Let me start this by saying: I’m not sure if this is the type of story that can be featured here. There isn’t much coverage of stories like this on the site, but I hope this one is published. Of course, basements are scary (some of these stories made my skin crawl!), but for some of us, they are a point of pride and realized dreams. You’ll see what I mean.
My husband and I have been together for twelve years. I know, that sounds ridiculous for two 30-year-olds, but yeah, we got together when we were both 18. Money was always really tight for us; both of our parents cut us off financially when we graduated from high school, and though we were able to handle the expenses of attending in-state universities, we always struggled to make ends meet. We worked multiple jobs while studying, never having enough time to enjoy the fruits of our labor—small but well-kept apartments.
We’ve shared more studio apartments than I can even count. It was really rough for a really long time; they were always meticulously decorated, the room always carefully designed to maximize space. But two twenty-something-year-olds in a 450sqft area is never a good idea. Regardless, we persevered.
Things didn’t get easier when we graduated from school. Though we were able to leave debt-free, we both struggled to find well-paying jobs in our fields. Regardless, we both set aside half of our paychecks for savings. We continued to live in studio apartments and spent the bare minimum on food, fun, and entertainment. We still enjoyed a night out every once in a while, but we really prioritized savings.
Then, after eight years of working full-time and saving as much income as possible, we did it: we bought a house. We had saved enough to put down a really generous down payment, and our credit scores were good enough to get great interest rates. We’re essentially paying the same amount in mortgage fees as we did in rent, only now, we have a two-bedroom home… with a basement!
The idea of having a basement—finished or unfinished—is mind-blowing to me. For years, we did whatever we could to minimize our belongings—we just didn’t have the space for them! Now, we have an entire floor of our home devoted to storage. Heck, we might even finish part of it and put in a pool table or home gym. I get it—basements can be creepy. But for some of us, they’re a sign of having ”made it” in some way. I freaking love my basement.