The Spending Diary of a First Time Buyer.
It’s been three months since we bought our first home, and it’s safe to say, the honeymoon period isn’t over yet.
Since the moment we set eyes on the house we had ideas of how to transform the place and really make it ours. I wanted to turn each and every room into a Pinterest haven, while my other half was more concerned with turning the garage into a home-pub… standard.
Despite our visions of the perfect home beings worlds apart (and didn’t we know it!), there is one thing we could both agree on. It was going to cost.
While I left him and his ‘pub’ to it, I kept a spending diary over the first eight weeks of living in our new home. This diary includes all the things I bought, all the things I prioritised and every time I compromised on something I insisted I needed (even if it did mean living off soup for a week).
5th Feb 2019: We order our sofa online. Two of my friends have the same one, so although inexpensive, I know it’s going to be nice. Corner-shaped and grey. What more could I ask for? Anything to get rid of our 15-year-old bright pink one which my mother claims is vintage, when it’s actually just old.
10th Feb 2019 (COMPLETION & MOVE IN DAY): We may as well set up camp in B&Q. Between us, we visit seven times today. Seven. (Clearly, we should have written a list). We even bump into our sellers in the paint aisle. Seems they have the same idea.
I head home with paint testers, paint brushes and paint rollers. I’m creating a feature wall in our new bedroom. We argue over the colour, but I do it my way anyway.
12th Feb 2019: I’ve taken a week off work. I’ve got to go back to my old flat to give it a top to bottom clean for the next tenants (boring). I pick up some cleaning products and rent a Rug Doctor from Tesco. Two days later the flat is finally spotless, despite every muscle in my body now aching.
14th Feb 2019: Despite the fact it’s Valentine’s day, I head on a shopping haul. Ikea. Homesense. Asda Living. Matalan (who said romance isn’t dead?). I come home with a kitchen bin, wood utensils, a non-stick frying pan (hallelujah), a shoe rack, hanging drawers for inside the wardrobe (so I don’t actually have to hang things up), coat hangers (that I’ll rarely use), toothbrush holder and towels.
Inexpensive, but ‘necessary’ buys.
15 Feb 2019: We head to Aldi for a food shop. We come back with an outdoor fire pit. Maybe not quite as necessary but, I like s’mores.
16th Feb 2019: We’re bought a BBQ as a moving in present by the in-laws. Just what we’ve been excited for – we can now put the garden to good use! It was in the sale at ASDA, that saves us £80.
Total: +£80 (kind of)
17th Feb 2019: Now time to kit out the kitchen. Our kettle is dated and old and suddenly looks out of place next to our shiny new kitchen. It’s time for an upgrade. A trip to Currys and a Russell Hobbs later, I’m £40 down.
10th March 2019: Our first mortgage payment comes out. The initial payment is always more than the rest they tell me. They’re right.
Total: £1160. Gulp.
11th March 2019: After much dispute with our previous lettings agent, we agree for them to deduct £525 from the deposit on the flat we are moving out of (sickening). The landlord needs to replace the sink due to a hairline fracture, and repaint some scuffs on the walls. The charge seems slightly on the high side, but we’re fed up of arguing and settle for the sake of getting it done and dusted.
Total: £450 + £75 for check out fee (cough cough, con)
13th March 2019: With the remainder of the returned deposit I pay my Dad back who lent me money to pay for the solicitor’s fees. £560. What was an initial rush of excitement at the thought of getting my £1000 deposit back quickly drains…
I sign up for house and contents insurance. £20 a month. (Another bill, yawn)
14th March 2019: I make an adult move. I switch my electricity suppliers. According to uSwitch, I’ve just saved myself £300 a year (kerrrching). I go from Scottish Power to Bulb. I’m really impressed with the ease of the experience and Bulb’s eco-friendly offering. I feel smug.
MONTH ONE TOTAL: £2,896 (Plus Bills: £345)
16th March 2019: I take a trip back to my hometown for the weekend. I head to a super cute artisan florist on the outskirts of town where I pick up my Pinterest essentials. Cheese plant, cactus, a string of hearts and dried flowers.
17th March 2019: My phone bill comes through. It’s extra this month. HOW DOES IT STILL TAKE SO LONG FOR WIFI PROVIDERS TO MIGRATE TO YOUR NEW ADDRESS?! I’ve been 4G-ing it for weeks and have racked up my bill. £25 turns into £50.
19th March 2019: Call us Millennials but we don’t have a TV. We’ve got a projector. However, we haven’t actually been able to use it for the last month as we didn’t have a shelf to put it on. I was being fussy and was determined to find some reclaimed wood to make one. This, is harder than it sounds.
We finally find one in a reclamation yard. We barter down the price (for what is essentially a scrap piece of scaffold wood and in my opinion, should have been free).
23rd March 2019: I order some industrial style shelf brackets on Amazon. Two hours later I realise I ordered them to my work address… on the weekend. My desperation to catch up on First Dates and Gogglebox takes over and I order the same pair again. To the correct address this time. I’ll pick the others up next week and use them for a shelf in my bedroom.
25th March 2019: The cashback from our mortgage provider hits my bank, but this is more money I owe my Dad for helping out with the move. I transfer it over to him. Easy come. Easy go.
30th March 2019: I’ve budgeted well this month (somehow!). I have more than expected left over. I buy a home security camera we’ve been talking about for ages. Mainly to watch the dog. Obvs.
1st April 2019: After weeks of searching for curtains, I realise I’ve been doing it all wrong. Who knew there was a special mathematical formula (NOT exaggerating) for measuring curtains. No wonder I couldn’t find any to fit. Once I finally figure out the dimensions I actually need (thanks Argos blog) I click and collect from Asda.
6th April 2019: Another trip to Ikea. It’s becoming a regular weekend outing. I buy lots of bits and bobs, a curtain pole (which I accidentally leave in the trolly in the car park) and a lampshade which is considerably too large for every room in my house (reminder to self: I have a two bed 90’s build and not a Victorian mansion) that I end up returning. A slightly less successful trip.
Total: £52 minus the £40 for the returned light shade
7th April 2019: Now for a sensible purchase. A Shed.
Total: £147. (That’s £147 I’d rather be spending on cute interiors, but the lawnmower on my landing tells me otherwise….)
8th April 2019: More curtains for the guest room (my guests can now sleep beyond 5am).
9th April 2019: I come home from work to find my other half has varnished the shed. It looks terrible. Blinded by his poor handy work, I’m forced to buy paint in an attempt to cover up his misjudgement in wood stain.
10th April 2019: Despite feeling organised with my bills, a bill from the original energy supplier comes through for the days before we closed the account and made the switch.
Total: £61 (and £61 I hadn’t planned for either)
13th April 2019: I really should stop spending at this point, but ‘weekend me’ has other ideas. We head to the garden centre to get some plant pots and artificial topiary balls for either side of the front door. They look good at least, even if my bank balance doesn’t.
15th April 2019: Our second mortgage payment comes out. It’s the standard amount this time.
MONTH TWO TOTAL: £1,749.50 (Plus Bills: £345)
To find out more about our consumer insight research into unlocking the spending power of home movers, explore here.