Creating a long-term view

As soon as our debt is paid off, we’re actually planning to take a short break before launching into active saving, but don’t worry – we’ll still be needing discipline to achieve the short-term goal we want to achieve first. And then we’ll attempt gazelle intensity again.

As I’ve said before, we care for my father-in-law in his home. This mainly just means being around and taking care of his personal business – things like paying his bills, preparing dinner so he eats properly and staving back the charities that seem to call him 6 times a day. Generally, it’s not a big commitment.

But sometimes the situation isn’t easy. For one thing, he pretty much `owns’ the lounge room zone at night ie every night he watches old movies and sits in the dark. About 7.30pm, he turns all the lights off to save money on the electricity bill, which I should applaud. But he is really wasteful in other ways – like leaving his bedroom airconditioner on with the door open all day – so it drives me crazy that we can’t leave the area for 5 minutes without the light going off (he assumes we have gone to bed). In fact, sometimes it feels like we are being `put to bed’, though I know that is not his intention! Generally, once we’ve had tea, my hubby will watch TV in our room and I’ll do some computer work/study in the office, and/or one of us puts our son to bed.

Anyway, this can mean we end up with `cabin fever’ – confined to one of two small rooms night after night. This just means that we really do have to make the parts of the house that are `ours’ comfortable, otherwise we are going to end up hating it and moving out – not a good financial move for us until we have a home deposit and not a good social move for my FIL, who needs help to live at home.

So I guess the best answer is to bite the bullet and spend a little money while we’re here. I’m mostly talking about buying some furnishings that we can take with us when/if we leave, but which will make life more comfortable in the meantime. For example, I have a study, and often I like to be able to get comfortable to read a long passage from a textbook or even a novel. I can’t use the lounge chairs because there’s always a TV blaring there (and the lights are off!) and my office chair is a bit of a back-breaker. So I think it would be good to invest in an armchair that I can keep for years, recovering it when necessary.  I could even buy it cheaply secondhand and recover immediately. Whatever I buy, I am going to test it out fully, because comfort is going to be key!

I would also like to make my study look a little more inviting. Sometimes at night, I take one look at that room and just go to bed instead. I need some storage and organisation in there, plus a few little touches to express the fact that I do, actually, have a personality. These little touches don’t have to be expensive but I think they might be necessary.

In our bedroom, it would be good to buy a cabinet to sit the TV onn – it would help tidy up all the DVD wires etc (I find that mess of wires so depressing).

Finally, we are often left with the situation of having no space to have friends over and talk to them in privacy (without old movies blaring in the same room). So we would like to pave an area out the side of the house, so we could put our outdoor setting to good use and use this as a place to have a cuppa or a glass of wine with our friends.

Doing some of this stuff would be a nice reward for getting out of debt and I think it might improve our bottom line in the long run because we may be able stick it out her longer and save a better deposit + emergency fund.

I’ll just have to make sure I stick to my (new) rules before I go shopping:

  • have the money upfront before I buy
  • ask for a discount if buying multiple items in one store and/or paying cash
  • look around for the best price, but don’t let price be the ONLY factor – I need to make sure I do end up with what I want or a happy medium

This just makes me want to pay the debt even faster!

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4 Comments »

  1. I sense there is a trip to Ikea in your near future. Remember to buy for function and not for style and that impulse shopping occurs for furniture stuff like it does for food.

    Go with a list or shop online to control your furniture wanderlust.

  2. debtfretter said

    I agree – I’ve purposely avoided furniture stores over the past 18 months, as I do get a bit excited in them – each item on its own doesn’t seem so expensive, but suddenly you’re mentally adding up the equivalent of a month’s income!!
    I am going to make a budget for each, research each item over the next 4 months of debt reduction, then buy each item as the money comes available.
    I also intend to take my husband along – he has a proven record of keeping me on track in these places!
    Thanks for the advice!

  3. Dolly Iris said

    Making it more homey for you will be good. It’s no fun to feel like you’ve got no place of your own. You need a place to relax and a place to have friend over and enjoy yourself!

  4. tehnyit said

    If Ikea furniture is your thing, I came across an Ikea furniture hacker blog that is sure to put that extra few more uses into those versatile Ikea items.

    http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/

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