4 years or so I started over on my own after my separation from my husband. I scrimped and I saved; my kids and I did without a lot of things. I finished graduate school, I paid off the divorce attorney,I found a stable job, I saved a substantial amount as a down payment on a newer used car, I put substantial amounts in a Roth IRA and tucked away a bit of an emergency fund. But we are living in a very small, inadequately heated, and poorly maintained rental.
I met the criteria to get a direct loan from the USDA for low income families so I have the mortgage, I have an offer on a house in a lovely town and I am very excited to have decent, warm, and safe housing. However, because I had saved more than their allowed amounts, the "no down-payment" loan has become a "give us all of your savings loan". I used to study in the library to save electricity; we have no cable t.v.; we don't go on vacation; I cook all of our food; we haven't even been able to have people over because where exactly would we put them in a 450 sq foot house? I felt strongly about creating financial security first and we finally achieved it AND found an affordable way to get a decent home. But the home comes at the expense of the financial security (I can totally afford the home including budgeting for repairs, heating costs, etc.).
So now I need to start my emergency fund all over again. And I am only going to say this once because I really am so very grateful for the affordable mortgage, but it bites, it really does.
For what it is worth, the USDA Direct loan (there is another USDA program where they guarantee mortgage made through a local bank) is a totally amazing opportunity to get a house in a rural area for a low income family. The income limits are lower than with the guarantee loan and nobody seems to know anything about the loan so if you are interested: