You Ask, I Answer - Part Three

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How do you convince your husband to let you buy expensive stuff?
I'm struggling over here.


How do you afford all the cute stuff you buy for your house and for the fixer-upper?
I'd love to do all the cute things you are doing, but finding the $$$$ makes me feel like I'm seeing stars.

Hmmm, I think the answers to both of these questions have a few different factors so I'll try my best to explain them all. Here we go. Get ready for the longest explanation of all time.

My weakness is decor stuff. I keep our local Homesense in business. Many other girls I know have other girlie things that they like to buy with their spending money: makeup, shoes, purses, clothes, wine, etc. Up until yesterday when I decided that I was going to update my wardrobe and start liking grown-up purses, I rarely spent any money on any of the above items. My makeup routine is simple and includes foundation, mascara, blush, and lip gloss all of which you can buy at Wal-Mart. I have two shades of nail polish - pink and clear. I've had the same Roxy purse and runners for over a year and a half. I've been buying my hoodies at Costco lately and if you haven't been, they are usually only $19.99!!! I've never been a big drinker and so a box of four Smirnoff Ice lasts me about a year. Since I don't spend a lot of money on shoes/purses/makeup/clothes/booze (but that is about to change since I am now a huge fashionista) I guess I don't feel guilty when I go into Homesense and spend $20 on a basket here or $30 on a lamp there. So that explains how I am able to purchase the little trinkets and doo-dads.

Now, what about the big items. Up until my recent maternity leave, Alex and I both worked full-time and made decent salaries. Not to toot our own horns but I think collectively we're pretty good with our money. Correction: Alex is pretty good with our money, hahaha. Aside from one of our vehicles and our house (oh yeah and now The Fixer Upper) we don't have any debt. Because we bought our home at a really good time, in a small town outside of the city, and with lots of TLC needed, our mortgage was a lot less than it could have been. To be more specific, the bank approved a mortgage of X dollars and we bought the house that was listed for only half of that amount. Since we didn't become house poor, we were/are able to spend the extra money to renovate and decorate.  

Now, because we take sooooo long to renovate, the trips to Home Depot and Lowes are spaced out. Alex will buy insulation one weekend, some 2x4's a few weekends later, the paint a month after that, so that we never seem to be dropping thousands of dollars in a week to update a room, build the deck, or finish the basement. I'm sure it all adds up to the same amount in the end but when it's broken up into manageable amounts of money over time it just doesn't seem like we're spending that much. Does that make sense?

You know how I'm SUPER picky and indecisive about decor-related items? Well that means that I've probably looked at and or talked about the "big" items about ten thousand times before I actually ask if we can get it. For a more specific example, I've wanted a rug for the living room for a very, very long time. The style of rug that I like (natural fiber/jute) is hard to find. My only options were ordering online from Pottery Barn or driving down south. Last summer I saw the rug of my dreams at Muskoka Living Interiors. It was expensive. I ooooohed and awwwwwed and really wanted to get it, but I didn't. I talked about it and talked about it and talked about it some more for over a year. When we went back this summer and I showed it to him again, he knew that it wasn't just an impulse buy and that I really and truly wanted it for the house. I had to bat my eyelashes and tell him that I would spend less on groceries but he finally agreed. I guess what I'm trying to explain is that I will wait and wait and wait for what I really want if it's on the expensive side. I know people that have gone out and spent thousands of dollars in a day to buy an entire set of furniture for their living room. I just shop slowly and surely instead.

Also, when it comes to decor items, I'm all about finding cheaper versions of things that I've seen online or in expensive stores. If I can find a lamp, shelf, picture frame, basket, or mirror at Homesense then I'll buy it there. I will rarely buy those things at expensive stores like Pottery Barn. As for furniture, I try and buy old, solid wood furniture that I can fix up the way I want it. All of the dressers in our house (that I actually like) were either found on the side of the road or scored from an antique shop for $100 or less.  

Basket from Homesense - $29 ----- Basket from Pottery Barn - $130

Ledges from Michael's - $26 each ----- Ledges from Pottery Barn - $85 each

Wire Shelf from Homesense - $49 ----- Wire Shelf from Restoration Hardware Baby - $199

Couch from Ikea - $449 ----- Couch from Pottery Barn $1693

I hope I don't give off the impression that our house is filled to the brim with awesome, expensive stuff because that just isn't the case. We have a double bed in our spare room that is on a metal frame with no headboard or footboard. Our basement t.v. stand is the Hemnes one from Ikea. The dresser in our bedroom is a seventies one (eeeek) that's been painted white for us to use until we find a large one that we really like. Our couches are all the cheapest Extorp ones from Ikea. The table in our breakfast room was repainted and recovered because my mom found it on the side of the road. The list goes on and on.

{And if I'm being really truthful, I used to buy things on my credit card, sneak them into the house when Alex wasn't home or wasn't looking, and then tell him my credit card bill was for groceries and gas. Since I've "matured" and am all about being "open and honest" (tee hee) I don't do that anymore. Instead I sneak them into the house and then show him when he's in a good mood. Bahaha! Okay I don't do that anymore either. He kept getting mad at me anyway.}

I really do hope that answers those two big questions. If I was vague about something you can always ask me to clarify in the comments section, mkay?

Alright, I'm off to go fix up the front yard that I've been avoiding like the plague since it was mutilated by the hailstorm a few weeks ago. Our yard is ugly now. Booooo. 

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  1. Awesome! I love reading this stuff. I'm like you, I'd rather buy a new throw pillow than socks, even if all my socks have holes in the toes:) Great side by side pics of how you can save by getting knock-offs/similiar items. Lol at you being a huge fashionista now!!! I'm going to have to follow along because my wardrobe sucks! It is so hard finding something to wear everyday, especially because we stay-at-home moms have to find the perfect balance between comfy/casual/about to have milk, dirt, spaghetti sauce on it and not looking like we are still in our pajamas or on the way to work out.

  2. I love this post. I fee like there is a lot i can actually relate to. I thought i was the only girl out there that doesn't drink a whole lot either....your analogy of drinking a pack of cooler will last you for a year.....I AM THE EXACT SAME! We are now looking for a good area to buy a house for the 2 of us...and we really dont know where to look...any suggestions?

  3. such a great answer Sarah! I love it. Seems we all want what someone else has - but sticking with the amount of money we have is the only thing that really works long term - for our bank accounts and our marriages. Ever heard of the marshmallow test for kids? Just google marshmallow test - it's very interesting and hilarious to watch - "good things come to those who wait" - Thanks for all your posts. so good.

  4. I can so relate to you! Now that we have bought a new house, I have especially been spending money on the house, but that is no real change from when we lived in our other house. Making my house feel more and more like home and reflect who we are means more to me than my wardrobe. It gives me more satisfaction. Don't get me wrong. I like to look nice, but as I was looking through pictures of my friends I realized how little I go shopping for clothes and how I even enter the jewelry department less than that. Oh, dear! A new wardrobe is definitely in need for me, especially as a teacher wearing clothes that are about to hit their limit. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there!

  5. Hi Sarah!

    I've followed your blog for a while and LOVE it! You are so funny and always make me laugh and I love your style. I'm also a new mom and my son is 10 months old. We had a lovely jute rug in our living room that is now rolled up in the basement. It was so hard on his little knees when he started crawling around so we replaced it with a neutral soft rug that he loves to crawl and play on. Just an fyi for when Cooper starts crawling! Have a wonderful day!

  6. You are too funny. I use to do the exact same thing with my husband! I was eyeing the scalloped ledge in your living room. I would love to see it in full! I bet it is amazing! Thanks for answering my question!

  7. I was thinking to myself, I don't buy makeup, shoes, really any clothes, I don't drink, etc. etc. then I thought --still, I can't afford to buy awesome stuff, then I remembered I buy A LOT of fabric!!!--HEHEHE!!! Okay, so I guess If I pool $$$ in different areas I'm sure I'd be able to afford the awesome stuff you buy ;)
    Thanks for answering!

  8. You would make a great columnist. ;)

  9. So funny. This is how I spend, too. I live in a super fancy town. I have like 4 pair of shoes (but they're awesome!). I don't do mani/pedi like the other ladies. I'm girlie enough but not like, frivolous and floofy. I spend on kid's clothing because, gah! miniatures are so cute! Also home stuff. But it's mostly Target because I can legitimately head over there for toilet paper and cereal and not have to explain the bill later. What? I stocked up. lol


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