House Budget So Far

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that we bought the entire Lowe’s paint department on Friday night.

Lowe's Cart

I should note that I have no idea if this is the correct amount of paint.

Why did we buy 11 individual gallons of paint in the same color? I’m glad you asked.

Apparently they were out of 5-gallon tubs of the paint + primer base they needed to mix our interior wall color, so they had to mix them all individually. My annoyance turned to jubilation when the paint guy offered to give us a $3 discount per gallon for our trouble. It turned back into annoyance when the guy at the register took half an hour to ring us up because he insisted on moving all of the cans off of the flat, and would then scan them one by one and manually key in the discount before placing each can back on the flat. I somehow resisted the urge to be like, “There are 11 of these and they call cost the same so JUST KEY IN THE DAMN QUANTITY, MAN.” Yet I remained silent until the bitter end, when he rewarded me for my patience by accidentally voiding the order, forcing him to start the process all over again from the top.

When we finally made it to the parking lot after Act 2 of “Even More Boring Than Watching Paint Dry,” we realized he had charged us for an extra gallon of paint, plus $50 for the ice maker that was supposed to come free with our refrigerator. We prevailed, but not before having to traipse back into the store two more times.

At first I was kind of freaking out about how much money we spent that night, but once I broke it all down I realized we got a ton of stuff. Plus we got a 5% discount by opening a Lowe’s credit card. Anyway, I decided to keep a running tally of our expenditures here on the blog, partly to keep us on track and partly because I thought it might be a helpful resource for anybody wondering how much they might need to spend to fix up a house. (Answer: Way more than you have.) So here’s the rundown so far, rounded to the nearest dollar because I hate numbers:

Paint/primer (13 gallons total): $310
Wood laminate flooring (28 boxes): $980
Flush mount ceiling fan: $57
Paint brushes/rollers/tape: $30
Two-pack of hallway light fixtures: $18
Shower head: $44
Spackle compound: $4
Refrigerator: $598
Total: $2,041

The final two big-ticket items we plan to buy are a sectional couch and carpet for the bedrooms. We’re going to try and find matching remnants to lower the cost of the carpeting, since it turns out it’s not as cheap as we thought it was. And speaking of not cheap, I found out yesterday that the city is charging us a $100 “new account setup fee” to change the water service to our name.


And before you lecture me, I know how municipal fees work, and I’m sure that money will be going toward something really important. Like buying refreshments for the next city council meeting where they will decide to charge us $100 per month to park in our own driveways. I did have to laugh when I saw the “reduced fee schedule” for those with financial hardships, though – it is literally $2 less per month. THANK GOD I’ll have a support system in place should I find myself in a financial emergency that could be abated by saving an extra $24 per year.

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