None of My Business
We bought our little love shack back in December. Wait - we put in a bid that was accepted in December and we closed at the end of January. This means that Mr. J. has been toiling away on this place ever since. Evenings, weekends, even a week of "vacation" all dedicated to making this 70-year-old foreclosed-upon-owned-by-the-county brick Cape Cod into a homey abode for Teacher Lady, Minnie and himself.
Mr. J. and I have very different priorities about what is "urgent" in a house and what merits a "splurge" and what merits a "scrimp." Unfortunately, his priorities usually make more sense. A leaky roof needs to be repaired (or, as it turns out - replaced) much more than the current kitchen floor needs to be ripped out and replaced with Mexican ceramic tile. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Even though I've often mocked my students for not grasping the "I can't have everything" concept, I trip over it myself more than I'd like to admit. To me, it's obvious that as a student I can't skip every class, turn in every assignment late or not at all, never read, review or take notes and then get an "A" simply for rewarding the universe with my presence.
However, I'm struggling with the concept when it applies to the refurbishing of a home. I'm 110% ashamed to admit that neither Mr. J. nor I have ever owned an unused (okay, "pre-owned") couch. I am 37. He is going to be 39 in November. This seems rather silly and extremely immature to me. But we have chosen (mostly) to spend our money on things like stainless steel kitchen appliances and quartz counter tops. Now, I am absolutely dying to get these blinds. If you're familiar with them, you know why I feel like I have to have them. If you're not familiar with them, then you'll just think I'm completely insane because these suckers ain't cheap, people. In fact, they are so outrageously priced that I'm too embarrassed to tell you about the recent quote I received. Mr. J. thinks that buying expensive window blinds is an outrageous waste of money when we could be buying a new dining room table. (We already have one. It's my old boss's sister's and I have no idea how old it is and my old boss's sister had actually already put it out on the sidewalk for bulk trash pick up when I decided I wanted it, but still. We have one.)
So here's my question (which is none of my damn business and I realize that, so no pressure to answer): Since I'm guessing that most of my readers are not reading my blog from a lounge chair at an exclusive resort in Bora-Bora while sipping a tropical drink (although I certainly hope you are), I'm also guessing that we all have our financial priorities - the places where we "splurge" and the places where we "scrimp." Specifically, I'm being nosy about home repairs/maintenance/furniture, stuff like that. Do you get the most expensive refrigerator possible and save by getting laminate counter tops? Or, like a friend of mine, do you completely scrimp on the house all together and splurge on vacations and a commitment to exploring other cultures (via travel) instead?
A former co-worker buys all her furniture at Ethan Allen. Gob bless her. Even if we had that kind of income, I'm not sure I'd feel I could fork over a few thousand for a dining room table. What furniture we haven't inherited, we've bought at Target. (Except for our bed. I will not scrimp on a mattress people. I also refuse to buy cheap sheets.) But I also know that millions of Americans would think I'm completely insane for even considering to spend the amount of money on window blinds I'm considering spending on window blinds.
It's weird and tricky, this whole money issue. I used to talk about sex for a living and never felt the least bit uncomfortable. But money - whoa! Now that's private. But just like my students all ultimately wanted to know, "Is that normal?" or really, "Am I normal?" I just want to know the same thing: Without going into debt, and after "paying yourself first" are there certain household items you're willing to fork over serious cash for and others you just won't? I await your responses. And if I don't get any back, I get it. I think that in this culture we can talk about nearly anything on Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc., except the dirty little details of our financial lives.