This house buying thing has thrown me into a pretty uncool tizzy. My brain has two shopping sides, you see...the rational side and the female side. So something as simple as shopping for a skirt goes like this (and this may or may not have happened in January):
RS (at home): "Hm, I need a new skirt for my interview dinners. Grey so I can wear it with my black sweater and black shoes. Knee length is business-y. Trumpet hem is just fun enough for dinner wear. I'll go get one at Macy's. And I'll stay under $50."
FS (at store): "Oh, look at this one! Pretty. And only $25."
RS: Yes, it's pretty. It's in the budget. But, um, it's more of a brown-ish than a gray. But ok. Let's go.
FS: You're right. It's more brown and won't go with the black sweater. Or anything else I own. But I still have $25 left. I can get this beautiful blue sweater, too, only $20. See?
RS: We didn't need a sweater, we needed a skirt. That is a skirt. Let's go.
FS: But this sweater is perfect with this skirt. And, um, these gorgeous brown shoes are only $15, so that's only $10 extra for a WHOLE outfit.
RS: *blinks speechless*
(so, um, the feminine side may have won that one).
RS (back at home): This was dumb. I spent $10 more than I wanted to and now I have to pack two pairs of shoes instead of just my black ones. I'm returning all of this and buying a grey trumpet-hemmed skirt.
FS: But the outfit!! The Shoes! The sweater! The skirt! My pretties! And such a bargain!
RS: The skirt didn't fit that well anyhow. It's a size too big and gaps at the hip. And we can't figure out which side is the front. That's a bad sign. Return it.
FS: fine. But I'm wearing the shoes around the house for 30 minutes and trying on every outfit to see if I can justify keeping them.
RS: fine. Whatever you nutjob.
RS (after returning the skirt and shoes, but still with the sweater): Let's pop in here and see if we can find a skirt on our way to the sweater store.
FS: Ooooh, I love this store. Yay! clearance rack!
RS: Slow down, skippy.
FS: Ooh, this is pretty. And it would go with the black sweater. Or the new blue one.
RS: The new blue one is being returned. But it would work with the black sweater and shoes.
FS: But it's not very professional looking.
Sales lady: That's not very professional looking.
RS: Fine. This one is nice. Black, though...
FS: ...so I'll have to keep the blue sweater. Oh, these look fabulous together.
RS: Not the plan!
FS: But it is on sale for $30, so it's still in the budget even with the sweater. And I can wear it with my black shoes, so...
RS: no extra packing. And it's really timeless so I can wear it for years. And..
FS: it's a size 2! I fit in a size 2!
FS: We'll take it!
Saleslady: Oh, this one isn't on the sale. It's $50.
RS: But then I can't keep the sweater. It's even more over the budget. And we've spent $10 more than we would have on the brown skirt/sweater/shoes ensemble in the first place. This isn't working!
FS: Size 2.
RS: Cash or check?
And that was a skirt. A skirt! This is a house.
The problem is I don't even know which side of my brain is which. The rational side generally says "Here's what we need, let's go buy it, and pay no more than $X." The female side says "We have $X for this expenditure, stay under it but find something you love." It's a question of the very purpose of shopping. Are you seeking to buy a specific good-quality does-the-job thing at the lowest cost or seeking to buy the best thing possible, up to a value.
If we had taken any of the other jobs in those pricey cities we would have been paying this much or more for a house 1/3 the size and eventually paying for private schools and not questioned it. So my brain is fighting. It doesn't know how to process the ridiculously low cost of housing. The female side is saying "look, $X is our housing budget. That covers this. We love this. Let's get it." My rational side is saying "That would have gotten us a very small but comfortable house anywhere else. Let's just upgrade a little and get the slightly bigger, questionably decorated house and pay 1/2 the price." But then my female side sees a clearance sale and says "And then we could tear it apart and put in an extra bathroom and re-do the kitchen and..." and then my rational side says "woah...we've been down that road. Maybe we should just get the house we like as it is."
We'll have to decide soon. But not now. My brain can't take any more of their bickering right now.