I underestimated how much it would take to make the house my own. I budgeted $2,800, and that is not going to be enough. My original estimate included some work on the crawlspace, paint, and furniture.
What was I thinking?
First, let me tell you: not one estimate on the crawlspace has come in under $5,000. Mind you, every. single. estimator. has tried to upsell me, which I understand, but which is also unnecessary. I’m better off either doing some of the work myself or hiring a handyman and buying my own supplies and then we get under the house and do what needs done. Since the process of having estimators come out to the house was EXHAUSTING, I bought quite a bit of convenience food over those days. Big fat budget fail.
Then, after my father and I started painting, I realized it would take us a couple of months to finish the living room and two bedrooms, plus closets, if we kept up at our current pace. My folks have to drive two hours to come help me, and by the time they get here, they’re understandably tired. And hungry. So we buy convenience food and then get to work. I put three coats of Behr Marquee paint in my bedroom closet, and I swear that I can still see beige. Plus, my hand cramped up something terrible. Therefore, I got some painting estimates. One guy said $1,300. Another said $600. One hasn’t emailed me the estimate yet, but I’m going with the $600 guy – not based on price, but based on personality. We clicked. I liked him, and my dogs liked him. He was referred to me through a trusted friend, too, so all signs point to satisfaction with the work.
Instead of painting this weekend, my folks drove up to help me put in the last bit of fence. I got a ton of estimates on chain link, but decided I want to keep the current fence around most of the yard, and only add new fence on the side that doesn’t have ANY. I also want to replace an old gate. I thought I could walk into Lowe’s and get the panels of vinyl fencing that I want. Well, I can’t. The pieces they have in stock aren’t quite right, so I spent over $50 bucks on a temporary solution.
I need furniture. Like, bad. Right now, I’ve got two dog beds and one wingback chair in the living room. My bed, which is cheap and awful, is sitting on the floor. I have my eye on a $800 sofa (when it’s not on sale) and a $400 platform bed (which will require a new mattress + memory foam mattress pad.) And, I need a dresser. I also need plates and glasses, because I have no idea where my old ones are. Some stuff lived at a friend’s house while I lived with a roommate, some other stuff lived at my parents’ house, and some stuff got lost in those four years. Anyway, let’s say $1,500 for furniture on the low end.
Did I mention that my lawnmower lost a wheel? Like, it didn’t just fall off. There is a hole in the metal. Granted, it was a $20 find that my dad picked up in my hometown, but now I have to get a new one. I estimate about $100 for that piece of the homeowner’s puzzle.
That’s $600 (painter) + $250 (paint) + $1,400 (gutters/crawlspace) + $500 (fence) + $1,500 (furniture) + $100 (lawnmower) = $3,350.
And I’d like to spend that before the end of June. Oh, let’s add pavers for a small patio, too. Let’s say $300. That brings the total to $3,650. Yikes.
But it doesn’t stop there.
I have my own kitchen now. I have space to cook! I want to cook! I’ve been wanting to eat better and lose those ten pounds that my doctor told me to lose. Do you know what that means? Better food = more money. I have my eye on a June to October CSA bag for $104 a month. That doesn’t seem unreasonable for local, seasonal produce – or for my health.
I also want to join a gym. I’ve wanted to try rock climbing for YEARS, but I could never justify the expense because of my stupid debt. Well, there’s a rock climbing gym not far from my house. I haven’t estimated the costs yet, but let’s add some workout clothes to the mix, because all of mine are old and worn.
Yikes. My lifestyle has inflated.
I’m working one particular side gig right now that I took on specifically to pay for furniture. I was hoping to phase out the number of side gigs I took on so I could focus on my creative writing, but the “set up” costs at this house have me in shock.
My goal is to save more this year. I want a robust net worth. But, in addition to the larger monthly housing payment in my budget, plus the addition of utilities, and the lifestyle inflation…goodness gracious.
I am teaching full-time this summer, which will help immensely. And, I have to remember that some of these items are one-time – or at least a five to ten year – purchase. But, the CSA and the gym are costly, even if they do improve my life in the NOW. Isn’t that worth an investment? My health?
It’s what makes the savings challenge a challenge, I suppose.
Have you experienced lifestyle inflation? How did you reduce the costs?