Searching for a unicorn

by Erika Torres

It’s been no small secret that Eric and I have wanted to move out of our love shack. We moved in October 2010, about six months after we got married, because we knew Eric would be entering the fire academy full-time, leaving us with one income and a whole lotta bills.

By living in the shack (it’s actually a guesthouse in someone’s backyard), we were able to cut our rent and utilities from about 33% of our monthly income to only 22% of our monthly income. Obviously, for the area we live in, this was a very, very sweet deal.  Free internet, free cable, all utilities included…

This also meant we had no dishwasher. The bathroom was the size of a porta potty. We had no washer, dryer, so we had to go to the laundromat (or our parents’ house). There was no storage, so you may find kitchen supplies in the bathroom, and bathroom supplies in the hutch, and our “entertainment center” doubled as our underwear drawer. The place is so small, we had to get rid of our dining table so we could have more room.

There are conference rooms at work that are bigger than our shack.

But we dealt with it because we knew we had to.

Now that Eric has started working again though, we decided to be open to the possibility of moving. Our lease is month-to-month, so no worries there. But we don’t want to keep moving ALL the time (In the past 3 years, I’ve moved 3 times). So this next place we find, we really want to make it our own until we can afford to buy our own place.

Requirements for a new home:

  • Must allow dogs
  • Must have a dishwasher
  • Must have ample storage space

Would like to have:

  • Garage
  • Small yard for gardening and Bentley
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Large master bedroom
  • Walk-in Closet
  • Dual sinks
  • Either a loft or a second bedroom area
  • Nice Kitchen
  • High Ceilings

Prefer NOT to have:

  • giant apartment complex

So we started browsing on Craigslist, because where else do you look for places to live? We tried some realtors websites but to no avail. It’s not like we had any intention of moving anytime soon, but if we found a place that fit our description, we’d want to take a look at it, right?

So I entered my search criteria into Craigslist: townhome, 1-2 bedroom, must allow dogs, and set our absolute MAX price range.

And I swear, the only things that popped up were townhome-style apartments. No, thank you. We tried condos too, but nothing struck our fancy.

Everything that looked halfway decent was WAY out of our price range. And it’s not like we were lowballing either, but we simply can’t afford $2300 a month in rent right now for a two-bedroom townhome.

I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. We had practically given up on finding our unicorn of a home…and then, the unicorn appeared.

We’re moving!

We found a two-bedroom, 2.5 bath townhome with a very small yard (but enough for Bentley and gardening!), a one-car garage and a carport, high ceilings in the living room and master bedroom, a huge walk-in closet, an updated kitchen with black granite countertops, a built-in microwave AND a dishwasher (yes, yes, yes!), a laundry room with a washer and dryer, a separate dining room, a second bedroom, tons of storage space and it’s only a 10-minute drive from my job! AND THEY ALLOW DOGS!

The only downsides are a) there is no dual sink in the master but the two upstairs bathrooms are connected so it’s kinda like dual sinks and b) none of the bathrooms have been updated, so they look kinda old school with their 70’s style formica.

And yet, we could not be happier! We are so, so excited to move into our new place in THREE weeks! eeeeeee!!! Everybody do the happy dance!

I’m gonna ride that unicorn into the sunset!


A blog about newlyweds managing finances in relationships. | Newlyweds on a Budget August 22, 2012 - 8:50 am

[…] can’t blame our upgrade in housing as the sole source of our financial shortfalls–Eric was out of commission for four weeks when […]

How to be credit card debt free and pay off student loans | Newlyweds on a Budget March 9, 2012 - 11:46 am

[…] next stop is coming up with a student loan payment plan. Now that we’re living in a bigger place and our rent is higher, we can’t save or pay off as much as we have been this past […]

justrealhappy February 10, 2012 - 7:51 am

Yay! This is exciting. Congrats. I can’t wait to see pics!

So I think I need to reevaluate my goals… | Newlyweds on a Budget February 8, 2012 - 7:56 am

[…] We opened them and put in $100 each account. We had an entire savings plan for 2012 that has kinda gone out the window, thanks to the move. But we still don’t regret getting our new place. […]

Weekly Update 1 | Evolving Personal Finance February 7, 2012 - 6:57 pm

[…] Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget shared her struggles in communicating with her husband about money and a great discussion ensued in the comments.  Also, congratulations to the Newlyweds on finding a new home to rent! […]

Weekly Update #1 | Evolving Personal Finance February 7, 2012 - 6:56 pm

[…] Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget shared her struggles in communicating with her husband about money and a great discussion ensued in the comments.  Also, congratulations to the Newlyweds on finding a new home to rent! […]

January 2012: Where did all our money go? | Newlyweds on a Budget February 6, 2012 - 4:31 am

[…] doing some major maneuvers to put together this ridiculous amount of money we have to front for our new place. But I’ve crunched the numbers so many times, I know we will be okay. It’s just a lot […]

Daisy February 4, 2012 - 9:04 am

I’m so excited for you! We moved into a new place on February 1st that’s roughly double the size of our last apartment. It’s so nice! Moving itself is so stressful though, but it does provide the opportunity to really declutter and get rid of stuff you don’t need 🙂

Good luck!

How I make extra money | Newlyweds on a Budget February 4, 2012 - 5:05 am

[…] and I are on a complete frugal fast for February and March due to a) the BIG move and b) we need to pay off our Citi Card by April 1. HOWEVER, we are going out to dinner on Monday […]

Nichole C February 3, 2012 - 2:03 pm

How awesome!!!

Jana @ Daily Money Shot February 3, 2012 - 6:16 am

Congratulations on finding a new place that fits your needs! We’re planning on selling our house this spring and will most likely have to rent for a year or so before we buy our new house. We have pets, which is making it extremely difficult to find somewhere to live. I hope we luck out like you did!

Erin February 2, 2012 - 2:08 am

That is great!!! 🙂

Paul @ The Frugal Toad February 1, 2012 - 7:23 pm

Congratulations on the new place, it sounds really nice! You can update the bathrooms later by yourselves, it’s fun and you’ll increase the value of your home at the same time.

Aloysa @ My Broken Coin February 1, 2012 - 7:12 pm

I use one sink in a small bathroom and we got used to it. My next home will definitely will have two sinks. Also for now I park in a garage and Beaker parks outside. So, next upgrade – two car garage. Carport is much better, especially in the winter. Congrats on finding your place!

Teacher Girl February 1, 2012 - 4:39 pm

Woot, woot!! That second bedroom is for when your bloggy friend TG comes to visit, right? ;P Congrats on the new place. It sounds absolutely wonderful.

Jane February 1, 2012 - 2:27 pm

That’s awesome! You’ll never get EVERYTHING you want but you came pretty darn close. We want pictures!

jobo February 1, 2012 - 1:26 pm

That is awesome!!!!! I can’t wait to visit!! Where is it in relation to your old place (email me?)!

Little Lamb February 1, 2012 - 1:08 pm

How exciting! Very happy for you! Bye Bye Love Shack!

Darlene February 1, 2012 - 12:32 pm

That is very exciting! Congratulations!

Enjoy your new home.

Stef (City Girl) February 1, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Congrats!!! So excited for you both and happy that you found just what you’re looking for. (I don’t have updated bathrooms either.) Email me what town it’s in when you have a few :). xoxo

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months February 1, 2012 - 11:58 am

This sounds super exciting! Congrats on finding your new place.

SB @ One Cent At A Time February 1, 2012 - 10:51 am

All the best for your moving. Try to keep the moving cost down

kim February 1, 2012 - 10:39 am

Two point five bathrooms!!!! Well that takes care of much of the problem of yesterday’s post. I’m unsure whether I’d like laundry or more than 1 bathroom more. You will feel richer just with the countertops!

A Super Girl February 1, 2012 - 9:36 am

Pictures, pictures!!!! Initially, my comment was going to be to take an extra careful look at the dishwasher. We just moved into an apartment our friends lived in and we were always envious of. I was all geeked until I tried to load the dishwasher and discovered it’s quite possible the worst dishwasher on the planet. Seriously, I curse it every single day.

In the end, having that sh*tty-ass dishwasher is still better than handwashing, though!

Claire February 1, 2012 - 9:21 am

That’s so exciting! Congrats!!

We are trying to find a house to move into after we get married but it’s pretty hard. We live in a college town so a lot of stuff is leasing rooms in a house and annoying things like that. We did find 3 small houses that will be available 2 days after the wedding (eek!) so I think we’re going to scope them out this weekend. Hopefully we can have as much luck as y’all!! 🙂

IntrigueMe February 1, 2012 - 9:00 am

Wheeee!!! You have great taste, so I’m sure you’ll find a way to embrace that 70’s bathroom and turn it into something awesome!

Amanda @ Newlywed Trek February 1, 2012 - 7:49 am

Yeah unicorn! How exciting! I hope moving goes well for you.

From Shopping to Saving February 1, 2012 - 7:37 am

OMG ! E, that’s fantastic. I’m a bit sad that we won’t be guesthouse buddies anymore (we live in a shack too) but I am so happy for you! I would DIE to move but for now I’ll have to live vicariously through you. Post lots of pics please =)

Pam at MoneyTrail February 1, 2012 - 7:25 am

Congratulations! What a fun, exciting time in your life!

Amandalynn Sawyer February 1, 2012 - 7:22 am

HOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited for you! 🙂 Congratulations! Now I know there IS HOPE for leaving the love shack! 🙂 hehehehe.

Ashley February 1, 2012 - 6:59 am

CONGRATULATIONS! That’s so awesome that you found exactly what you’re looking for!

Melissa February 1, 2012 - 6:56 am

This is so awesome!! I’m so excited for you guys!

Jai Catalano February 1, 2012 - 6:15 am

Congrats. It also must allow kids. Being I didn’t get any sleep last night I am giving my 2 away. 🙂

Michelle February 1, 2012 - 6:13 am

Congrats. So exciting!

Lindsay February 1, 2012 - 5:55 am

Congratulations! That’s amazing! Hopefully my fiance and I will have the same luck when our lease is up in a few months! Have fun planning and decorating!

Hank February 1, 2012 - 4:31 am

Congrats on the new move. I’m sure you will love it.

Shannon February 1, 2012 - 4:12 am

YAY! I know you have been wanting to get out of there for awhile. This is so exciting! You once again remind me the difference in cost of living. For $2300 here you could own a brand new 3000 sq ft home that sits on 1 acre. and has a three car garage. so crazy.

my honest answer February 1, 2012 - 2:28 am

Oh that’s great news, so exciting! I’m going to enjoy your tips on moving / furnishing / decorating on a budget too!


Leave a Comment