From Money & Livelihood

On Living Below Our Means, Reducing Bills, And Buying A House

Bride Gives Water To Homeless
Today, MrsHM and I locked in our interest rate at 3.125% for a 10 year mortgage with a 20% down-payment. In late May, we will move in and begin our monthly payments. MrsHM has a full-time gig, and we’ve decided that my work will be flexible, consisting of part-time jobs. We were pre-approved for a $250,000+ mortgage.

Instead, we bought a $135,000 townhouse after looking at all sorts of properties. We saw old homes, new homes, townhomes and single-family homes. One day, our real estate agent commented, “I don’t think you guys know what you want.”

Wrong. We just wanted to see what was out there. We knew exactly what we wanted:

– To live WAY below our means
– Something we could easily rent out
– At least 3 bedrooms
– A spacious kitchen
– Outdoor space for gardening
– Little or no grass to mow (What’s the point? I’d rather plant vegetable and fruit gardens!)
– Laminate or hardwood floors
– 2 bathrooms would be best (We ended up with 1 full bath and two half baths)
Read more

Giving up food, drink, sex… and consumerism?

Note: this is a guest post by Dina Badawy and originally appeared at introversed.

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and a major lesson from fasting is that we don’t need as much as we think we do. We realize that much of what we consume is simply out of habit, and the same thing can be said about things beyond food and drink.

But not only are we in Ramadan with a heightened sense of awareness of our consumption, we are also in a recession – and money is tight. A recent article in the New York Times explains that the decline in American spending linked to the economic crisis has allowed us to discover that money doesn’t buy happiness.
Read more

Thank You For Parents Who Value Creativity

“I’ve never been in a room with a South Asian photographer, filmmaker, and teacher, before… I mean, how do you do that? How did your parents let you get away with that?!”

This past Saturday, I spent the day photographing a Pakistani guy propose to his girlfriend on the ice at Rockefeller Center. After looking for a place to crash, I ended up in Harlem, at my friend Musa’s apartment. His brother Esa was also visiting. Musa is an award-winning filmmaker, while Esa is a talented and successful educator. In addition to their careers, they both have passions beyond their day jobs. Along with their family, they have served as inspirations for me as I continue my journey to discover and pursue what I love.
Read more