I have mentioned more than once recently how my family just built our dream house and moved into it last month. It has been a fun but stressful process, one that I’m glad we won’t have to repeat again for a long time (God willing!).
While moving into our new house only took the better part of a few days, after getting settled in it’s been a long slow process of figuring out what things we need, or want, for the new house.
Some of the things we’ve been buying for the house are definitely wants – things we probably could have done without. Others have been things we really do need now that we live in a normal, non association maintained, neighborhood. Still others we’re putting on hold or are re-thinking altogether.
While sitting down and entering receipts in the past day or so it really hit me just how much money we’ve been spending. It’s starting to get pretty expensive.
Buying Things We Needed
When we were first moved in we set about buying things that we really needed to have at the new house. Among the things we needed were lawn maintenance tools and accessories, blinds and drapes, and other household goods.
- Lawn Mower: We bought a decent lawnmower since we now have a big yard that’s going to require mowing at least once a week. $300.
- Trimmer: We bought a trimmer to get where the mower couldn’t, and to trim the edges. $100
- Blower: After using that trimmer we needed something to clean up all the grass clippings, leaves, etc. So we bought a blower. $130.
- Gas cans: We needed gas cans. One for the mower, and a separate one for the blower since the gas needs to be mixed with 2 cycle oil. $25.
- Landscaping: This weekend we’re buying landscaping to have installed at our house before the weather gets too cold. $500.
All this stuff is only the beginning. There are a ton of other smaller things that I’m not mentioning. Just on the things mentioned above we’ve already spent over $1000.
Buying Things We Wanted
We’re not just buying things that were needed, however. We’ve given in a bit to the temptation to get everything situated and in it’s place right after we moved. There are things we could have taken our time with buying, but we haven’t. Among them:
- Fence: We installed a new fence around our big backyard area. It probably could have waited, but we decided to do it now and get it done with. The construction cost us $1500, along with another $1000 or so for the materials. $2500.
- Drywall: We decided to pay to have part of our basement drywalled. $300.
- Furniture: We’ve been buying all sorts of new furniture for the new house. Not only is our new house bigger, but some of our old furniture just looked tired at the new place. I don’t know how much we’ve spent on furniture, but it’s safe to say around $1500 when you figure in chairs, home furnishings, bedding, tables, desks, etc. $1500.
- Shelving: We bought a bunch of shelving for the garage and basement, although we could have waited. $500.
- New Computer: Our old computer has been acting up recently, and I think the motherboard and some of the other components are near the end of their life. On top of it all, this week one of the monitors died. We ended up buying a refurbished computer to replace it, and should have it early next week. We saved a ton buying refurbished, but we still spent $1200.
The things mentioned above come out to $6000 or so, and those are just the things I can remember right now. If you also factor in other new costs like our new internet access and tv service (which had an installation charge), it gets even more expensive.
Getting Back To Our Normal Budget Soon… I Hope
While some of these expenses listed here were at least expected, some were larger than expected or not expected to happen right away. We’ve spent around $7000 of our cushion this past month, and the finance geek in me is starting to have a hard time with it. Thankfully we still have at least 8 months of expenses saved up, so we’re still in a good spot.
On the other hand, I know we’re almost done with these new and non-standard expenses, and once we’re more settled in the next few weeks our budget will get back to normal. In the meantime I think we’ll be getting back to that monthly budget meeting, to start reigning in both of our spending.
Have you ever been in a situation where your spending was higher than expected, or where expenses started to get out of control?
We’re moving soon and I’m worried that the same thing will happen to us! We’ll probably need to paint and buy some new décor. Hopefully I can find things that I like on the cheap.
Your new house looks great!
Peter Anderson says
I’m sure you’ll do much better than we did! Good luck with your new house!
Simon @ Modest Money says
Congrats on the house…looks awesome.
I call such costs “home operationalizing costs”. Stuff you need or want to get the house functional and bring in the homeliness into it.
I’ve moved once this year and ended up spending way more than I imagined in getting the apartment operational…from some new appliances since the older ones died, to small things that make the apartment homely but whose costs combined are jaw dropping.
Peter Anderson says
That’s a good way to put it, “home operationalizing costs”. Costs to get things up and running just how you want it. Those operationalizing or startup costs do seem to add up quick!
Great article Peter! It’s nice you are making people aware of what happens when you get into a new home. Anytime I am helping clients get pre-approved for a new home purchase, I always have an in-depth discussion with husband and wife about making sure you consider reserves when buying a house. Most people only think of the down payment. They forget about closing costs, taxes, prepaid interest, etc. And almost everybody forgets about all the little things you buy for your new home. It isn’t just the obvious things you thought about when you purchased the home (paint, new carpet, etc.). It’s all the little wall hangings, candles, bathroom towels, etc. that nickel and dime you to death! Thanks for writing this article to help people understand through your experience.
Peter Anderson says
It’s amazing how expensive new homes can be. It’s a mistake that a lot of people make – not realizing all that it costs to buy a home (or even sell a home) – and then all the costs that will come up even once you’ve moved – the startup costs of a new home. It can be thousands upon thousands of dollars. It’s a good idea to go in with eyes wide open.
Mike Collins says
Hey Peter, congrats on the house! We bought our house last summer and like you we had to make a number of purchases, mostly yard stuff like a lawn mower and trimmer. I also splurged on a new grill since I love to grill and we now have a nice back yard. We haven’t done anything major to the house yet, other than repairing some roof damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. There are some big ugly bushes in front I want to get rid of and or fence needs to be replaced too. We’d also like to put in a few ceiling fans and some other small projects like that but we have to take those one by one as we can afford them.
I hear you! We just moved in to our new house two months ago and the expenses have really added up. We had to buy a refrigerator, fix and then ended up replacing a microwave, new furniture, and guys are out fixing the landscaping as I type this to help keep our basement from flooding like it did last week in all the Colorado floods. Not to mention having to replace our van after totalling it just a month after moving in. So our nice cushion from selling our old house is disappearing quickly! I’m hoping this is the last of the big expenses and we can get back to our usual budgeting and saving. Good luck with the new house, it looks great!
Hunain @ HowToSaveMoney.ca says
It looks like you have spent way to much money on your new house and it is just the beginning. I hope you will be able to get all the necessary things within your budget. I was planning to buy a new home soon but now I think I have to rethink the budget because of all the things I would need to buy along with my new home.