It was a Friday, I remember it well. My wife and I were visiting her grandmothers house and it was a pretty relaxing weekend. I got on my phone to check my e-mail and there it was, in my inbox. An e-mail that would end up eventually costing us $300, but possibly saving us at least $599 in the long run.
My neighborhood has a classified website, where people post things that they are selling. I have seen items from coffee tables to appliances to couches to a headboard and bed frame. This Friday, in particular, the e-mail had a very intriguing post.
A couple was selling their king sized bed frame for $300. I looked at the pictures and I loved it. I showed the posting to my wife and we agreed that we would pursue the possibility of purchasing this bed frame. After e-mailing the couple and looking at the bed frame in person, we made a deal and paid $300 for our fancy bed frame (pictured below).
In this process, I was reminded of three important financial lessons.
Lesson 1: Patience
This is a simple lesson that most people don't ever grasp. Most people buy a house and feel like they have to fill every square inch with furniture right away. These people will take out a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit), just to decorate their house to impress their friends.
For example, one of my friends recently purchased a new home and had the money from their equity in their previous home rolled into their new home, so they could purchase new furniture. They couldn't wait to save up the money for that new furniture. But instead, they had to have it today and put their house at risk for furniture.
We used a different strategy and put as much of our cash as possible on the house, because we would rather be debt free than have a bunch of stuff. Instead of going on a shopping spree and decorating our house right away, we took the slow approach and purchased based on a budget each month.
We bought the essentials first (fridge, mattress and mattress frame). After those purchases, we made slow and steady purchases of household wants (such as a lawn mower, extended patio and twin bed for our daughter's room).
Interestingly prior to finding this classified ad, I had started looking for a headboard that both my wife and I would like. I found one that I really liked for $899, but I just couldn't spend that much money on a headboard.
So, we just waited, until this classified advertisement came around and we jumped at the opportunity to save $599. In the end, it was our patience to decorate the house slowly that paid off.
Lesson 2: Needs vs. Wants
I feel like this lesson connects really well with the lesson of patience. It is a decision of whether your need something or not. My wife and I understood that a headboard was not necessary for our happiness in life. It wasn't necessary for our ability to sleep.
Therefore, we didn't need a headboard in November of 2015 (when we moved into our house). For one year and two months, we slept on a bed with out a head board.
Sure, sometimes is was uncomfortable to read with my back against the wall. Sure, sometimes the bed slipped forward on the frame and my pillow fell down to the ground. These were minor inconveniences or #firstworldproblems.
You have to stop thinking that everything is necessary in a house. There are things that are necessary (bed, refrigerator, stove and a table). There are other things that are just wants (TV, Extended Patio, headboard and etc.).
Don't go into debt, because you have to have a fancy table or state of the art entertainment center. These are frivolous items and NOT NEEDED! We understood that the headboard was a want and decided that $300 was a good price to spend on a want.
Lesson 3: Don't Be Afraid to Buy Used!
Buy used and save the rest is the motto! Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of nice furniture on the showroom floors. These pieces would look nice in all of our houses, but they cost way too damn much!
The beauty with buying anything used is that the cost has decreased. It is always cheaper to buy used. My wife and I saved a boatload of money, because we were willing to buy used furniture. Think outside the box the next time you are looking for furniture. Who knows, maybe you will save $1,000 by buying used.
I really do think that my wife and I purchased a pretty fancy headboard. We love it and truly believe it was worth the wait and the $300. You don't need the newest model or the fanciest stuff.
Just, Be Patient and Buy Used!