For someone who is all about living a frugal life, I recent went on a bit of a spending spree. Now before you think ‘hypocrite’ allow me to explain. For the past three years, my home has been, for all intents and purposes, half done. The first floor had been repainted, popcorn ceiling removed and new flooring installed. Then I switched jobs and things became far more tenuous there for a time. I continued my frugal ways but never finished the upstairs bedrooms. I made do. The carpet was going on 30 years, a toxic hazard in my persnickety mind. But I made do. We bought another puppy and even though we didn’t do the math, I made do. By math I mean figuring out that a scrawny, 14 pound puppy was destined to be 90 pounds or more, would surely take over most of the bed. She did. We seriously needed a redo so when my partner went back east for a scheduled trip, I sprung into action. The contactor, who had been on stand by throughout all of this, ripped out the filthy, horrible peach carpet and replaced it with durable but gorgeous engineered light gray flooring. I had bought enough for the entire house so there was no real cost for materials save for paint and baseboards. We honed in on the master bedroom first (if all goes well he will return in six weeks to renovate the guest room/office). The entire thing took 10 days but with paint and flooring, fixes and upgrades the cost was still considerable.
But I didn’t stop there. I donated all my old, heavy, clunky and frankly no longer working for our lifestyle, furniture to a good cause close to my heart; Habitat for Humanity. I then bought an entire new bedroom suite plus a custom chair (yet to arrive) because my partner sits in that chair and does his morning news review, emails and generally takes in the world from that chair. I tried to buy off the shelf but nothing worked, nothing was right. I then found a store that would make exactly what we wanted for $800. I know, it’s a lot of money but it is designed to last a lifetime and cost far less than recovering the chair I had at the time (now happily donated as well).
Bottom line is I spend a lot of money. A lot. What most don’t know is that I also saved a really long time for this. I scrimped and saved and cut corners and didn’t buy a lot of things I liked that I really did not need so once I was ready, I didn’t hesitate to spend.
This is the essence of frugal living. Save for what you want and love, go frugal on everything else. Because I am practiced at delayed gratification, I didn’t mind the wait. In fact, it made enjoying the outcome even sweeter. And during my job switch, I continued to save at a frankly impressive rate but I never spent until the situation became far more predictable and stable. Again, delayed gratification at its finest.
The next blog entry will talk about where I ended up saving money on this renovation. Not everything we bought was expensive and in the next blog, I will show you where to go frugal on a renovation where you can.