Feb 08, 2010

Bought a New House -- But Can't Afford to Dress It Up!

I didn't think of myself as someone who Likes to Shop.

But there's nothing like being told you can't do something to make you (that is, me) want to do it. And having just  spent every dollar I had -- and a few I didn't -- to buy a house,  now is definitely not the time to do any shopping.

I saw a survey that said that, for people having to be extremely frugal, dining out was the hardest thing to give up. That actually hasn't been true for me -- we'd stopped doing much restaurant dining a long while ago, in order to save up for this purchase. For a treat, there's always Vietnamese food. (My apologies to all the underpaid cooks and waitstaff who I'm indirectly exploiting at the Bay Areas' wonderful Asian restaurants).

But I'm discovering the awful sense of conflict that comes up when the need to NOT SHOP coincides with being in maximum nesting mode -- just moving in, envisioning new curtains, new furniture, new rugs, and more. I'm spending time on websites, dreaming if not drooling.

Fortunately, there are ways to have fun dressing up a house for very little money -- especially during a recession.  I bought a little wastebasket  for a mere $4.61 at a Going Out of Business sale yesterday.  (I'd even found the penny on the ground -- yes, things are getting obsessive around here.)

And there's Craigslist, which is as great as it is addictive. I scored some free landscape pavers from a nice woman who was moving. They're now just waiting for my grand back yard plans. Of course, you've got to act fast on those freebies -- I responded within 20 minutes, and was the first in a line of interested people. And you've got to be ready for some misfires -- like the futon whose owner truthfully promised it had hardly been used, not knowing that it had been mildewing during all that time it was rolled up in the corner.

 I've also been scouring thrift shops in hopes of the perfect wide, flat plate to serve as a bird bath on our patio. Haven't found it yet, but the quest is engaging.

In fact, when you come right down to it, I'm spending an inordinate amount of time in this post-house purchase phase . . . shopping.