4 Things I’m Glad I Bought For My First “Grown Up” Home

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There is a lot of required reading on TFD about moving to new places, and making sure you own all the right stuff when you first set off into adulthood. But obviously, it varies person to person. When I began to plan out my move and sift through Drew’s belongings and my own to see what gaps we needed to fill in the home that we would now share, I made a list of probably hundreds of small things that I could use, but probably didn’t really need. I have things of my own, sure, but most of them are dorm-room-chic plastic drawers and old Walmart blankets that smell like my dogs. If I had an endless budget, I probably could have replaced almost everything. It took a lot of planning, measuring, budgeting, and narrowing down to decide what purchases would actually be made in the end.

Although some of the stuff I bought were total misses (I make mistakes — I am a deeply flawed shopper at times), these four purchases are the ones I made that have contributed in the greatest way to my daily life in my new home.

These are not necessarily universally useful items — but for me, they were the things that I ended up getting for my new home that impacted my life in a much more positive way than a new set of hand towels would have. Here are the four purchases I am so glad I bought for my first “grown up” home.

1. Proper kitchen supplies.

I’m someone who loves to cook, and it is also a huge goal for me in 2017 to cook much more than I did before. Having the proper supplies (and having them properly and accessibly stored) makes me feel like I’m at home in our kitchen, rather than feeling like I’m on a little campout trying to make due with a hot plate and a plastic fork with a hot dog on the end. I got a few things as gifts and bought some others myself, but I’m so glad I did.

2. A nice, new desk.

I actually didn’t have a desk before – I had a small vanity that was hardly big enough to fit my laptop on it. I have been wanting a desk for a while (especially since I started working from home so much with TFD, and taking online classes) but never was sure it was the right time to spend money on that, since I had something that was good enough, and free (since it had previously belonged to my mother). My move was the perfect opportunity for me to invest in a piece of furniture that I would actually be able to be super organized and productive at. It felt really special for me to be able to pick it out all by myself, and get the exact one I wanted for my new little home-office that Drew and I set up. It was totally worth the money, and it is probably my favorite place in the house to sit.

3. A new yoga mat.

This one sounds a little silly, but yoga is very important to me, and I stopped doing it every day a little over a month ago for one insane reason: my dog vomited on my mat, and I felt too cheap to buy a new one, but too disgusted to clean it and keep using it. I threw the mat away, and got discouraged after I realized how difficult it is to do yoga on any surface that isn’t an exercise mat. This purchase is “extra” and unnecessary, but I cheated and used a gift card (gifted to me by my parents as a little moving present) to buy it, and I can’t even begin to describe how much better I feel in every conceivable way since I’ve gotten back to doing yoga every day again. Adding yoga back into my daily life helped me establish a new routine in my new home that made me feel comfortable.

4. Slightly pricier cleaning products.

It is easy and cheap to bounce to the local Walmart and buy off-brand cleaners for a couple bucks, and I don’t doubt their effectiveness at all. In fact, I’ve used them a bunch before, back when I was living in a dorm. However, as someone with asthma (living with someone else who has asthma – the perfect match), it is super important to me to spend a little extra on cleaners with lighter scents and less harsh chemicals to avoid triggering any bad reactions to the products.

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

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  • Winterlight

    I found it was better to spend a little more on the good blender than to buy a cheap one that breaks down. I’ve been using the same one for six years now, and the $30 I spent on it was well worth it.

    My one big tip is, beware aspirational purchases cooking. If you don’t really like rice, then the $20 rice cooker should go back on the shelf even if you think you’re going to become someone who eats steamed fish, veggies, and rice each night. Test first and see.

    • Summer

      Inner-me was convinced a few months ago that I needed a ravioli cutting tool for no other reason than I saw it on the shelf at a kitchen store and went, “oooh that looks fun!” I’ve never made from-scratch ravioli in my entire life. Would I eventually like to? Of course. Is it likely to happen to the immediate future? No. I told inner-me to hush and walked away.

      • Winterlight

        I had to forcibly stop myself from buying a set of cookie cutters last month. Yes, they’re pretty. However, I almost never make cookies and when I do they’re bar cookies, so back they went on the shelf.

    • Samantha D

      So true with the aspirational purchases point. I always think about how much healthier I would be and how much money I would save cooking everything from scratch. I bought a great crockpot that is now at the bottom of my pantry filled with grocery bags.

      • Winterlight

        I loved my crockpot when I had one, and I actually did use it enough to make it worthwhile. I’m deciding now whether to buy another one now that I’ve moved.
        I try to apply the Rick Steves packing test to buying new-to-me things.
        “Spread out everything you think you might need on the living-room floor. Pick up each item one at a time and scrutinize it. Ask yourself, ‘Will I really use my snorkel and fins enough to justify carrying them around all summer?’ ‘Not ‘Will I use them?’ but ‘Will I use them enough to feel good about hauling them over the Swiss Alps?'”
        Admittedly, I’m not hauling a crockpot over the Swiss Alps, but the principle helps me to think about whether this thing is going to enhance my life or be a pain in two months. For example, I don’t buy exercise equipment for home use because other than a single set of hand weights and a chinning bar, I won’t use them. Knowing this, that really cool set of exercise bands goes back on the shelf. (And yes, I learned this the hard way. No more home gym equipment for me.)