Counting the Cost
[Dollars and cents (or sense? get it?) from Amy L.]
Just wanted to divulge some of the numbers that accompany my decision to work and live in “da ‘hood”. I know that following Christ shouldn’t involve too much calculating, because that can often intercept steps/leaps of faith. Mainly, I want to praise God here for many of the financial ‘wins’. He has provided for me abundantly when I didn’t ask or expect it. Of course there are significant sacrifices, struggles, fears that accompany this decision to live in a culture and territory that is not my own. The cost diminishes or starts to seem silly/petty once I actually compare it to everything – temporary and eternal – that has been given to me. All for the sake of knowing and loving Christ more.
-I am able to participate in a federal student loan repayment program by choosing to practice dentistry in a shortage area. My students loans were paid off this August (4.5 years out of dental school). Hallelujah!
-Since buying a home and moving to my community, my mortgage is $204 per month. When I first moved to this city, I lived in a fancier part of town, 5 miles away, and paid $240 a month for a parking spot. Owning a house, as opposed to paying rent, builds equity.
-I’m on a 30 year mortgage at less than 4% interest. Why 30 years? I’m not sure yet. The mortgage interest is tax deductible, though.
-My annual property tax is around $700 for 1200 square feet of urban living. Ok, I hear it’s going to go up in 2015, but for now, let me celebrate!
-My 3 bedr0om house provides very affordable housing for my two (occasionally 3) roommies.
-We have ample free street parking.
-I can walk to work in 5.5 minutes, and walk home in 7 minutes (uphill). Less time spent commuting and more time spent in community. Less money spent on public transportation or gas, less carbon footprint. Less exercise because of less walking to public transportation (how can I make this a win?…)… so… I spend less money of food because I consume less calories, in theory.
-Low living expenses, or negligible living expenses, allows me to support many dear missionary friends, restore and renew the house, travel, not feel as guilty as I normally do when I accidentally or intentionally spend money on stupid crap, give a lot, and save some.
I think a lot about my finances, the high cost of living in the northeast, and how to reasonably enjoy what I have been so graciously blessed with while planning for the future. I am continually seeking ways to honor God through my finances. Thank you for a thought provoking post!