Would You Consider Reverse Snowbirding?

Posted by Madison on February 24, 2011

My husband, Scott, and I have been discussing where we live at great length lately. We’re happy here in Wisconsin, but one piece is missing for my husband, his family lives in Louisville.

It’s a solid 8 hour drive, and we try to make the trip about 3 times a year.

We have considered moving to be closer to his family, however, since my family is here, we’re staying put.

I never thought that where we lived would be based on my parents, but after my dad’s scare with his heart, I couldn’t see moving away from them at this point in our lives.

We brought up the topic with my parents to see if they’d relocate with us. I think my dad is game to move somewhere warmer (he said he’d move to Louisiana), but in reality, I don’t think my mom would since her family is here, too.

Reverse Snowbirding

Then we came up with a crazy idea… remember when we wanted to buy a vacation home last year? And ultimately passed on it when the realtor dropped the ball.

I’ve never really put the idea of a vacation home out of my mind, but I think I’ve actually improved on the idea.

What if we bought a summer home at the lake near my in-laws, and lived there for the summer? Then we’d return home for the school year for the kids.

It’s just like what older retired couples do, except we’re doing it in reverse… we’ll be here for the frigid winters and go south in the summer. (Somehow it sounded better before I added in the part about the weather!)

My grandma often refers to me as a dreamer. I’m sure when she hears about this plan, she’ll think I’m officially out of touch with reality. Although she and my grandpa were snowbirds for years before he passed away, so maybe she’ll like the idea that I want to do it while we’re young!

Action Plan

Just like I always do when I get carried away on a new and exciting idea, I got busy and started checking out vacation homes that we’d like to buy and reviewing the fantastic mortgage rates at Penfed for vacation homes.

We wouldn’t rent it out since we’d be using it for 3 months in the summer (except maybe for the Kentucky Derby since houses that weekend command a premium), so this would strictly be an expense. Obviously, that doesn’t help the argument, but it would earn lots of bonus points in the quality of life column!

However, there’s one small wrench in the plan…. my husband is still working for the university. Taking every summer off probably wouldn’t fly…. but, with all the uncertainty with his job right now, this might also be the perfect time to implement such a plan.

It’s obviously still in the very early planning stages. And it’s one with a little more thought that we might decide is just not reasonable. But I do think it’s worth some discussion, since you, my wonderful readers, always seem to have great advice when I get wonderful/crazy/outlandish ideas like this.

So, what do you think of the plan? Would you consider reverse snowbirding?


Don’t forget, the Discover No Transfer Fee 0% Balance Transfer ends on Monday. I’m hoping they’ll extend it, but in case they don’t you’ll want to apply in the next few days.



By the Numbers

And More!

You can get my latest articles full of valuable tips and other information delivered directly to your email for free simply by entering your email address below. Your address will never be sold or used for spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Comments to Would You Consider Reverse Snowbirding?

  1. Madison – I would totally consider this! In fact, just last year I tried to convince my husband that we should buy a small house in our parents’ home town (they live in the same town) so we could visit for several weeks at a time several times per year without feeling crowded in their homes as guests. Life is too short to not spend it with your loved ones, so I say go for it. Who cares if it’s defies convention? You know everyone will be super jealous anyway, the same way everyone can’t believe you make money on the “magical” internet. LOL Needless to say, I completely understand where you’re coming from.


    • Lena,

      I know what you mean about feeling crowded! When we went to my in-laws for the holidays, there were 13 people staying there, once you count all the spouses and kids.

      After a week we were all feeling way too crowded!

      I’ll be interested to hear what you and your husband decide to do.


  2. Great article, and yes, reverse snowbirding makes sense. On a slightly side note, my wife and I just discovered this little awesome avenue, http://www.HomeExchange.com. Not everyone is comfortable with it, but if you think that you could, you can have people stay at your place while you stay at theirs. No money, just house swapping. It can be for either a weekend or a few months. You decide. It is another possibility. Keep up the great posts!

    Dr. Timothy Lawler

    • Tim,
      After you sent the link to Home Exchange, I spent hours browsing that site!

      I don’t know if my husband would feel comfortable with it, but I think it sounds fabulous!

      You did give me a great idea, though. Maybe, if we buy a vacation home, we could enroll that in the exchange program. It would open up a lot of possibilities to travel more, and there’s a better chance my husband would be on board if it wasn’t our primary home.

      Have you done a home exchange? If so, I’d love to hear about it.


      • Hey Madison,

        We are in the process of doing our first one right now. Still working out the details. There are LOTS of people that have their second homes on the site. It is really a good idea. Again, not for everyone, but it is an amazing opportunity for some super cheap travel. I will let you know what happens!


        Dr. Timothy Lawler

  3. Spending summers by a lake anywhere sounds like a dream to me. But your “small wrench” is really two big wrenches. If I read you correctly, your husband would have to stay behind to work, so it’s a null for him, and you’re taking on a mortgage during a time of job insecurity.

    Dan O’Sullivan

    • Dan,

      It does sound wonderful doesn’t it? I’m so ready for winter to be over, and I’m already counting down the days until summer!

      As for the wrenches, you did read it correctly… but I don’t think I wrote it correctly!

      The mortgage would be optional; We have the cash to pay for it, so I wouldn’t be worried about that part.

      You are right about the part about my husband working. It wouldn’t be any fun if we had to leave him behind! More to come on that in the next few weeks…. but, I do have some plans up my sleeve. Stay tuned!


  4. This is a little offbeat, but would living in a nice RV (perhaps an Airstream) for three months out of the year be too strange? In the long run, I would think doing so would be cheaper. Plenty of folks spend months on end in RVs, and many used trailers can be bought used for a song (since they are considered to be luxuries in most families). Just a thought –

    Matt (with The Online Budget)

    • Matt,

      You and I are on the same page! Before the vacation home idea, my first suggestion was to live in an RV!

      Of course, my idea was to sell our house and live in an RV full time. We’ll just say my husband vetoed that one really quickly!

      However, if it’s just for the summer, maybe it would be an option! We’ll have to check it out!


Previous article: «
Next article: »