Contradictory Evidence in the Housing Market "Decline"
Are you completely confused yet? If my wife and I hadn't already decided on a course of action that we are both comfortable with, we certainly would be. I've never seen such a crazy mix of "the market is up", and "the market is down". Recently I've read in the same newspaper section, "the market will softly bottom out in prices", and "prices are going to continue to rise but not in double digits".
What I wouldn't do for a decent and dependable psychic at this point.
All joking aside, I've found in general that analysts are great at hindsight and not so good on foresight. After all, if every move of the market could be accurately predicted and within a certain time tolerance, there would be an awful lot of people in the stock market making millions, as opposed to losing their shirts. But we all know someone who has lost their shirt on that "great" stock deal.
At my house, we're doing the one thing that you can never go wrong on: we're committed to paying down our mortgage as fast as we can. We're going to make quarterly payments against that loan, come rain or shine. It may be more or less for a particular quarter, but we are going to do it.
And how are we going to do that? We keep a close tab on our finances, and we do what we can to limit our expenses by buying smart. My wife takes the time to belong to a food buying club, where she can buy the good quality food that we like (organic and natural stuff, because our son has allergies) and get it at a good price. Just yesterday, I checked out our local recycling depot (which also takes people's cast-offs to sell to others) and I found a pair of virtually new ski boots for $5. (Now THAT'S a deal.) We buy quality second hand when we can. We found "Cheapcycle" groups as well as "Freecycle" groups on the web. We often sell things we don't use anymore. It's amazing how even small things like that add up.
We also set limits this year on how much we can spend for Christmas. After all, we can always take advantage of those after Christmas sales, if we hold ourselves back now!
Budgeting doesn't have to be all work and no fun. Small things add up; and our next quarterly payment against our mortgage will feel really good.