First, let’s take a look back at my November goals. Income goals were $3000 for John and $1800 for me but before I get into what we hit, I’m going to recap our other goals.
My husband and I have no credit card debt, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, when we first started dating, he had around $3,500 in credit card debt and I had about $1,100 in credit card debt. Within a year of our relationship, my credit card debt was at $4,400. We took 9 trips our first year of dating and we would book everything on my credit card, he would give me half…and I would spend it on other items. Oh to be young, in love and not have a care in the world about money!
It was actually ridiculously easy to pay off our credit cards. All it took was a little bit of budgeting. When you’re young, making good money and have basically zero responsibilities (no kids, no mortgage, etc), it’s easy to cut back on vacations, trips to the bar and shopping. Man, looking back, I sure was living the life haha! If I remember correctly, we paid off our credit card debt in about 5 months.
Happy Monday! So, I had a goal this weekend of getting a few posts done in advance that way I could focus on the holidays. That unfortunately did not happen as I ended up getting sick on Saturday evening and it lasted until Sunday evening (not bad, I know). I had a sore throat, fever and headache. Gah – to me there is nothing worse than a sore throat!!! I would much rather be throwing up than have a throat ache. Anyone else with me on that?!
Anyways, yesterday evening after I was feeling better we headed to Walmart to purchase our ingredients for Thanksgiving. I thought it would be interesting to share what we’re making and how much we spent.
As most of you know, we seriously considered breaking our lease to rent out my “dream home” in my dream neighborhood. While money was an important factor, it wasn’t the deciding factor (though it very well could have been). Turns out the house backs up to a major highway. Huge bummer!! While the leasing agent said it was “white noise” and that it wasn’t that noticeable, I would have gone crazy living there. I’m already the world’s lightest sleeper so there was just no way I would ever live near a highway or major road. As a mom of a toddler and a baby, peace and quiet is just too precious to me!!
But, this whole process got me thinking on ways you can save money on rent. I actually had written out a contract for that house had we decided to move forward with an offer (this was prior to seeing it).
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t really follow a budget. Now, that’s not to say I don’t know where my money goes, don’t save and spend frivolously. In fact, I do the opposite of all of those things. But an actual budget? I’ve just never really taken the time to create it and follow it. It seems too time-consuming and stressful, and I personally like my method of managing money. It’s allowed us to save, move across the country, invest and work for ourselves. Not to say not having a budget is for everyone, but here’s why I don’t follow one and what exactly I do instead.
Is it just me or does it seem like EVERY month something “unexpected” happens? Seriously. Just a little recap…but in July our air conditioner went out (in AZ), two weeks later we had a massive swarm of bees outside our front door ($160), in August we moved across the country, in September we bought my husband a work truck, tools for his business, insurance/licensing for his business and general house stuff to get set up in NC, and now this month we had both our cars in the shop (husband’s new truck dies multiple times in one trip // our family SUV needed a new tire). November will be Thanksgiving, time off work for my husband and the start of Christmas shopping! I’m sure something “unexpected” will happen then, too.
So how do you plan for the unexpected expenses?!?!
I woke up yesterday to temps in the 50s, today…the low 40s!! For this gal from AZ, this weather is COLD!! So, yesterday most definitely called for some fall decorating, or decorating on a budget!
How to Decorate on a Budget
When we moved, I was forced (by none other than my husband) to get rid of my fall decor and Christmas decor. We majorly downsized, and if it wasn’t a necessity, it had to go. Unfortunately, fall decor just didn’t qualify as a “necessity” (to him, anyways). The good news is we did budget some money for some festive items. Yes, I’m always on a budget and prefer to save my money rather than spend it, but I’m still a girl, and when it comes to fall decor I’m just not quite ready to give that up.
Shop at Discount Stores
So off I went to Kirkland’s to stock up on a few essentials. I spent $48 (including my $10 off coupon) on the items you see on the fireplace mantle – the “Be Thankful” banner, two ceramic pumpkins, a “Harvest Home” sign, a burlap white floral arrangement, a festive light-up mason jar and a vanilla-scented candle on an antique candle holder. Looks good, right??!
My shopping didn’t stop there, though. We don’t have a dining room table and eating in our small apartment kitchen just wasn’t cutting it. I had found a table a few weeks ago at World Market that I liked, but at $990, I wasn’t sold. Then we had the brilliant idea of having my husband make me my dream farmhouse table. We priced it out and it would have cost roughly $150. Yes!! He agreed, only to later decide it just wasn’t possible in our small apartment. So back to square one we went.
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After I got back from Kirkland’s, we searched on Craigslist for farmhouse tables. We ended up finding the cutest shop just 20 minutes north of us – The Painted Owl. Owned by three ladies, they find old, antique items at estate sales and refurbish them. Tables, benches and chairs are custom-made by one of the ladies’ husbands. We drove down there and walked out with not only a custom table with a matching bench (chairs coming soon), but also an antique, refurbished desk with a black chair adorned in burlap.
We will eventually paint the legs bright white, but for now – this table is perfect. I can’t wait to serve Thanksgiving dinner on it!
The antique desk! While I normally work from the couch so I can keep an eye on the little ones, this desk will come in handy when my husband’s home so I can sneak away to our room to work. Also, this is a classic piece I plan on having for a very long time.
How much would you guess this costs? If you guessed $550 total, you would be correct. My home is my happy place, and I’m willing to spend money to make it look nice.
Take it One Room at a Time
Since originally writing this, we moved into a rather large house and we had very minimal furniture to go along with it. We’ve lived here almost a year, and I can say with confidence that we are *almost* fully-furnished. The only two rooms that are unfurnished are the office (other than a desk) and the sanctuary in the master bedroom. That room will eventually be made into a media room, but I’m guessing that’s a few years down the line.
Instead of furnishing our entire place on credit, we saved up and took it one room at a time. The family room was the biggest concern since it’s where we all hang out. We purchased a media console from Walmart and a Chaise lounge from Costco to complete the space. The kitchen nook is now furnished with a white table that I purchased off of Craigslist for $100 and painted. We’ve had to add some knick-knacks to hallways, like console tables, that I either purchased and repainted from Craigslist or bought at my favorite store – Kirklands.
In February, we saved up $1,500 to purchase patio furniture for our screened in porch. We definitely could have gone the cheaper route and bought used, but we had a good month income-wise and decided to splurge a little!
Now, we’re working on the nursery for our third baby girl, due on Halloween. We’re painting the room a pale pink and doing one wall in shiplap. I’m buying a grey crib from Walmart for $200, including the mattress. We currently have a queen sized bed in there that will remain in the room in case I need to crash in there one night. Since the bed’s there, I don’t see the need to purchase a rocking chair, so we’re skipping that expense. The baby also won’t have a dresser but will instead use the shelves in the closet.
Keep it Simple
I hate clutter – both because it makes it so I have more stuff to put away and keep track of and because it means I have to spend more money. Our house is big, but it’s simple. No rooms are overly decorated and everything has a place. If you’re decorating on a budget – keeping the areas simple is going to be the best way you can save money. Purchase the essentials, and then slowly add decor. Overtime, the space will come together. But in the meantime, there is nothing wrong with having a few bare rooms while you save up.
Any tips for decorating on a budget??!