“If you're renting, you're throwing your money away.”

This is the condescending wisdom that's been spouted time and time again by people living in houses that they can afford on paper. Seems like an awful lot of these people are in foreclosure right now, too.

I suppose there's a tacit corollary to that axiom: “If you have a mortgage, you can't afford Christmas.” I can't imagine why that one never took off.

It's ridiculous how much homeowners look down on the practice of renting. They seem to ignore a few of the most obvious advantages of renting with a wave of their magic I'm-up-to-my-eyeballs-in-a-mortgage-that-turned-out-to-be-way-more-than-my-agent-let-on-that-I-could-afford wand:

Actually, that's the only thing they're ignoring.

On the flip side, here's a few things that can crop up almost instantly after you close on your new suburban castle:

And that part about throwing your money away. I guess none of that monthly rent payment goes toward maintenance or, I dunno, putting a roof over my head.

Let me put it in perspective for you: Paying $700 every month in family-style restaurants. That $45 you spent last night at Applebee's lasted for about three hours before you got the munchies and raided the cookie jar.

I recently finished a search for a new place to live. I considered apartments, condos and houses. And while I could technically afford a mortgage payment, It would be on a house in a shady neighborhood. And any extra expenses that cropped up would put me in a state of foreclosure that I suppose no one considers before closing on their new home.

Sure, they lure you into the idea of a mortgage payment in the $400s. Because that's marketing. And it works. What they don't mention is that other $700 a month you have to plan for just to maintain your new property.

So for now, I'll keep renting. Because it's an outstanding value, and it's not a bad place to be. But the next time you hear anyone tell a renter they're throwing their money away, check how much they've dropped at Applebee's so far this year.

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