When I was married to my Ex, our second home was like that. It was a bit of a stretch for us, because although The Banks / Mortgage Lenders will tell you here in Canada that one can “manage” up to 33% or so of your pay for housing, truly it means that you’ll be fairly “house poor” and there won’t be a lot of money for other FUN things in life (like vacations, dinners out, entertainment etc)
At the time, both of us were working (me part-time & balance as a SAHM)… so we calculated our costs based solely on one salary (his) so that if something was to happen, we could manage (for the most part). And I think overall we were closer to 25-28% than 33%.
But it still wasn’t ideal… not tough, but not ideal.
We had small children, so most of our energies were directed towards them anyhow (Nursery School / Babysitting, Activites, Clothing etc) … but it would have be nice to have more of a buffer to do more for ourselves as individuals or as a couple (Clothing, Entertainment, Activities) or as a family unit. For example, our family vacations were pretty much limited to either visits with our extended families (Grandparents / Sibs), or nearby Camping Trips with our tent, versus say a Road Trip with Hotels taking the kids to see more interesting sights.
There was no money for larger purchases either… so like many couples, we had furniture in our family room, but our living room was empty. It became a sort of playroom for the kids.
Between our day-to-day living expenses… Food, Kids, Cars, House and Utilities, there wasn’t much else to be spent. So big ticket items like furniture, electronics and vacations just weren’t on the agenda.
We weren’t in this financial situation for long… maybe 5 years until our next Mortgage Renewal, but it was long enough… for two adults in their early 30s who might have liked to be doing a bit more adventureous things than just work & home everyday, and house maintenance / decorating / gardening on the weekends (example, we missed skiing something awful… and as soon as we renegotiated our Mortage, we booked a ski holiday with the kids)
The plus side for sure, was we had a great house, that we lived in for years, where our family grew up… but there were certainly sacrifices made in those first 5 years… enough that it was noticeable for us, not uncomfortable, but certainly noticeable.
Hope this helps,