Hump Day Headlines: Spending Wisely

A funny thing occurred to me this week.  I realized that, since we started down our ultra frugal, early retirement path, we also started changing our habits.  Changed habits led us to devise new strategies for having fun without spending our dough.  This line of thought stimulated our creative thinking and resulted in new hobbies, on the cheap!  Real cheap, like, FREE.  However, we have a big project coming up that isn’t going to be cheap.  We’re finishing our basement for extra living space.  Trust us, we need it.

Weekend Recap

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My Delicious Mocha Latte

It’s weird to think that just three short weeks ago we were on our honeymoon.  *sigh*  Enough about that, this week was an awesome week for us.  School and work went off without a hitch and Mini Monster got an A+ on her spelling test (challenge words this week!).  Can she get a woot woot?!  We spent our Saturday getting chores done and cleaning.  Even our fridge looks great (no clutter, other than our Heisenberg decal and a cool magnet.  duh.).  We even went out for Sunday Brunch.  Don’t worry, we had a wedding gift card for a local, trendy spot that we’ve been dying to try on for size.  It did not disappoint.  Because it was FREE, we indulged.  Our brunch bill with tip was $80.  Hehe.  But it was nice.  Here’s a pic of my super snooty Mocha Latte.  Yummy.  After brunch, Mr. Money Monster and I skipped around town (isn’t that an awesome visual imagine?) scouring antique shops for items to make our house our dream home!  Later that day we enjoyed homemade popcorn and a scary movie.  Free.  Good times.

Spending Wisely

As I mentioned in earlier posts, we have decided to finish our basement!  After countless months of debate and financial worry, we decided this was the most inexpensive solution for our square footage deficiency.  Other options included:  Buying bigger (yikes!), building our dream house (this was a pipe dream, but fun to think about it), building an addition (way too costly), or finishing our basement.  Because we have now decided to stay put and be fiscally responsible adults *ahem* I am really excited about making our current home our dream home 🙂  This weekend was spent cleaning and organizing and making plans for the Mad Money Monster Castle.  We even met with our builder to have plans completed for our lower level.  We have 1300SF to work with beneath our feet and we’re planning to use every square inch.  Finishing our basement will yield a total of 2500SF of living space (not including a storage area).  And, our taxes won’t budge (currently sitting pretty at $3400/yr).  When we were under contract to buy the mold house, we were looking at a huge expense to purchase a home that was only slightly bigger at 2700SF.  Plus, the taxes were a heart-stopping $7500/yr.  Like I admitted before, it would’ve been financial suicide.

Free Is Awesome, But Sometimes You Need To Spend Cash

Because we’re excited about making our home a castle, we’re also making minor improvements upstairs, too.  Why?  We want to feel wonderful in this house for the next few decades.

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Mad Money Cat In Our Completely Awful TV Stand

One of the things that needs improved is our TV stand.  I hate it.  Yes, hate is a strong word, but it is warranted in this situation.  It shows every wire and speck of dust in the vicinity.  This was an earlier photo, when we had a cable box.  As a minimalist, it almost drives me to insanity.  This is one thing that has been on the chopping block for years.  Ultimately, I want our plasma mounted on the wall, a new stand for components, and a decorative mantel.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything for components at any of the shops this weekend, Mr. MM isn’t super handy at constructing stuff, and we don’t have anything on hand that could be re-purposed for this.  So, what did we do?  We stopped into a furniture shop and found an awesome deal on a stand in their budget section.  Score!  Yes, we spent money.  But, the TV stand will last us for countless years to come and our home truly is our castle.  Spending money on home improvements (within reason) is value added to our family.  This is one of our exceptions.

The Mantel

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100 Year-Old Beam For Our Mantel.  FREE.

One of the biggest pieces I wanted to make our upstairs family room complete was a mantel.  We don’t have a fireplace upstairs, but I still want the mantel as a decorative feature to the room.  My desire was to have an old thick beam…another thing we were looking for in the antique shops.  We spent all day without finding one.  Finally, as a last resort, I called my brother-in-law who is a collector of antiques.  Within 30 minutes we had a 5′ long, 4″ wide, and 8″ deep, 100 year-old beam for our mantel.  FREE!  Mini Monster and I have been busy Shellac-ing it up to prepare it for mounting.  Our goal is to have this home improvement project completed before the turkey goes into the oven!  We’ll keep you posted!

Show Me The Money!

We really love not spending our money and investing for the future.  But, there are things that each person values that are deemed worthy of a few bucks.  For us, that thing is finishing our basement and improving our home.  For others, it could be an Everest Expedition.  What do you think is deserving of your hard-earned cash?

Where Does Your Money Go?  And How Do You Decide When It Is OK To Spend?

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Handsome Pic Of Mad Money Cat

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Lisa is the creator and resident writer at Mad Money Monster. She's a mother, scientist, and financial guru on a mission to save Generation X from working until they die!

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12 comments… add one
  • Blogger Nov 19, 2015, 12:32 am

    I’ve always been weird about spending money. It’s been hard to let loose with spending money, even when I am saving a significant amount. With that being said, I love spending money on family and seeing loved ones!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 19, 2015, 8:49 am

      Yeah, sometimes spending money (even if it’s on our home) makes me nuts. But, I do love making home improvements, and since we DO save a bunch and spend a lot of time in our home…we feel it adds value to our lives. 🙂

  • MrFireStation Nov 18, 2015, 2:38 pm

    We built our house 6 years ago, but are constantly doing projects/improvements. We budget a set amount each year for “capital improvements” and then walk the house looking for potential projects. Each year we update the list (usually in January when the house looks bare after the Christmas tree goes down) and “negotiate” a bit with each other on what gets done in what order.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 19, 2015, 8:45 am

      I like the idea of setting aside money each year for Capital Improvements! Last year we almost made an enormous mistake of buying a huge house we really couldn’t afford. After that fell through (thanks to mold) we took a long hard look at our finances and decided to go for the early retirement gold and decided to finish our basement instead of buying bigger. I do think we’ll start incorporating capital improvements into our annual outlook. Thanks for the tip!

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Nov 18, 2015, 11:45 am

    We enjoyed our home improvement projects and learned a lot in the process, so we’ve spent a lot of $ in this area in our pre-frugal lives that we wouldn’t spend today–I’m only for projects that add to our quality of life nowadays. But it’s debt, debt, debt today, so all of our $ goes to paying off debt!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 19, 2015, 8:40 am

      I absolutely agree. Anything we do to our home improves its value AND our quality of life. We love making our home a real retreat 🙂

  • Maggie Nov 18, 2015, 10:47 am

    Home improvement projects are part of a lifestyle of improving your life. We’ve done plenty over here (and are still working on all the work to get the Alaska State Energy Rebate), but we love it all and have saved so much money doing it ourselves! Finishing the basement sounds like an awesome plan! Good Luck!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 19, 2015, 8:24 am

      Thanks for the well wishes. Unfortunately, Mr. MM and I aren’t skilled enough to tackle finishing the basement ourselves. But, we do have a reputable builder who isn’t going to charge us an arm and a leg for the work. I love my home and I love making it a special retreat for our family. Although we are spending money, in my opinion, it is money well spent 🙂

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