First Person: We're Saving $1,500 a Month by Downsizing Our Home

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As of our recent condominium purchase, we've now lived in a variety of apartments, a single family home, and yes, now a condo. Over the years, I've gained a valuable education and understanding of each of these respective living environments, and I'll admit to making a few mistakes along the way.

For a long time, I was against condos, but more recently, I've begun to see some of the positives associated with this form of living environment. Compared to our last home -- a single family house that was nearly 2,500 square feet -- our condo has so far turned out to be a much cheaper option.

Utilities

Our new utilities are running about $175 a month. This total includes cable, Internet, landline phone, natural gas, and electricity charges. Water, sewer and trash are included in our monthly assessment amount which we'll get to shortly. This amount is compared to an average of $265 in our last home, nearly a $100 a month in savings.

Savings: $100 a month

Mortgage…or Lack Thereof

Our mortgage in our last home cost us nearly $1,350 a month. During the three years we owned that particular home, I'd say that this total was split close to evenly between interest and principal. However, with our condo, since we downsized from a much larger home and were able to buy outright, we don't have a mortgage or the interest associated with such a loan. This saves us that $1,350 a month payment associated with our old home.

Savings: $1,350 a month

Property Taxes and Insurance

Our property taxes in our last home cost us about $400 a month, and homeowners' insurance about $40 a month. Meanwhile, in our condo, we pay about $225 a month in property taxes and $10 a month on our condo contents insurance. Our condo's common insurance is covered by our monthly association fee, which I'll get to next.

Repairs and Maintenance

Repairs and maintenance costs averaged about $200 a month in our last home. This aspect of our condo is largely covered through our $300 monthly assessment fee. This fee includes water and sewer services, trash and recycle pickup, condo common insurance, building and exterior maintenance, snow removal, etc. And while it's a slightly higher cost than the average upkeep costs of our previous home, it certainly is convenient and is nice in that we don't have to plan and carry through with or manage such repairs ourselves. And for the small items we do have to take on, they have so far averaged us about $50 a month.

This leaves us spending about $700 a month on living expenses related to our condo. Compared to our home costs, which averaged about $2,250, we're saving over $1,500 a month, yet still have a place to call our own.

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