Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keeping it Real

Let me preface this post by saying that just because I co-write a financial literacy blog, I am in no way an expert on money matters nor do I always make the best choices. The blog helps keep me on track and I get inspiration from all of you wonderful readers, but I still slip up from time to time.

As you know, my husband and I bought our first home a few months ago. After we signed our downpayment check, I definitely felt a little ill - I mean, in one transaction, all of the money we saved for two years was gone! I know we saved specifically to buy a house, but it still was a little overwhelming. And I swore to myself that we'd be thrifty. We'd paint (because that's one of the cheapest ways to dramatically change the look of a room) and we saved up for a few pieces of new furniture (with a bonus check we got from using our realtor).

But all of a sudden, I got bitten by the perfection bug. I kept looking at our house as something we needed to have perfect within the first few months of living here. A new armchair and loveseat meant new throw pillows and blankets. A new bookshelf meant buying things to put in it. And soon, new art with custom framing, new towels and a higher credit card bill than I had expected. Gulp.

After having the bill stare me in the face, I realized a few things. One - a home is an ongoing process. Things do not have to be design book staged....well, ever...but especially within a few months. Figure out exactly what you're looking for, what you want your home to feel like, and what your tastes are. Two - you do not have to buy things brand new. Look into consignment stores, Craigslist, Goodwill...there are definitely great deals out there! It just takes a little bit of patience and a good eye. Three - I need to take my own advice. :) My husband and I have now instituted a no-spend policy on house stuff for an undetermined amount of time, and I'm definitely going to be better about scouring for used furniture. It's better for my wallet and the environment.

Do you ever get off track? What do you do to get refocused on your goals?


  1. It's so tempting to buy house items (and I don't even own!). Have you checked out the Young House Love website? They do a ton of stuff on a budget, including many projects that are low cost or practically free.

    The best way I get back on track is to not tempt myself (no trips to Target!) and then to set a strict budget.

  2. I totally went through this process. Don't feel bad. It's great that you recognized the situation and got back on track. I found it was helpful to make a list of all of the things I wanted to do and decor I wanted to purchase. Having the list helped me prioritize things and save up for what I wanted. Plus it's so much more rewarding to small changes slowly. A home is never finished!