Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The temptation to splurge on 'projects' - or spending money on home maintenance

I am struggling with the urge to buy things at the moment. It is all very well for me to get our day-to-day bills down to a minimum, which I've proudly done - and the process continues; yesterday J. negotiated a better deal for us for phone and internet for the next year - but that is of limited use if our one-off spending is high.  The problem for me comes in 'projects'.  Once a project is undertaken - and it can be anything, but is almost always something to do with the house - budgets and plans can go out of the window.  

Until a month or two ago, we had done very little to our house for some time.  Then, our fridge broke, and we decided to replace it with a beautiful, though expensive fridge which we will aim to keep forever. (I am very happy with this decision.)   

Next, we finally got around to getting a plumber to replace our dripping kitchen tap with one bought months' earlier.  Once that was done, we asked him to come back to fix our leaking bath, which he will do today.  He will also replace a cracked wash basin for us.   

We had to repair the fence between us and our neighbours - it is our responsibility - and while we were doing that, decided to get a quote to replace the garden gate which was rotting away. The price was reasonable, and so we went ahead.  

I am determined that we should stop here, having dealt with the main niggles, although the temptation is to carry on; we could add a sink to the washing machine area, we could build the bookshelves we have been talking about for years, we could get blackout blinds for our room to keep out the early morning sunshine which currently seeps through.  

And as I was hoovering this morning, I found myself casting a critical eye over some of our carpets, thinking that some of them could do with being replaced, and others with a professional clean.....

In my view, there are several problems.  One is the slippery slope; once a psychological barrier has been broken, it is only too easy to break it again.  Secondly, the imperfections that you get into the habit of ignoring daily - like being restricted to showers rather than baths for months at a time, or the fact that the kitchen tap drips - suddenly spring into focus when other work is done.   Finally, there's an illogical part of me which deep down feels that money spent on the house is acceptable because it is an 'investment'.  There's an element of truth in this, of course, but it is an argument to be used with caution.

Although I recognise it is bad housekeeping on my part, as well as wasteful of water, to leave dripping taps and cracked wash basins un-mended, there may be something to be said for an ability to live with less than perfect conditions.  I need to put my critical faculties away and be happy with what I have, while distinguishing between what needs to be done, and what it would be nice to do some time.  


  1. Sorry for the delayed response; have been having problems replying to comments. I am VERY glad not to be alone in this.