5 New-Home Money Traps (And How I’m Avoiding Them)

1. The “I don’t feel like unpacking my kitchen boxes” takeout.

Fact: literally the only unpacked boxes in our apartment as I’m writing this are the kitchen ones. Right after our moving-helpers left (thanks mom and dad!) I tore into the kitchen boxes and put all of our cookware and dishes away, in addition to most of the food we moved over with us. Our first official night sleeping in our home will be today, and I didn’t want to fall into the takeout-trap and allow myself to justify it by saying “bUt ThE cOoKwArE iSn’T uNpAcKeD yEt!!!”

No bitch — you are cooking tonight, and tomorrow night!

2. Aesthetic things that aren’t necessary yet.

Important things on our “Buy This After Moving” list included a bed frame, and some blinds/curtains (since our new apartment has a ridiculous amount of windows), and a shower curtain (since we had a glass shower door in our old place). Other things on my own personal “You Don’t Need This But You’re Probably Going To Buy It Anyways!” list include decorative end tables, picture frames and artwork, a new duvet, mirrors, area rugs, pretty table lamps, an attractive-yet-functional shoe rack, etc.

The main difference between these two lists is that one of them contains things we genuinely need (like a freaking bed), and other is just shit that I’d like to acquire because I think it would look cute. None of that cherry-on-top stuff is really in our budget right now, so although I’m filling the void by keeping a running list of little home projects I’d like to work on in the coming months, I know that right now we need to focus on the important, necessary ones, and save the fun things for later.

3. The “this would look nice in my new place!” crap that actually doesn’t match any of your other belongings.

I had to go get some stuff for the dog today, and while walking through the store, I saw a bunch of random decorative items and got really excited about the idea of buying them for my ~new home~. However, our boxes literally aren’t even unpacked yet — we are nowhere near the stage of actually developing a theme for each room and deciding which furniture is going where, so I shouldn’t go buying random décor just because I’m excited to have a home again. Once the stuff we already own has a place in our home, we can figure out what accents we might want to get.

Additionally, we’re trying to focus on arranging and decorating one room at a time to prevent ourselves from getting confused and swipe-happy and buying a bunch of random stuff that we like, but doesn’t really have a place in any room. We are hoping to go room-by-room to really focus on a vision for each space and make sure all of our things make sense for us, and weren’t purchased on a whim because I was excited and thought something looked cute.

4. Replacements for things that were damaged during the move.

There inevitably will be some — for me and Drew, it ended up being a giant scratch in one of our bedside tables. Instead of going out to get new ones, we’ve decided to just cover it with a little paint or possible DIY the tops of the tables with some fun-looking contact paper. We’ll figure something out, but it certainly won’t be replacing the furniture altogether. 

5. Immediate replacements for things you tossed pre-move.

Moving is an excellent time to purge, and purge we did. However, this has left us with some gaps in our collection of belongings. We got rid of a huge amount of our kitchen things (most of which were old, broken, or disgusting) and saved just a few key pieces that we use on a regular basis to cook.

I’ve been tempted to run right out and get new, shiny versions of all the crap we tossed, but none of this is immediate — we’re better off saving money, working with what we have right now (since we saved our “everyday” stuff anyway), and getting new things only as we need them, or when we feel a bit more financially comfortable. Perhaps we’ll find that most of the junk we tossed doesn’t even need to be replaced! (Fingers crossed!)

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!

Image via Unsplash

  • Anon

    If you hired a mover, they often have insurance to pay you for things that were damaged, fyi.

  • Katie Busser

    Thanks for this! My boyfriend and I are moving into an apartment together at the end of July, and my running list of “necessities” keeps getting edited down as I realize almost everything I want is purely for ~aesthetics~. A rack to supplement our very minimal kitchen storage >> decorative pillows for the couch, probably, but I need an occasional reminder 🙂