It’s been a goal of mine for years to buy a house. Well, goal accomplished. Not only did we buy a house, but we bought stuff to put in it. In retrospect, only some of them were worth buying. Which ones? Come on, you know I’m going to dish.
And while we’re at it, I’m not going to sugarcoat it either: in the month that we actually, physically acquired our new house, we spent a zillion dollars.
No but actually, we spent over $9,000, when a normal month rings in closer to… $4,000. So let’s call it $5,000 of house-related spending.
Can we take a moment of silence for our savings accounts? I think it’s appropriate.
In all seriousness, though, our savings accounts were a lifesaver this past month. We had planned pretty meticulously, and saved pretty aggressively, to make sure that what we knew was going to be an expensive month wouldn’t land us in a pile of debt. (My stance on that is the only thing you should finance when buying a house is the house. Sorry not sorry, financing a couch isn’t a thing I can get behind, especially with interest rates starting to rise.)
So sure, we spent a lot of money – and to completely justify it to myself, that figure includes food, and restaurants, and the bills we had to pay anyways. (Still a ton of money, though.)
Looking back on it now, though, here’s what was extremely worth it, and what we could have done without.
And before diving in, if you want to buy a house and are wondering how much you “should” plan to spend beyond your down payment, none of that $5,000 includes closing costs, and it rings in at about 1/8th of our down payment savings.
Just like, for context.
What was beyond worth it?
Here’s what worth it when you buy a house.
We’d never had hardwood floors that we particularly cared about. We moved into a main floor featuring basically brand-new, gorgeous hardwood floors.
Cue not being able to put a single piece of furniture on them until we bought those sticky pads to go on the bottom of everything… and then went on Amazon to order more because we thought we bought more than we needed, but it was not even close to enough.
Restaurants and takeout
Giving ourselves the luxury of a takeout budget, whether to sustain us as we continued to unpack, or to go out for a break from moving oh-my-god-another-box-of-books?! was a true lifesaver.
When you buy a house, the house consumes your life y’all. Accept it and order the takeout.
Convenience foods. All the convenience foods.
When we weren’t eating takeout, I lived on Costco ham for a week, and I would do it again. Invest in foods that you can eat out of the fridge with minimal prep, because you’ll thank yourself when you finally get around to eating.
Movers, oh my god get the movers
We spent three full days moving boxes from one house to another, and if we hadn’t hired movers to handle moving the Real Furniture, I honestly think I would have had a breakdown. Paying for two pros to pack up and professionally move the big pieces – think beds, TVs, couches, etc. – was beyond worth it.
Especially since we saved a solid $400 by a) having everything ready to rock and roll for them so the move went super quickly, and b) paying on debit to get the “cash” discount.
The king sized bed
I’ve been saving for – and talking about – getting a king sized bed for over two years now. And if it’s on your radar too? Start tossing $50 or $100 aside every month for it now, because it is SO WORTH IT. (Caveat that you need to make sure you can physically get it into the building and your bedroom, because they’re huge, but that’s part of the allure, yaknow?)
Our new office furniture (and tech)
I work a lot, and a lot of that happens at home. I used to work primarily on the couch with my laptop, but as part of the move, I upgraded my office setup significantly (like, monitor, new desk, keyboard, etc.) and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
The monitor alone, you guys! My neck has never been happier.
We just… needed a table to sit at to eat. And it’s nice being able to sit down and eat.
That’s really all I’ve got to say about this: seating is good times. You will want seating ASAP.
Getting boxes unpacked and put “where they belong” will slowly but surely be the best feeling ever – but you might need somewhere to actually put the things. We bought five heavy duty storage shelves from Costco and set them up in the basement, and I think it probably saved our relationship.
Good champagne to celebrate
As you’ll know if you saw my tweet about it, we bought The Fancy Champagne to celebrate moving in. And it doubled as a surprise engagement celebration, too! Well worth it, both from the celebration angle and the “wow, it tastes amazing and I am now ruined for the cheap stuff” angle.
We did not have a microwave for the first week we lived in the house. Trust me: when you want to eat now, and it’s going to take 45 minutes in the oven for your food to not be freezing cold? You will want to prioritize a microwave. (Unless you’re living that microwave-free life by choice, in which case, power to you.)
You know what will make you feel happy about your new space? Fancy lightbulbs that match the light colour and brightness you actually enjoy. Both The Fiance and I are big fans of bright, daylight bulbs, so we replaced basically every lightbulb in the house in the first week, and we’d do it again.
What would we skip if we did it again?
Totally not worth it when you buy a house:
Get ready to think I’m a total spoiled brat here (you’re not wrong) but not only do we have a company we use on a regular basis to clean our house, we went “all out” and hired “professional” move in cleaners to do a deep clean of the house.
And it was. not. worth. it.
If you have a cleaner you know and trust (or family who love you enough to help?) get them to come in and help. Don’t hire a brand new cleaner you’ve never used, because in our experience? It won’t be anywhere near worth the 4X price tag. (Move in cleaners are so expensive.)
Light fixtures you don’t love
Installing light fixtures on ceilings is a massive pain in the butt.
Installing light fixtures on the ceiling that you immediately take down because you hate it and you should really have spent more than $20 to get something decent? The worst.
The pillow we got upsold on buying our mattress
This is a split decision, because The Fiance loves the pillow the sales guy suggested to us while we were buying our mattress. I, on the other hand, hated it with a fiery passion that consumed my soul as soon as I actually slept on it. Who likes a hard pillow?! (Other than my fiance, whom I actually knew this about going into it.)
Lesson learned: If you’re focused on buying and evaluating one thing, only buy that thing. Go back to focus on other purchases.
If you’re good about ~logistics~ and can update your address with your important services in a timely manner, there’s not a whole lot of crucial mail you’ll miss. We did get mail forwarding, and some packages still made their way to our old house.
You had one job, mail forwarding.
What would you add to the list?
I guarantee that anyone who has moved has opinions on what was and wasn’t worth the money they spent. So spill, pals: What would you add to the list of things that were worth it, and things that weren’t? What do you advise when it’s time to buy a house?
This post originally appeared on HalfBanked. It is reprinted here with permission and some edits.