Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nesting: House Envy

The nesting phase has officially hit.

We've been in our current house nearly 3 years. Our first house was a HUGE project. It didn't feel gratifying spending money on things like windows, insulation, drywall, furnace, and electrical work, while I saw friends buying furniture, decks, appliances, and decor. When we were house shopping (coincidentally in my 3rd trimester last time around), we saw a lot of newer turnkey places with nice kitchens and bathrooms and wood and tile flooring in our price range. They were in brand new neighbourhoods with brand new schools. But the lots were tiny and there wasn't much privacy, yet at the same time, there didn't seem like much of a sense of neighbourliness or community either. We were also looking for a walkout to the backyard from the kitchen and most of the newer places had walk out basements. Having little ones, a walk out from the main floor was particularly appealing so we could see them if they were playing in the back yard without always having to go out ourselves or be in the basement.

The kitchen walkout was a good call! The boys spend a lot of time in the backyard.
When our realtor showed us our house, we fell in love with the large backyard and the abundance of green space compared to what we had seen in newer neighbourhoods. There were also kids everywhere and adults actually chatting in driveways. Our house was 10 years old so we still had awhile before major repairs and although the kitchen and bathrooms were standard builders grade and left much to be desired and the paint colour and decor was hideous, the house was functional and we were excited to not have to spend time and money on the mundane projects and be able to do fun updates. So we kicked back, relaxed, and settled in.. we hired a painter to paint the main floor and upstairs hallway, we did a small bathroom update project on the main floor, tiled the kitchen floor, built a deck, tackled the boys bedrooms, and are almost done the nursery.

But I still feel a twinge of jealousy when I see friends posting photos of stellar nurseries (not that ours won't be nice) and entertaining with their new furniture and upgraded kitchens. It feels silly though because having the same is totally within reach, we just haven't made upgrades to our house a priority. Instead, we've chosen to do other things like go on vacations, get a vacation spot up north, and try to pay off debt a little more quickly and I don't think we're willing to make concessions on any of those things to undertake expensive renovations right now - especially when I'm soon going to be off work. We'll just have to keep plugging away at small projects as we can afford them.  One of my carry over goals for this year that I didn't make much progress on last year was to make our house a home.  I'm hoping that this year while I'm off with the baby I can tackle some of the smaller inexpensive projects around the house that will make a big difference.


Stephanie Hayes said...

It's so hard not to get jealous but then I think... those people with the fancy new shit probably didn't actually buy it with their own money, more like credit. So in the long run, you're going to be better off by making smarter decisions in your life now so that you can live a fuller life with the things you want later. Plus nurseries are for suckers! How often do babies actually spend in those rooms using that stuff :P ?

Amanda said...

Jealousy sucks! It happens to me sometimes too but like Stephanie said, I wonder how much of it people are actually paying cash for and that makes me feel better. I also have a pretty cushy life compared to others so I try to remember that as well. The kitchen walkout is a great feature! We had to build steps for our back door (which we postponed for the first few years living here) but it's so nice to be able to walk right out to the backyard now. :)

Kristy said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I tend to think the same about people putting all that stuff on credit. I used to find it so easy to charge things to credit without even thinking about it and then found it stressful and frustrating to pay it back after the fact. Funny thing is, ever since committing to reducing debt, I've had trouble justifying spending money on ANYTHING. Even to replace our leaky coffee pot (I just hold it over the sink to pour) or replace the shower curtain that has a hole in it (water doesn't spray out onto the floor). We've been pretty good about saving up and paying for things like our Disney trip but it even hurt paying out that saved money. Sigh! And yes, nurseries are so for suckers! We've never really gone beyond the basics - furniture (same set going on its 3rd round) and paint. No fancy crib bedding sets for us, mobiles, or other baby decor. It just feels so awkward to go against the grain if that makes any sense. Even family members think we've skimped on toys, etc. for the boys and think we must be "hard up" when we're really not at all.

Mo said...

I hear ya Kristy, and we have a brand new home! We didn't do the extra upgrades when we bought it, and it's a small 3 bedroom, soon to have 4 people living in it. But it's our home, so I love it. And yes, most of those pictures you see, or houses you visit, how many are working towards paying off debt like you? How many are swimming in huge credit card bills every month just to afford that perfect looking house?! Probably many of them.

And yes, we get looks/comments from family friends too thinking we must be so hard done by because we have so little compared to them...we feel we are fine, and that's all that matters! LOVE your approach to raising those boys of yours!

Kristy said...

It always seems easy to look at others or yourself and see what you don't have but harder to see what you do. I like your comment "we feel we are fine". You're absolutely right. If spending out on things we don't really need or want to keep up appearances creates financial stress then are we really fine then?

You guys are all making me feel much better. If we took out a loan to redo the kitchen, I'd probably regret it when the "newness" wore off and we were stuck footing monthly payments (especially when things will already be much tighter budget-wise with me not working when this baby arrives). There's also a lot to be said for delayed gratification too. By spreading out purchases and renovation works, we'll get pleasure each time a small project is completed.