Happiness. We don’t want to struggle for another 10 years in the hope that we’ll then be able to retire. We want to travel while we are still young enough and healthy enough to be able to. That might mean that we can only go for a 6 week trip every couple of years, but it will also mean that we don’t need to toss in our jobs and hope to find replacements when we get back. We both have great employers who will allow us 6 weeks off at a time so it works well for them and for us if we don’t have to quit.
Spending habits are immensely personal and I’ve met people who want to party and travel hard while they are young, and I’ve met people who want to save and invest so that they are not in poverty in their old age.
I think the key is a bit of balance. Whilst I adore reading blogs of people who have sold everything to travel the World, I know that I would require some security to come back to. I’m too much of a planner to not have a plan for returning home.
I would have loved to have travelled extensively prior to reaching the age that I am (I’m facing a big birthday this year!) but when we do go travelling we’ll be able to have a bit more luxury and comfort than would have been possible in our early 20s.
My best advice for sensible delayed gratification is to work out exactly what you want in life (realising that you can’t have it all!) and then making a plan to work towards it. It doesn’t matter if that epic trip is scheduled for 5 years from now. That’s 5 years to work out if you really want it. If you do, you’ll make it happen!
Please leave a comment below on your own experience in delaying purchase of things that you really want now.