We moved from our birthplace, the rainy, grey, majestic Pacific Northwest, to a place that couldn’t be more opposite- Phoenix Arizona. We bought a new home and settled into the desert with its pungent reds and penetrating sun. A home purchase and moving comes with a lot of temptation. Temptation to buy things and sign up for services is real.
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5 things we didn’t need to spend money on for our new home
We said ‘Yes’ to a renovation, furniture purchases, and fixing the electrical that was a serious fire hazard. We proudly said ‘No’ to the following things:
ADT Security System
When we moved into the home, the previous owners had ADT security set up. A large transformer box was in the hall closet and every time a door opened it beeped (loudly). The sales rep dropped by every week to try and sell us the monthly system for about $60 a month without any kind of video surveillance. We said no.
Our neighborhood is in a safe area with a low crime rate, so security is not a huge concern. Still, we wanted the home insurance discount and way to watch the back alley behind our home. We purchased the Eufy camera system on sale and doorbell. It’s a self-monitored system that alerts you of motion through an app on the phone. The entire set up cost us $300- for life. If we had gone with ADT, this would have cost us $720 a year.
Our very kind neighbors recommended we hire landscapers to help with the yard upkeep. In the PNW, we knew our plants and how to care for the yard. Here, the cacti are fierce and the palm trees in our back yard are very tall. We will admit we considered it, only out of a complete lack of knowledge for the vegetation that exists here. It costs $80 a month to have the landscapers come out once a month to trim the plants (we have no grass), spray for weeds and do some general care. We said no.
We purchased a large backpack sprayer on Amazon for $55. We found weed killer that was safe for animals at Costco for $20. This combined with YouTube is helping us with the new yard maintenance. Thankfully, the previous owners did a native plant landscape so we are able to save our water bill. This saves us $890 a year.
Our new home has a pool. (Yes, we feel like we are living in luxury.) Pool services cost anywhere from $90- $120 per month. The previous owner’s service cost $100 a month and the pool service came out once a week. Again, we were tempted to opt into this service since we had no clue how to care for a pool. After some of our own research on pool care, we said no.
We bought a pool test kit for $15 and watched a million (exaggeration I know) YouTube videos to figure out the chemicals. We also talked to the local pool store owner who offered to test our water for free anytime. Then we turned to Reddit pool forums to figure out where to purchase safe chemicals for an affordable price. Turns out Walmart has the best deal on liquid chlorine with no additives. It costs $8 for a three gallons. We will use one gallon every week to two weeks. The chemicals have all been maintained so far.
The pool had pop-ups for self-cleaning, but they were broken. Charles figured out how to fix them by purchasing a few new pool parts at the store for $90. Then he optimized the pool cycle schedule to run during off-peak electricity times. All of this combined with brushing the pool ourselves and emptying the basket is saving us some serious money.
Scorpions are real here folks. We found one floating in our pool and it did creep me out. I will take spiders any day. Pest control costs about $100 for treatment every three months. This adds up to about $400 a year for pest control. We said ‘no’ and decided to handle the scorpions ourselves.
Remember that backpack sprayer we bought for the weeds? We are using it for the pest control as well. The concentrate cost us $55, but it should last the full year. It kills scorpions and their food (other bugs). As much as I don’t love spraying outside for bugs, I do not want our dog getting stung in the middle of the night by a scorpion and I don’t want to encourage snakes to come into our yard looking for dinner (they eat the scorpions and big bugs). So I agreed to the spray.
New floors and Faux beams
We decided to renovate a few parts of the home when we purchased it. We were lucky to have a lower offer accepted on the home and keep some cash for this project. Our budget was $25,000, but it’s looking like we spent about $30,000. We hired a contractor. He met our budget and did a ton of work. He raised the kitchen ceiling, painted, had new electrical done throughout the home (fire hazard), tore down a wooden shed (termite food), put new siding on one part of the home, put in new cabinets and countertops, gutted the master bath and gave us a new one, and put in a new shower and fixtures in the guest bath. It was a huge renovation.
That said, we said ‘no’ to my faux beams for the sunken living room and new floors in the carpeted portions of the home. We had to stay on a budget which means we needed to knock some items off the ‘want’ list.
We are NOT perfect new homeowners
We caved on some furniture purchases that could have waited. We were eager to explore our neighborhood and went out to eat a few more times than our dining budget allowed. We went over budget in certain areas and we do not tout to be perfect with our money. If you have ever moved and done a reno, you probably know that it feels like bleeding money. However, we are proud to have said no to all the subscription services and find a way to DIY most things. 🙂
Agree 100% that you should live in a house for a bit to make sure that the fixes you want are really what you want. We moved into a condo 3 months ago that needs updating, but decided to live in it for a while before any big projects. I’m liking it more and more. While it still needs updating, I have a much better idea what we should splurge on or skip.
Such good reminders about how quickly new subscription services can add up! Those businesses definitely understand how stressed out and overwhelmed new homeowners feel when they are just moving in, and capitalize on that by pressing you to simplify your life and just have it taken care of.