July 20, 2010

It was worth the wait

In the whole of my existence, I have never had a credit card.

Not ever.

And neither has my husband.

We have never bought anything we couldn't pay for in whole, up front. Well, except for our car when we needed an extra seat for baby number four (which is now thankfully paid off) and of course, our house.

My husband finished his master's degree in engineering and we left school two years ago with three small children, no debt, and pretty much all the same furniture that we had when we first got married.

We bought our first house, this house, over a year ago.

I have often joked with my husband that we have a nice house and no furniture to put in it, and does that make us weird?

I have NEVER been embarrassed by the fact that our kids sleep on mattresses on the floor (hey, at least I don't have to worry about them falling off the bed!) or that my kitchen table is plastic, and it folds (at least the kids can't put fork holes in it) or that we had one, solitary couch in our living room. The financial peace was worth it.

Having a decent savings was more important than having new stuff and our families situations were such that there was no hand-me-down furniture to pass along.

The problem arises when we have company over. "So um... would you like a pillow for your spot on the floor?"

Makes for a bit of an awkward situation.

We have been saving up for couches for quite a while now and were about half-way there when it came.

A surprise check in the mail! *gasp* For us? Really?

Apparently we have been paying too much on our mortgage so they had cut us a check back.

I was ecstatic! No truly, I 'm pretty sure I danced over to my husband that night to show him all while singing that we could finally get some couches!

Since we had been looking for some for the last couple months, we already knew which ones we wanted, and we got a pretty good deal on them.

They arrived last Friday and we excitedly brought them in. I was in love.

But now that we had a couch AND a loveseat, it threw our whole layout off. It needed something else, you know?

I thought a big bookcase would do the trick as I LOVE books and have quite a few!

Not being able to find one I liked, I started looking at hutches on craigslist and low and behold, I found one! It was as if it was made, just for me. I L.O.V.E. it!

Since we had money left over from our check, we got it!

BEFORE: Our one couch that we've had since we first got married, a TV that was a gift from a family friend that sat on a wood... thingy made by my husband back in high school.

AFTER: Our new couches and hutch! YEA!

Obviously the room still needs some work, like cute things on the shelves (bonus for being a female blogger, we get to say words like "cute") maybe a plant in the corner, pictures, etc.

But baby steps you know, patience. I know we'll get there eventually.

For now, I'm just loving our new living room!

It was SO worth the wait.

49 super cool people speak:

Hil said...

We are the same way... all hand me down furniture here in our little apartment. We don't like "buying" things we don't have money for, so we don't. I'm so glad to see here that it is totally worth the wait. Love the couches and the hutch! Yay for you!

Nikki said...

Hello! I'm a new blog stocker. Love your blog. We are still using one love seat and a chair in our living room. No sight of couches in the future but I LOVE your new living room. Those couches are awesome! Congratulations!

Gina said...

You are my inspiration!

We kind of lived life backwards- had real jobs, real money, and used credit to literally build our credit scores and earn rewards points.

Then my husband lost his job, we spent 8 months unemployed, and he finally decided to bite the bullet and go back to law school.

So now I am learning how to do without and be humble when my stuff breaks.

Claudia said...

It looks so nice! I love the hutch and couches. Great taste :)

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I think I was born holding a credit card, when I came out of the womb.

Love the new sofas. And how can you ever pay too much on your mortgage?

T said...

I HAD a credit card for years before I actually used it. and then the floodgates opened wide!!!

okay, okay - maybe not wide, we couldn't afford wide, but you know...

our living room sat empty for quite awhile before we got our first couches about 8 years ago... and now, well, now they need to be replaced like you wouldn't believe... nothing a nice throw won't cover :)

M-Cat said...

We too are not credit card people, and I have to tell you, the peace of NO DEBT is worth everything.

So, yeah, maybe not all the nicest stuff all the time, but we are paid for and that is what makes me happy!

Good on ya!

Lara said...


I am so impressed with your financial decisions. I wish we had been smarter in our early marriage.

The hutch is beautiful! So perfect!

Cherie said...

Oh yeah! Good for you guys, NO DEBT is the secret to happiness. Although I have to wonder how you established credit without ever having one credit card? Just interesting to me.
That is a true Christmas in July to get unexpected money - Yahoo!!
The new furniture is beautiful and it is even more beautiful when you know it is paid in full.

Garden of Egan said...

That looks delicious! I love it!
The hutch is darling. Way to go!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

The hutch is adorable and the leather sofas, so smart with little kids. Good job for staying out of debt!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Nickki: Hey thanks! And welcome. Believe me, I know its' hard to wait, but good for you for trying!

Gina: Humble pie is nasty stuff. My parents started over in their 40's with 8 kids when my dad decided to go back to school and get his degree. Four years unemployed! I remember those years well.

T: yes, I grew up with couches that were loving covered with nice looking sheets or quilts. Whatever works!

Kristina: LOL! Well, it's a new construction and so things are a bit uncertain the first year with taxes and all. Turns out they over-estimated what it would be, so we got money back!

Cherie: We did what's called "non-traditional credit" where they set up a credit score using other monthly payments such as rent, phone, gas, and other bills. Our credit score wasn't "perfect" because we've never had a credit card, but it was still good!

Lisa said...

I'm loving your hutch! Isn't new furniture a gift from the stuff gods? I think I probably need to start paying too much mortgage insurance, thereby receiving a hefty new stuff check in the mail. Really quite brilliant. Saving without knowing it.

Larsen said...

Congrats to you Serene!

Larsen said...

PS. I am going to have to come over and sit on them to determine their comfy level, you know.

Sue said...

You guys are so wise to live within your means. We always did the same, and it has served us well. A nice result is that we are ready for a comfortable retirement, unlike a number of our friends who've been less conservative in their spending.

It does pay off in the end. And when you do decide to make a purchase (like your couches) you just appreciate it all the more.


The Wifey said...

I love the look of your newly redone living room. It looks great. We are slowly getting to the debt free area. We have been a lot smarter lately and it has done wonders for us. I am looking forward to being debt free.

Neisha said...

nice couches and hutch!

Jackie said...

I love them! Way to go you!

Wonder Woman said...

They're beautiful and will last you forever! Love the "cute" bookcase, too.

I got a Kohl's card a few years ago and just did what my mom did -- use the credit card for a transaction and the extra % off, then use cash in the very next transaction to pay it off. And that worked, till I went a little crazy for Christmas two years ago.

I don't use the Kohl's card any more. :o)

But one other card that we occasionally put stuff on, just to pay it off and build our score. It's part of the reason we are able to move now and into such a great house.

iamwoman said...

It is such a myth that people need to have credit cards to get a good credit score..can someone say Dave Ramsey? It seems that you are RIGHT in tune with what he says.

Unfortunately, we didn't head the warning early on in our marriage. We didn't have a house payment due to my work and our car broke down--so guess what we justified doing? Buying a USED car in a stupid lot and paying AT LEAST 10,000 more than we could have gotten elsewhere. Biggest mistake of our life. Lesson learned and we are still paying for it.

I love your couches. Leather is my friend and they remind me of my couch that I had to sell before we moved up here. Saddest day of my life. Now we have such a ghetto one, but it will be worth the wait;)

iamwoman said...

seriously..can I have you mourn my old couch with me??


and then tell me it will okay because I can get an ever better one after grad school? pretty please???


Congratulations :)

Jess said...

yayyyy!! It feels good to be debt free. We just paid off the car and our son this year.

Ahhhh. Sigh of relief.

ldsjaneite said...

This made me think of a story: So I stayed with my sister on my recent vacation. They just finished reflooring their entire main floor from carpet to wood. (Did it themselves and saved so much! Plus, it's gorgeous.) Anywho. This is their first house, which they bought after almost 10 years of marriage. So I come to visit as I have many times, only it's my first to this house. And I look around confused. Then I finally ask, "Is all your furniture still in storage or something." Nope. That's all they had. All the furniture I've seen for years and years, but never in so much space. And yep. It makes the large house look quite empty. :-) Like you, she has dreams of what she would like and she saves accordingly. Definitely worth the wait.

You are my debt-free inspiration.

Saimi said...

Yay! Yippee! Hooray for you!! I am soooo excited for your family that you were able to get new couches, and love, love, love that hutch!!

Your t.v. reminds me of our earilier days. We had a 13 inch t.v. without a remote. We would tell our little son to go push 2,3,
or if we wanted to change stations we would tell him to push 3,5.

He loved pushing the buttons and we loved not having to get off the couch!

Patty Ann said...

What a wonderful thing to be teaching your children!!! They are learning that you don't have to have everything you want right when you want it. We all need to remember that one!

Patty Ann said...

Oh yeah, and just so you are prepared in case you have several more children, the older ones will tell the younger ones how spoiled they are and how the older kids never had anything like that when they were young. (Can you tell that I have so been there!!)

Garvin Smith said...

Pretty classy stuff there! Do I still have to sleep on the floor?

Amy said...

Love it too!!! So excited for you and your big buy. You totally deserve it. Major high-five at being debt-free, it is the most amazing feeling in the world!
The last of our debt is from some student loans and will be paid off by the end of the summer! Since we don't own a house yet, we'll have ZERO debt! That includes credit cards and both our cars! I take no credit. I'm horrible with money but the man is excellent. BTW, couches are hot and the hutch is stinkin adorable.

The Martos Fudge said...

I am excited for you, and I agree the best thing in life is to be able to go to bed and know we owe nothing to anyone. Proud of you.

Kami said...

No credit card here either but I do cherish hand me downs and second hand treasures. We are in between decisions of taking out school loans but it looks like we can do with out. You're an example though of 'own it till you wear it out', and I'm loving that example Momma.

Kami said...

No credit card here either but I do cherish hand me downs and second hand treasures. We are in between decisions of taking out school loans but it looks like we can do with out. You're an example though of 'own it till you wear it out', and I'm loving that example Momma.

Teachinfourth said...

I'm with you on not spending money you don't have…there's something to be said about being debt free. In fact, right now I have almost enough to completely buy my next car. Sometimes, you have to save for quite a while, but in the end it's worth it.

Rock on you!

Mr. Stupid said...

Those couches are awesome! Your living room is looking great. And you're right. It's a great feeling to know that you don't owe anybody anything.

One Cluttered Brain said...

For NEW furniture! And you got it at my all time fave store IKEA!

Way to Go on finishing up school!

Mama Smith said...

I am SO VERY HAPPY for you...dear daughter!!!!! I sure hope your new couch is as comfortable to sleep on as your old one...(smile)LOVE YOUR HUTCH!!!!! GREAT BLESSINGS!!!!!

See Mom Smile said...

Good for you!!! Love the brown leather. We have brown leather and it puts up great with the kids. LOVE the hutch. So cute.

Lisa S said...

I would never feel uncomfortable in your home, with or without furniture....it would be my honor to be invited. I envy your debt free life.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

You guys are my hero's... I want to be like you when I grow up.

we are horrible with money or use to be, we've worked hard to get ourselves out of debt.

YAY for new couches!!!

Angel Day said...

Ummm....where's the TV?


My 16-month-old sleeps on a mattress on the floor. Nothing wrong with that!

Jamison Family said...

It is SOOOO worth it!


A total stocker
& soon to be mom of 4 :)

Braden said...

Yay!!!! How exciting. I am in total admiration of you guys!!! Very impressive.

Nathan and Sharlynn Heinitz said...

I love the couches! And you're absolutely right, being debt free is totally worth it...Nathan and I have yet to buy any furniture for our apartment. Once we get a house though, I think I'll be pretty tempted to fill it up. One of my good friends referred me to this blog; I don't know how you are with power tools, but I think you might like it! http://www.knock-offwood.com/

Evelyn @ Hanging by a Silver Lining said...

Oh I love the hutch!! I'm dying to know how much you got it for since it was from craigslist.

Charlotte said...

Good for you! We waited a long time for furniture, too. And our kitchen table was of the folding variety for at least 7 years.

hjsmith said...

I know this is an older post but I just came across it again(: I love your furniture(; that is what one day I would like to have too...married almost 10 years and we still have what we had pretty much after we got married, or atleast a different set of used furniture. One day(: maybe when we retire and the kids are grown up..oh yeah, grandkids come next...well we will rethink this another time(:

adolph said...
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