So before you get your panties in a wad over the name of today’s post, let me just explain that if title length were of no issue, it would actually read: How to Afford a Nice House When You Didn’t Marry a Sugar Daddy AND You Are Still in the Process of Becoming a High-Earning Boss B*tch.
Of course I know we women run this motha, but to get your attention I just had to be a little sensational.
Now…for those of you lucky ladies out there who landed a sugar daddy and don’t have to hustle or save, ain’t no freakin’ shame, boo! Actually…I am kind of jealous. As for my personal situation however, I didn’t land a sugar daddy and this blog of mine has yet to make it big. So until my business starts raking in the serious dough, I have to be highly intentional with my spending habits.
This is not to give you the impression that I am some kind of finance expert, but I do feel pretty confident in the realm of home decor sourcing and home improvement budgeting. So while I am definitely no Suze Orman, I do have a few hacks to share with you today.
Below, are some of the ways I have managed to attain a “nice house” (this term is obviously relative) on a middle class budget.
Coming to Terms with reality
Before I get into some of the practical ways I have budgeted for home decor and home improvements, I wanted to elaborate a bit on mindset as this is typically the motivation for all practical action…
I remember the thrill of purchasing my first home. Once the papers were signed at closing, I remember rushing off to Homegoods to begin the process of furnishing and decorating my starter home.
It didn’t take long before the harsh reality hit me- home decor is effing expensive!
Despite limiting myself to bargain, big-box retailers , I realized that furnishing and decorating my home would be a process- I didn’t have thousands of dollars to drop all at once. It’s kind of like grocery shopping: a $50 lamp here… a $100 rug there.. while all relatively “affordable” as single items, add up fast!
I don’t care what anyone says…even if you are DIYing or thrifting or purchasing home decor from places like Target and Ikea, decorating an entire house (or just one freakin’ room for that matter) requires a considerable investment. To make a home feel cohesive and tastefully styled, you are going to have to make some sacrifices in other aspects of your spending.
This leads me to my next point…
Is Having A Nice House Worth it to you?
Once I came to grips with the fact that decorating would require a conscious investment, I had to determine if allocating a chunk of my income to my home was truly worth it to me.
Would I be willing to sacrifice dining out, name-brand clothing, new model cars and exotic vacations…all for the sake of living in a nice home? You see…that’s the b*tch of being middle class. You have to determine what matters most, and prioritize from those core values.
As one might infer, living in a beautiful home, at least in this stage of my very domesticated life, is of incredibly high importance to me. After all, my home is where I work, where I raise my children, where I entertain friends and family and ultimately where I prefer to be (I am a shameless homebody who has a hard time taking her crazy kids out anywhere).
And while I have had to sacrifice many things I once took for granted (now I am not sure if I am referring to decorating or parenthood), I know this phase is only temporary. Once my fixer upper is transformed to my standards, I am hopeful I can make way for more outlets that spark my soul ( I could definitely use a trip to Greece in the future).
Once you decide to commit to beautifying your home, I suggest you don’t make the same rookie mistakes I once did. Home decor shopping, if you are trying to adhere to a budget, should never be used as a form of therapy or escapism. You see..
Decor shopping from the motivation of I’m pissed. Let’s go buy sh*t!, leads to bad design decisions and ultimately a whole lotta wasted money. When I finally became aware of this bad habit I had formed, I decided to try a new approach. I had to start treating myself as if I were an interior design client (so I was the interior designer and the client all at once-confusing! I know!). Basically, I treated the decorating process with more of a formal approach.
I would gather inspiration from Pinterest and magazines, narrow-down my desired aesthetic, research price points on items needed and formulate a design plan from there- all before ever thinking of stepping foot into a physical store.
Before home decor shopping, I suggest you do the same. Determine your design plan and make a list of the items you will need to purchase. Be sure to take measurements for everything! Stick to the freakin’ list and if it doesn’t align with your vision or the required dimensions, don’t waste your money!
To stay laser-focused, I recommend designing one room at a time. Personally, I like to begin with the main living spaces first (this is what everyone sees).
Added Tip: In case of error (because we all make mistakes), be sure to hold on to your receipts. You don’t have to live with something you don’t love…just return that shiznit!
Practical Ways I Save for Decor and Home Improvements
Remember the whole “sacrifices” thing I referred to earlier on in this post? If you are serious about living in a fabulous house, it is time you ask yourself a pivotal question: what are some current expenditures you are willing to scale back on?
As for myself, I have been able to allocate more money to home investment by making the following “sacrifices”:
- I do most of my grocery shopping at Aldi (it’s not the most convenient , but I swear it has reduced my grocery spending by almost 50 percent).
- Avoiding certain stores at all costs (I cannot be trusted at Target), by purchasing miscellaneous needs (like beauty/health products) online from my Amazon Prime Account.
- Only eating out once a week.
- Owning a minimal wardrobe of versatile clothing. (only occasionally will I splurge on a designer handbag).
- Continuing to drive an older model car, so that I don’t have to take on a car payment.
- Stopped getting my hair done at the “it” salon of my city. Instead, I now go to a newer hairstylist who is reasonably priced (but sill does amazing work!)
- Got rid of cable television.
- Breaking my old habit of emotional spending (retail therapy) by replacing it with Yoga and meditation (you can find free classes/ resources on Youtube!)
Downsizing and diy-ing
Given the premise of my blog, this point may seem a bit redundant, but it’s worth reiterating…
In order to afford a home designed exactly how I desired, I ultimately had to sell my new construction home for a fixer upper (you can read all about that journey here).
By down-sizing (and down-grading), I was able to apply the money saved from a reduced mortgage to home improvement projects. I was also fortunate enough to have made a decent profit from the sale of my first home which further supported the renovations of our fixer upper.
Unfortunately, two years into the renovation process we hit a major snag which forced us to exceed our renovation budget by over $30,000 (you can read about that drama here). From that point forward, we have decided to only approach projects that we can entirely complete ourselves. If it can’t be DIY-ed, it can’t be done (for now at least).
Just in case you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, DIY has been one of the most powerful tools in attaining a “nice house”. Thanks to the help of Youtube, Pinterest, and all of my fellow bloggers, my husband and I have been able to transform our home with our own two hands. (For some of my posts popular DIY tutorials, click here!)
In my opinion, the art of DIY is one of the ultimate f*ck yous to our consumer-crazed society. I can attain the home I love without going into debt up to my eyeballs.
Financing Home Improvement
Speaking of debt (which I really recommend staying away from at all costs), sometimes the cash simply isn’t available up front. Occasionally, I have made the decision to finance big-ticket items (like furniture) or pressing home improvement projects. But with one major caveat…
I refuse to pay interest! Given I’ve always had a healthy credit score, I have been fortunate enough to take advantage of some great financing offers(Paypal Credit was great for getting started and helped fund some of my home decor and furniture purchases ).
Because the idea of interest and debt stresses me out, I try to use these tools very sparingly…not racking up more than I can pay off. Nonetheless, financing can still be a valuable tool when used with prudence.
As for larger home improvement projects (I have been dreaming of a master bathroom renovation and garage conversion), I have been tinkering with the idea of a home equity loan. Ultimately, it is a matter of priority for me…are these renovations worth such a financial commitment and further sacrifices? I have yet to decide. Nonetheless, home equity loans are always an option when considering home renovations.
So there you have it, babes! These are some of the hacks I have implemented while transforming my own home, and I really hope you found it helpful for your own use.
Just remember….you don’t have to be a rich b*tch to live in a home you love. It’s a process that requires some sacrifice and elbow grease, but you are fully capable!
Now get out there and design some good vibes (and please also “Pin” or share with a friend if you found this helpful…I would greatly appreciate your support)!