Couple Money header image ≡ Menu

New Home Expenses: What We Spent, What We Saved

It’s been quiet here because we’ve been busy with the new townhouse and we had guests in town this weekend. This past Friday we moved into our new place and we’re loving it so far. We’ve been working hard to get this feeling more like our home than just an all white generic house on the block.

I’m proud to say it does feel more comfy and while we’ve had to spend some money doing it, we’ve also saved quite a bit of money by being frugal. Where did we spend? Where did we save?

Buying a house is not cheap!

Buying a house is not cheap!

Moving Tip #1 – Painting Supplies and Tools

We wanted to paint the place before we got the big furniture in so we had a painting party and invited some of our friends. We’re fortunate that some not only volunteered their time, but also their painting supplies and tools. It helped us significantly and we were very grateful for their help.

Here’s a breakdown of what we bought and what we borrowed:

  • Paint: We picked out the paints at Sherwin Williams and Lowe’s.
  • Brushes and rollers: Our friends provided the rollers and brushes, we just had to buy
  • Trays: Friends provided these as well. We just have to return them clean.
  • Rags
  • Painting extension pole: This helpful tool was loaned to us by a friend.
  • Hammer and screwdrivers: We already had a tool kit that we’ve used for small repairs around the apartment.
  • Drop cloth:Again, friends helped with this and it has definitely been helpful.
  • Paint Can Opener: We grabbed this at Lowe’s for 35 cents.

Moving Tip #2- Paying for Movers?

This wasn’t something we took lightly. Our first instinct was having some friends and family over to help us move, but after looking at the amount of work and the time needed to coordinate it, we went with movers. We were moving from a 3rd floor apartment and going to a 3 floor townhouse.

The moving company was charging $100/hr so we knew our goal was to minimize the time needed to move. We went ahead the night before  and we boxed and disassembled everything we could before they came. We were also grateful that the new place was less than 10 miles away, so the commute between places was going to eat up a lot of time.

I’m happy to say that the movers came and worked quickly to load, transport, and unload our stuff. It took them 2 1/2 to get everything in place, which was much less than what it would’ve taken us based on our previous move.

Moving Tip #3 -Blinds & Curtains at Lowe’s

We decided against bundling the blinds with buying the place because, like the other options, it seemed over priced. We went down to Lowe’s to get some blinds for the house.

We kept our curtains from the apartment for the office and guest room. The good news is since we have neutral colors for the curtains, we have some more options on what to paint the rooms. We’re also looking at ways to re purpose some things to cut costs on decorating.

Moving Tip: What about You?

Do you have any moving tips? What expenses did you splurge on? Where did cut back and save money?

Photo Credit: mescon

by Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

Get Free Email Updates

Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you the latest post from Couple Money to your inbox, free.



I take your privacy very seriously and do not share your email.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. Buying a house ain’t cheap you’re right! You’ll feel so good once you’re done.

    Nice pick of the Painted Ladies off Alamo Square Park in San Francisco! :)

  2. @FS: We’re going to wait until we get our tax refund for the next phase of painting. We have all the big rooms done.
    Picking pictures for the site basically is a chance for me to share photos that I love. :D

  3. I have said it before and I will say it again, hiring movers was the best thing my wife and I did the last time we moved. Professionals are more efficient and work quicker, plus it is one less stressful thing to worry about when moving.

    I loathe painting, it is a necessary evil though I guess. When did loans start charging for paint can openers? They used to give those away for free along side the stir sticks. Guess the economy is getting to them.

  4. We just moved into our new home in July…next projects involve landscaping and blinds. We have nothing going on because we have no money for anything. On moving, we had family friends with truck and trailer and got it all moved for free. Can’t beat that.

  5. Buying a house ain’t cheap, and sometimes neither is selling one!

    We didn’t really splurge on anything big, and we did whatever we could ourselves. We only moved about 20 miles, so we rented a moving van and did all the packing and lugging of boxes and furniture ourselves, with a little help from our fiends. ;-)

    We splurged on dinners our and take out for the first week or so, but other than that it was one day at a time making our home truly ours. It’s amazing what a couple of gallons of paint can do!

  6. @Kyle: Considering how slow we were with the last move, hiring movers has been wonderful.

    @Ken& Joe: Hope you guys fed your friends and family for their hard work! We saved the beer until AFTER the painting was done :)

    Painting and blinds are our big ‘additions’ to the new place. Besides not wanting to spend money on buying new furniture, we’d rather try something a it different. A friend offered to help us redo our dinner table and chairs. It’ll be neat to have a project to try out.

  7. My girlfriend’s sister is buying a condo and I think she has no idea about how much it costs to upkeep a home. I should send her this post.

    On a side note, I’ve been to that park in the picture. I love San Fran.

    Good stuff!

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

  8. Congrats on the new house!

    We’ve been relocated three times in the last decade. In our case the movers are covered but when it comes to getting the house ready we do it all ourselves. I picked up a used commercial paint sprayer. It takes a little more prep to tape and such but once that is done you can knock out the entire house in less than a couple days. It was the best $150 I’ve ever spent.

  9. A tad more extreme than your example: We moved 1,500 miles. Ugh. The main way we saved money was by voluntarily getting rid of things. A lot of things. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment but had stuff everywhere. And the cheapest option we could get was still $1,100 so we went with it. Despite it being a 6′x7′x8′ cube.

    So we pared WAY down. Sold off, donated, etc. It’s amazing how many possessions stop being treasured when you’re looking at these kind of restrictions. Honestly, if our mattress weren’t so expensive to replace (memory foam), I would have just sold everything and shipped whatever we couldn’t carry. But between the mattress and couch, it made sense to go ahead and pack stuff.

    We also saved by driving down rather than flying. It wasn’t fun, except right before we got to Phoenix, when we took a detour to the Painted Desert. But we found cheap hotels (think under $50 a night) and bombed out the driving in about 4 days. Between it and gas, we still paid the equivalent of maybe one airline ticket.

    We also hired movers. I was all for doing it ourselves, but my husband put his foot down. Early September in Phoenix (low 100s), with a chronic-fatigue wife who is heat intolerant… He knew he’d end up carting most of the stuff himself. So I gritted my teeth and paid $400 (3-hour minimum) for what took the guys about 30-45 minutes to unload. And it was SO worth it.

    Otherwise, we saved by going and getting furnishings (since we had left so many behind) at thrift stores and off Craigslist. We got a water cooler & jug for $55. (Halfway through the second month, we’d already made our money back by not having a water service.) We got 2 floor lamps and 3 regular ones for $30 from some guy going out of town. (Phoenix apartments don’t have many overhead lights.) And, having bought one nice cherry wood (looking) end table at a thrift store, we just scouted several more until we found some other items that more or less matched: a coffee table and side table. I think, at most, we paid $50 for all three.

  10. @Abigail: Thanks for sharing your long distance move and tips. We felt hiring movers was the right choice for this move. We just didn’t have the time to handle the big furniture move and everything. You got some deals with your furniture. :D